From John Adams, Minna
The Special Task Force put together by the Niger state government to flush the armed gunmen from the Allawa Forests in Rafi Local government area of the state, yesterday, engaged a group of bandits in a gun battle, killing five and arresting one.
Several others escaped with bullet wounds and were being trailed by the security agents.
The bodies of those killed and the two arrested were taken to Kagara, the headquarters of the local government, by men of the special task force.It was gathered that in the early hours of yesterday, the bandits in their usual large numbers, riding on motorcycles, armed with AK 47 rifles, stormed the same Tegina town where 136 Salihu Tanko Islamic school children were abducted three weeks ago, and started shooting sporadically to scare the people. The bandits, during the operation, succeeded in rustling several cattle and dispossessed the people of their property before trying to escape from the town.
Our source said the men of the task force, combing the forests in the area, were immediately alerted and they quickly mobilised for a counter operation which led to the neutralisation of five of the bandits and arrest of two others.
The security task force also succeeded in recovering the cattle rustled and took back the property of the villagers from the armed gunmen.
The Niger state police command was yet to issue any statement on the success recorded by security agents at the time of filing this report, but a senior government official told Daily Sun that the Operation Flush Out Bandits from the state has come to stay.
Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, on Monday, launched a special security task force of 1,000 armed men to dislodge bandits from the Allawa and neighbouring forests, where it is believed that the abducted Salihu Tanko Islamiyya pupils are being kept.
Bello tasked the men of the task force to “take the battle to the bandits” and rescue the pupils from their clutches.