By Laleye Dipo
A combined team of soldiers and local security outfit on Tuesday repelled an attack by bandits on Erena town in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
In the fierce battle, which an eyewitness said lasted about four hours, the bandits reportedly lost four of their men but no casualty was reported on the part of the soldiers and the local security men.
However, a truck belonging to the soldiers was said to have been set ablaze by the bandits as they fled the scene of the battle.
The bandits in their numbers and riding motorcycles, according to the eyewitness, attempted to storm the town at about 4am but the soldiers and vigilante who were in the Government Day Secondary School buildings in Erena were not caught unawares.
The spokesman for the Shiroro Youths Forum, Mallam Bello Ibrahim, who confirmed the incident in a telephone conversation, said: “Yes I can confirm to you that in the early hours of today
(Tuesday) terrorists in their large numbers stormed Erena town in an attempt to unleash terror on our defenceless, peaceful and unsuspecting people.
“The terrorists however met a vehement resistance from Security Joint Task Force, comprising conventional security and local vigilantes, stationed at Government Day Secondary School, Erena.
“They engaged them in a fierce gun battle which lasted for hours and consequently, the criminals couldn’t gain access into the town. There was sporadic gunshots, as sounds of gunshots could be heard all over the place.”
Ibrahim confirmed that a vehicle belonging to the gallant security men was seen to have been burnt, but explained that the attack was repelled.
Neither the police nor the military authorities could be reached to confirm the incident.
It was not known when the military base was returned to Erena town but in the wake of weekly attacks on the town and neighbouring communities, the senator representing the area, Alhaji Sani Musa, had pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a military base in the area for quick response to distress calls by the villagers.