* Imam, 19 others abducted in Zamfara community
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
In renewed onslaught against armed bandits and illegal miners in the North-west, troops of Operation Accord supported by helicopter gunships yesterday eliminated nine bandits in Zamfara State and arrested 11 illegal miners.
This is coming as suspected bandits on Friday invaded Dutsen Gari of Kanoma community in Maru Local Government Area of the state, abducting Imam and 19 others during congressional prayer.
A military update issued in Abuja by the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO) said troops killed two bandits while on covert operation at Galadi village in Shinkafi Local Government Area of the state, while two AK 47 rifles were recovered.
The DDMO said the troops on routine patrol at Gobirawa village made contact with another set of armed bandits.
“During the encounter, six armed bandits were neutralised while four AK 47 rifles, three dane guns and two motorcycles were recovered,” it said.
The update signed by the Coordinator of DDMO, Major General John Enenche, said following a distress call on presence of suspected bandits at Gidan Ruwa along Rukudawa axis of Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, troops swiftly responded and pursued the bandits as they fled on sighting the approaching troops, killing one armed bandit while one AK-47 rifle and one magazine loaded with 29 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition were recovered.
It said two bandits were arrested in the process.
In the same vein, following credible intelligence on activities of illegal miners at Kadauri general area in Maru LGA of Zamfara State, troops swiftly mobilised to the scene and apprehended 11 suspected illegal miners.
The statement said the suspects were handed over to the appropriate prosecuting authority for further action.
Meanwhile, suspected bandits on Friday invaded Dutsen Gari of Kanoma community in Maru LGA of Zamfara State, abducting Imam and 19 others during Friday congressional prayer.
The worshipers according to information, gathered at the community Jumma’at Mosque listening to sermon from the Imam while the bandits waited for the prayer to begin before the incident occurred.
However, the state Police Public Relation officer, SP Muhammad Shehu, confirmed the abduction of only five and killing of two by the bandits.
He disclosed that the police, other sister security agencies and some local vigilante group were in search for rescue of the kidnapped victims.
Shehu while calling for calm in the communities and its environs stated that security has been beefed up to ensure that such gruesome incident does not occur again.