From John Adams, Minna
A last minute ‘order from above’ on Saturday supposedly stopped soldiers of the 31 Artillery Brigade in Minna from returning to Zagzaga community in Munya, Niger State, five days after they vacated the community following an attack on their camp by armed bandits.
It has been reported that after much plea and discussions between the military high command, the state government and some political leaders in the state, the Army had agreed to return its personnel to their base in Zagzaga, where they had provided security for the predominantly farming population since 2012 before an attack on their camp on Wednesday last week had ended their presence.
The soldiers, who decided to put behind the memory of the Wednesday night bandit attack and the murder of their RSM, whose body was recovered on Friday, were reportedly in high spirits anticipating a return to the community before the ‘order from above’ stopped the movement.
Sunday Sun gathered that youths, who are the only residents left in the community after the military withdrawal, and the fleeing of other residents to neighboring villages, had on Saturday afternoon stormed the Minna Military Cantonment with about six Hilux vans to convey the soldiers and their belongings back to the community when the movement was put on hold.
No reason was given for the sudden change of decision, even when the soldiers, it was learnt, had gathered all their belongings and were ready to head back to the community, but our correspondent reliably gathered that an emergency security meeting at the instance of the state governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, on Saturday afternoon at the Government House, was responsible for directive.
Five years after the soldiers were stationed in the community due to constant attacks on the community by bandits, the soldiers came under serious attack by gunmen who invaded their camp in the early hours of Wednesday last week.
After a fierce two-hour firefight, the bandits set one of the military vehicles on fire and went away with one after, burning down food store in the camp. One of the soldiers who was declared missing after the attack was found dead at a farm in the community. His body has since being evacuated by the Army.