Sola Ojo, Kaduna
NO fewer than 12 soldiers, who had been on special operation in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State, were feared killed on Tuesday, when scores of bandits attacked, to avenge the killing of their leader, Buhari Tsoho, popularly called Buharin Daji.
Daji was reportedly killed in a shoot-out with security men in Zamfara State, about two weeks ago.
But, the Nigerian Army has denied the report.
The Nigerian Army Headquarters in Abuja, denied the killings.
Director of Army/Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, said army headquarters is yet to receive the said report.
Chukwu also said he “cannot confirm the authenticity or otherwise of the report.”
Regardless, the attack, which occurred at Kampanin Doka village in the local government area, happened at a time when the federal government was trying to secure life and property of road users, who have been falling victim of armed robbery and kidnapping activities on the Kaduna inter-state road in recent months.
A source, pleading anonymity, said that the bandits attacked the soldier’s camp between 8pm and 9pm on Tuesday, killing three soldiers in a hole and nine others in the camp, bringing the number of fallen soldiers to 12.
“We gathered that the soldiers had caught a thief in Maganda village and were taking him to their camp when some personnel of the Nigeria Police Force asked them to hand over the thief to them but the soldiers refused.
“The same police followed the soldiers to their camp in Kampanin Doka and again asked them to hand over the thief to them but the soldiers still refused. Around 8pm on Tuesday, bandits attacked the soldiers’ camp and killed three soldiers in a hole and nine others in a tent in the camp.
“Residents of the community kept calling us when the attack was taking place, but there was nothing we could do since we did not have any weapons. All we did was to alert the emir and other security personnel with the hope that they would come to their aid,” the source volunteered.
A witness confirmed that he saw 11 bodies after the attack. He said that men of Nigerian Army were still waiting for directive on the next line of action from the military authorities, as at the time of filing this report.
Assistant Director, Public Relations, 1 Mechanised Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Col. Muhammad Dole, did not respond to calls and text message sent to his mobile telephone for comments.
However, a social media message by a community-based organisation, the Birnin Gwari Vanguard for Security and Good Governance, partly corroborated the earlier sources.
“A military detachment and members of the vigilante in Doka village have successfully repelled an attack by bandits numbering about 120 on motorcycles around 10.05pm on Tuesday night. The attackers had earlier attacked Maganda district on Monday on a revenge mission over the killing of Buhari Tsoho, also known as Buharin Daji. Nine people were critically injured at Maganda, mostly vigilantes.
“After Maganda, the bandits moved towards Kampanin Doka.
“But, gallant soldiers and brave youths of Doka successfully repelled the attack. Many casualties were recorded on the side of the bandits and they escaped with the wounded.
“Although we informed the Kaduna state government and the military of the (impending) attack three days ago, government officials dismissed our information by not taking appropriate action to forestall the attacks by the bandits.
“Once more, we, the people of Birnin-Gwari, are under siege and in need of protection of the government. Our youths and volunteers are ready to assist security agencies to confront bandits in our territory…”
“We will remain vigilant and await the response of the Nasir Ahmed El-Rufai government to these security challenges in Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area,” the message read.