Scores of bandits and 13 military personnel were killed following days of intense aerial and ground duel between the two sides around the troubled Dansadau District of Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Daily Trust gathered.
Eyewitnesses said dozens of civilians were also confirmed dead following airstrikes and fire exchange around the affected communities as troops, aided by vigilantes, battled hundreds of gunmen who stormed the area.
A source said so far 69 people were buried in Mutunji community, 27 in Malele and 6 in Dansadau town.
Several other persons were also rushed to hospitals with different degrees of injuries.
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Last Thursday, the armed criminals had attacked Maigoge, a village situated 8km west of Dansadau town. Fifteen of them were killed in a clash with the vigilantes in the community. The community drew the ire of the armed criminals after the gunfight.
A resident identified as Mustapha told our correspondent that the armed bandits reinforced and returned to the community to carry out a reprisal attack two days later.
“More than five camps led by Damina, Ali Kachalla, Buzu and even Ado Aliero were mobilised. They came in a very large number and were planning to attack Maigoge, Malele and Ruwan Tofa communities. The villages are a few kilometres apart.
“The residents got wind of the attack and informed the military immediately. Two fighter jets arrived shortly afterwards. One of the jets hovered around Dansadau town for some minutes and then flew towards Maigoge community.
“Then, we saw several military vehicles move there. The jets fired several rockets on the armed men. Unfortunately, the armed criminals scrambled into Mutunji community to blend with residents when they sighted the fighter jets’’
“Huge collateral damage was recorded in the attack because dozens of residents were trapped and killed by NAF bombs. As I’m talking to you at least 63 people were buried and six of them were buried in Dansadau this morning,” Mustapha said.
“On the part of armed men, in Mutunji alone, more than 180 bodies were counted. But the residents are still counting losses’’
“Thirteen soldiers were killed and several others injured in the fight. Three military vehicles were also burnt. The injured soldiers have been evacuated to a medical facility,” he added.
A resident, Bilyaminu Dansadau said 73 people are currently responding to treatments in different medical facilities in Gusau, the state capital, Dansadau town and the assaulted community, Mutunji. The victims are largely recuperating from gunshot wounds.
“Several houses were destroyed in Mutunji as burned out motorbikes and vehicles have become a common sight.
“On their part, the armed criminals have recorded massive losses. Decapitated and charred parts of their bodies have dotted the outskirts of the troubled communities,” Bilyaminu said.
The spokesman for the Operation Hadarin Daji in the state, Captain Ibrahim Yahaya said he was not aware of the incident. “I’m not aware of it, I’m right now in Lagos attending a course”
In the same vein, the spokesman for the state police command did not return calls by our reporter at the time filing this report.
It was gathered that the military had warned the surviving residents in the villages to remain indoors. More troops are being deployed. Heavily armed soldiers in armoured vehicles have rolled into the Dansadau community.
Up to the time of filing this report there is no reaction from the state government and other security agencies.
The NAF Spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the development last night when contacted but he declined further comment on collateral damage.
Police kill bandits kingpin, 11 others terrorising Alkaleri
In Bauchi, a joint security operation led by the Bauchi State Police Command has resulted in the killing of 12 suspected bandits in four different hideouts including Mansur, Digare, Gwana and Dajin Madam in Alkaleri forest.
The Command Public Relation Officer, SP Ahmed Wakil, who disclosed this to newsmen yesterday in Bauchi, said the successful operation has led to the killing of a notorious bandits’ kingpin, Madaki Mansur, who had been terrorising Alkaleri LGA, and the neighboring states of Taraba, Plateau and Gombe.
Wakil said, “On the 19th December 2022, at about 0230hrs, a joint operation of security operatives engaged suspected bandits/kidnappers in four different hideouts; Mansur, Digare, Gwana and Dajin Madam in Alkaleri forest. Following the hot exchange of superior fire-power by the operatives, which left 12 of the kidnappers neutralised while others were subdued, dislodged and scampered in disarray into the nearby bushes with possible gunshot wounds and abandoned their camp.
“Consequently, weapons and operational motorcycles were recovered during the operation. The Command is intensifying efforts to apprehend the fleeing members of the syndicate,” Wakil added.
28 killed, houses burnt in southern Kaduna attack
Gunmen had on Sunday night launched an attack in Malagum 1 and Sokwong communities in Gworok Chiefdom of Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State, leaving 28 people dead and many injured.
Confirming the incident to Daily Trust, the Council Secretary of Kaura LGA, Hon. Raymond Ibrahim said the gunmen first attacked Sakwong around midnight where they killed nine people and burnt down houses and property.
“We are from the scene this morning and we saw nine corpses. From there, we went to Malagum 1, where we confirmed from the genuine source that 19 people were also killed there.”
He said the attack is coming barely five days after an attack was launched in Malagum 1 where four people were killed. While urging the residents in the area to stay calm, Hon. Ibrahim called on the government to come to the aid of their people as many of them have rendered homeless.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Muhammed Jalige did not pick the call of our reporter.
Speaking to Daily Trust on the genesis of the crisis, Mr. Kismet Kaura said a dispute started between a herdsman and a farmer who was said to be grazing around his farm in the Malagum axis, which led to the death of the farmer, Mr. Akuda and three other farmers, last week.
But according to MACBAN chairman, southern Kaduna chapter, Alhaji Abdulhamid Musa Albarka, they lost seven herders that were declared missing in the Malagum axis.
Abdulhamid said since last week’s event, seven of their Fulani herders are nowhere to be found. In a condolence letter to the communities affected, the Kaduna State government condemned the attack as inhumane, considering the efforts of government, security forces, traditional institutions and other critical stakeholders within last week.
The Kaduna State governor, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufa’i said in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan that military and security agencies reported that bandits attacked the locations, killed several citizens and burnt houses and other properties.
The statement said the governor has also directed the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) to urgently provide relief materials to the communities.
According to the statement, urgent security intervention is being conducted by the Defence Headquarters Operation Safe Haven, as the Commander, also the GOC 3 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Ibrahim Ali, and Sector 7 Commander, Colonel Timothy Opurum are presently in the location.
“The Kaduna State government will make public further details on the incident as it receives feedback from the security forces”, added the statement.
From Shehu Umar (Gusau), Hassan Ibrahim (Bauchi), Ahmed Ali (Kafanchan), and Idowu Isamotu