Bandits have reportedly killed four military personnel and three vigilante operatives during attacks on some communities in Munya LGA of Niger State.
Aminu Najume, chairman of the LGA, who confirmed the incident, said it occurred at about 10 to 11 am on Wednesday.
Najume said an army major, three soldiers, and a commander of the vigilante group, were shot dead and set ablaze by the bandits.
“It was not in Igu community that the attack happened and as I talk to you, I can’t ascertain the number of people that were kidnapped. What happened was that there was an attack yesterday, some army personnel were mobilised to the location, including some local vigilante operatives,” TheCable quoted him as saying.
“Already, the bandits had kidnapped some persons from Paikoro LGA and while they were on the way to Birnin Gwari in Kaduna through Sarkin Pawa, they also rustled some cattle.”
The chairman said the army personnel rescued four kidnap victims while engaging the bandits.
“Those soldiers that were mobilised to the location were ambushed by the bandits. Unfortunately, we lost some personnel even an army major was killed during the gun battle, he was set on fire during the attack. Also, the chief of the vigilante was also killed and burnt. We lost about three vigilantes, and four soldiers and many of them sustained injuries,” he added.
“The soldiers were able to rescue about four kidnapped victims. It was a terrible incident. The incident happened in the morning at about 10:30 to 11 a.m. I was able to refer the injured personnel from a hospital in Sarkin Pawa (headquarters of Munya LGA) to Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) specialist hospital in Minna.”
Equally confirming the incident, Idris Shehu, chairman of the coalition of Munya association, said gunshots were heard from neighbouring villages a night before the ambush.
Shehu said the bandits abducted many residents and also rustled some cattle, adding that the number of persons kidnapped was yet to be confirmed.
“On Tuesday night at about 11 p.m., there was a heavy gunshot but nobody could verify what or where the gunshot was coming from because everybody was afraid until the next morning, that was yesterday,” he said
“About two days ago, the bandits invaded Adunu and Beni. Beni is one of the wards in Munya LGA and they kidnapped some residents and also stole some cattle. The security men mobilised to the location intended to ambush the bandits but unfortunately, they escaped.
“Yesterday morning, there was a reinforcement from Minna but when the security personnel got to the location, they were ambushed by the bandit. One of the soldiers lost both hands and they (bandits) succeeded in killing an army major, three other soldiers, and two vigilantes. In fact, they set them ablaze inside the Hilux vehicle.
“Nobody can tell the actual number of people that were kidnapped from the areas the bandits invaded but there were kidnapped persons and also stolen cattle. The army major and others who lost their lives were taken to Minna.”
Meanwhile, efforts to reach Onyema Nwachukwu, army spokesperson, for comment were unsuccessful as he didn’t respond to calls or messages by TheCable.