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4 gunmen, 3 soldiers, 2 cops killed in Daura

Three soldiers and two policemen also died, in addition to two soldiers that sustained injuries in the coordinated attack that lasted about six hours in…

Three soldiers and two policemen also died, in addition to two soldiers that sustained injuries in the coordinated attack that lasted about six hours in the historic city located near Nigeria’s border with Niger Republic.
Residents and security officials said the attack was launched around 9:30pm, with assailants firing guns and detonating explosive devices. Millions of naira were said to have been carted away from branch offices of four commercial banks located in the historic town by the gunmen, who broke into the banks using explosives.
Eyewitnesses said about 200 insurgents took part in the attack, blocking roads leading to the targeted banks and positioning themselves on major streets. Residents said about 12 vehicles carried the assailants into the town.
The insurgents also blew up Daura Central Police Station, after carting away weapons and setting vehicles and motorcycles ablaze, before storming nearby Sabon Garin Daura Police Station, where they took weapons and burnt another car.
Weekly Trust gathered that two policemen were killed in one of the police offices. After robbing the banks, the assailants were confronted by soldiers from 35 Battalion, resulting in the death of three soldiers.
Confirming the attack, 3 Brigade Army Public Relations Officer, Capt Ikedichi Iweha, said three soldiers died, while two others sustained injuries.
“At the end of the encounter which stressed up to Dutsi along Mani road, 4 terrorist lost their lives while a good number of them sustained gunshot wounds,” he said.
The spokesperson said: 11 AK 47 rifles, 73 magazines, 534 rounds of different caliber of ammunitions, 1 smoke gun, two vehicles and various improvised explosive devices “were recovered from the terrorists.”
“It (3 Brigade) however would like to solicit for timely information from members of the community especially now that the area is likely going to experience influx of persons with criminal tendencies fleeing the North East zone.
“The Brigade would also like to advise financial institutions with outstations outside of the state capitals to always leave minimal unattractive cash in their various vaults at the end of a business day as these terrorists are in need,” he said. Also, while addressing a press conference in Kano, Commander of the 3 Brigade, Brigadier General Ilyasu A. Abba, said troops were still combing the town in order to effect the arrest of the remaining gunmen.
Gen Abba said the insurgents had put out security lights in the town, before commencing their operation chanting Allahu Akbar. “They continued to shout Allahu Akbar and coerced children to emulate them, when the children complied they told them God bless you,” he said, calling on people not to allow their wards to be used by criminals.
“Security forces need the cooperation of people. This is a very difficult battle unless people cooperate,” he said.
On allegation that some of the attackers were foreigners, the commander said investigation would unravel that.
Weekly Trust was told by bank officials that the gunmen had broken into the individual banks simultaneously using hammers and wired their entrances and strong-rooms with explosives, that gave them access unspecified amount of money.
In one of the banks our correspondent learnt that over N24million was removed from the vault.
“When the attack started, we went and hid inside the bank premises,” said a security guard, who did not disclose his name. “While they entered our bank, my phone rang from where I was hiding and they started shooting. They stopped and ordered whoever was that to come
out, so I came out with my hands up. They told me they are not armed robbers and they are not Boko Haram and mentioned the name of their group which I cannot now remember, saying they came to do God’s work,” he said.
“They asked me of my religion and I told them I’m a Christian. They later asked me to go home, but I told them since many of them have been stationed all over the places, somebody may shoot me. So they volunteered to accompany me to my house, when we got there the gate was locked up and they said don’t worry just scale over the fence, which I did,” he said.
At another bank, the attackers mistook an archive for the strong-room and destroyed it with explosives.
Weekly Trust was told that when soldiers confronted some of the gunmen near the Daura local government secretariat as they were trying to escape inside two Volkswagen Golf cars and a bus, one attacker was killed, while a vehicle was recovered.
Three other gunmen were subsequently trailed to the road leading to Mani where they were hiding after leaving Dutsi and killed. There vehicle was not, however, recovered immediately as it was said to be laced with explosives.
Security sources said the gunmen had shared some of the stolen monies to some villagers. “They told them come and take it is your money, we will not harm you, we are doing God’s work,” a security personnel disclosed.
Meanwhile, Katsina State Police Commissioner, Abdullahi Magaji, confirmed the death of the four gunmen, but said he could not confirm the death of the two cops as police were still assessing the situation as at the time of filing in this report.
Magaji also said that one person has been arrested by the police at Wagana village in Dutsi local government are of Katsina state.
A policeman at the Central Police Station in Daura, who craved for anonymity, also told Weekly Trust that the attackers divided themselves into groups and they first attacked the Central Police Station along Daura-Katsina way and five minutes after they attacked the Sabon-Gari Police station and the four banks simultaneously.
“We were terrified by series of bomb blasts and gunshots by the gunmen. We could not sleep throughout the night,” a resident said, adding, “you could hear sounds of blasts and gunshots 2 kilometres away. Some people fled their homes and spent the rest of the night in the bush fearing not to be hit by stray bullets.”
He said the gunshots ceased around 10:30pm, but the shootings continued until around 3am
At one of the banks, some unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices were recovered by the anti-bomb squad of the Katsina state police command, an officer attached to the team that searched the bank, who pleaded for anonymity, hinted Weekly Trust, adding that “there were some unexploded IEDs in the bank’s reception and they could explode anytime. There is still one big unexploded IED in the reception,” he confirmed.
At the CPS, Weekly Trust observed the entire building was razed down, while two vehicles were also burnt to ashes by the attackers. Also at the Sabon-Gari police divisional office the structure was completely burnt and two cars and two motorcycles were razed to ashes respectively.
“I counted 22 blasts within 30 minutes, said a resident of Daura town. Briefing newsmen in Daura, the state police commissioner, Abdullahi Magaji said the incident was purely armed robbery, as according to him the attackers were looking for money and that was why they have attacked banks and carted away monies.
“After our men engaged them in gun battle, they threw three Improvised Explosion Devices on our facilities and damaged them, but we were able to trail them and killed four in Dutsi local government area of Katsina state while trying to escape,” Magaji said.
“What happened was that one of my divisional police officer and his men were on their way to Daura for reinforcement when the gunmen lay ambush on them and opened fire at their patrol van but my men repelled by engaging them in gun battle resulting to the death of all the gunmen,” Magaji said.
He said policemen were also dispatched into the bush in search of the gunmen, affirming that they will all be captured. However, the coordinated attack has put on Daura town standstill as commercial activities were paralyzed, Weekly Trust observed. Shops and other places of business were under lock when our correspondent visited the town yesterday.
Many residents remained indoors, coming out only for Friday prayers.