Some 11 suspected bandits were killed by troops on clearance operations in Zamfara and Katsina states, with several others wounded and arrested.
According to reports, the troops reportedly killed six bandits with many others escaping with severe gunshots wounds.
The incident happened while troops were foiling attack by the gunmen on Mara Zamfarawa community in Danmusa local government area of Katsina state Friday.
In the same vein, troops on patrol successfully arrested suspected bandits’ informants and their collaborators Saturday.
Coordinator Defence Media Operations Major-General John Enenche announced this in a statement Sunday in Abuja.
He said the suspects were being interrogated and profiled for further action.
The statement further said, while on cordon and search operations at Mara Zamfarawa and Birchi Malamawa villages in Danmusa local government area, troops engaged the bandits, many of whom escaped with gunshots wounds.
In the process, four motorcycles were recovered from the hoodlums.
It further said the troops arrested six bandits at Maidabino town and recovered a fabricated AK47 rifle and 29 rounds of 7.62 special ammunition as well as cutlasses and charms.
“On June 27, following intelligence reports about bandits’ action at Kurubka forest, troops immediately mobilised to the area. In the process, two bandits were killed during a shootout.
“Following credible information about bandits’ hideouts at Rambadawa forest few kilometers ahead of Kodamyo village in Sabon Birni LGA of Zamfara state, troops immediately mobilised to the area. In the process, three bandits were neutralised while others escaped with gunshots wounds. One locally-made gun was recovered,” the statement said.
In a related development, some groups of unrepentant bandits launched a fresh attack on Unguwar Yabo community in Dauki ward of Tsafe local government area in Zamfara state Friday.
Although sources within the community said 12 persons were killed, the police however confirmed four.
Speaking to journalists via the telephone, a resident who identified himself as Malam Lawali Mustapha said bandits invaded the village at around 5.30 pm Friday and began shooting into the nooks and crannies of the village, and in the process felled 12 persons attempting to escape.
He said two persons were also hospitalised at Tsafe General Hospital while one other who sustained a heavy gunshot wound was referred to Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital in Gusau.
Lawali further said an unspecified number of cows and sheep were rustled in the process.
He said while the killing lasted, there was no response from Tsafe Divisional Police Office in Tsafe town.
He called on both President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle to come to their aid by sending security operatives to the area for peace to thrive.
Confirming the development to our reporter, the states Police Public Relations Officer SP Muhammad Shehu countered the figure given by the resident, and said only four villagers were killed during the attack.
Shehu said: “The village is around Zamfara border with Katsina state. Therefore, the attackers are suspected to have come from neighbouring Katsina communities.
The command has deployed security personnel to the area to restore peace and normalcy.”
The command’s spokesman urged residents of the affected village to remain calm and law abiding, even as he appealed to them to report suspicious movements to the nearest security outpost.
Meanwhile, Katsina state Governor Aminu Bello Masari has again pledged to give all forms of assistance to security agencies in their bid to end banditry in the state.
Governor Masari spoke during a sympathy and condolence visit to thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Faskari, Kadisau, and Dandume over the weekend.
He said the bandits needed to be completely eliminated for peace to return to the state.
Masari also told the IDPs that the only language the bandits understood was firing of AK 47 and would be so treated.
He assured that the over 4000 IDPs at Faskari primary school and about 800 IDPs in Dandume, would continue to receive proper attention and care through provision of adequate food and medicaments throughout their stay in the camps.
Governor Masari assured the IDPs that as soon as the military and police deployed to deal with the bandits secured the forests, they would be returned to their houses to continue their farming activities.
He spoke at length on the dastardly act of informants within the communities, stressing that informants too must be fished out to receive the same punishment meted to the bandits.
In a remark, Chairman of the state’s Action Committee on IDPs and Commissioner of Sports and Youths Development, Hon Sani Danlami told the governor that the committee had been up and doing in the feeding and health care needs of the IDPs in both the Faskari and Dandume camps.
He also said some politicians were complementing the state government’s efforts towards the provision of food items for the IDPs.
At Faskari, the Head of Administration and Finance, Alhaji Lawal Ibrahim Danmummuni told the governor the camp reached its climax after the Kadisau killing of 9th of April this year.
At Dandume, the Head of Administration and Finance, Alhaji Aminu Idris Mashi assured that the IDPs were being treated in line with best international protocols.
Both the Sarkin Yamman Katsina and district head of Faskari, Engineer Aminu Tukur Usman and Katikan Katsina and district head of Dandume, Alhaji Jaafar expressed gratitude to the governor for the sympathy and condolence visit.
At Kadisau, the governor prayed for the repose of the souls of over 70 people that lost their lives in the attacks by bandits.
Masari, who was moved to tears, also appealed to people of the state to go into fasting and prayer sessions to end the rising cases of banditry.
CSOs on funding
Similarly, a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has expressed concern over the appalling budgetary provision to the armed forces waging the war against terrorism and other forms of criminalities in the country.
Convener of the group, Prince Danesi Momoh, urged the federal government to source for funds to provide the needed military logistics to effectively wage the war against terrorism and banditry in the country.
Stressing the need for the military to win the war against all forms of terrorism and banditry, the group maintained that achieving the goal goes beyond the mere removal of the service chiefs.
The group made a comparative analysis of defence budgets in sub-Sahara African and Asian countries with Nigeria to buttress the claim that the Nigerian military is grossly underfunded.
The group said: “We need to have a country, and feel safe in it before we can discuss any other thing. This is a matter of dire urgency. The Nigerian military needs and deserves to be well funded.
“The office of the National Security Adviser should work hand in hand with the Chief of Defence Staff and prepare key performance indicators for the Service Chiefs.
“We must measure what really matters as a way to project a response for credible options. The relevant questions to ask are; what are the milestones for service chiefs? Are they meeting up with it?
“In fact, 2018 was a year there was a lot of applause, and yet, criticism when the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari approved $1billion in Security Funds. And in that same year, the regular budget was $2.04billion as has been noted. As at December 28, 2018, no dime was released from the $1billion Security Fund.
“And this tells you about budget, approvals and actual releases. Some of the capital releases are not made after the budget approvals. We must never forget that these monies are almost all used to address recurrent expenditure. What is left for capital investments and operational administration are always very little.
“Now, in comparison, and even contrast, in the same 2018 which Nigeria apparently did so much, the following countries, some of which GDP is lower than ours, and who has less security challenges spent as stated below: Myanma ($2.03bn, Egypt ($3.11bn), Morocco ($3.70bn), Philippines ($3.77bn), Pakistan ($11.38bn), India ($66.51bn).”