By Laleye Dipo
No fewer six soldiers and one policeman were feared killed yesterday when over 200 bandits stormed some villages in the Shiroro Local Government of Niger State.
The bandits also reportedly set the military base in Allawa town on fire and burnt down their operational vehicles.
A successful businessman in Bassa village in the area, Alhaji Sule was also said to have been killed in his farm by the attackers, who also stole several motorcycles belonging to the villagers.
The incidents, according to eyewitnesses, started at about 2am yesterday when the bandits stormed Allawa village riding on motorcycles and brandishing AK-47 rifles.
THISDAY gathered that the bandits caught the security operatives in the town unawares.
It was learnt before they could repel the attack, six of the soldiers and one mobile policeman have been felled by the bandits’ bullets and their camp set ablaze.
The Co-convener of Concerned Shiroro Youth, Mr. Abubakar Yussuf Koki, told THISDAY on telephone that the area had become a war zone with bandits ransacking homes killing and maiming innocent villagers.
“Their intention is to rid the area of security presence so that they will always have a field day,” Koki said.
“We have been left on our own; nobody is coming to our assistance, “Koki lamented.
When contacted, the Secretary to the Niger State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane confirmed the incident.
“Yes, there was an attack at our army base at Allawa; usually it is a deployment point. We deploy soldiers and security agencies to black spots in that area from that base
“Allawa you know is a huge forest; it has become a sanctuary for bandits. What we have done is to deploy security agencies to be able to address and respond to attacks in that area. Unfortunately, this is what happened,” Matane said
He said security agencies, including the Commissioner of Police, the Brigade Commander had visited the area “to verify and validate what has happened.”
Meanwhile, the remains of the soldiers killed have been evacuated.
The remains were evacuated in several pick-up vans with military colours under heavy armed escort at about 3pm yesterday.