From John Adams, Minna
With barely one week gunmen invaded a mining site in Ajata Aboki in Erena Ward, Shiroro local government area of Niger state, killing 34 soldiers, eight Mobile policemen and a number of local vigilantes, the Nigerian Army has broken it silence, saying that despite the incident, the Army will not be deterred or relent in its efforts to flush out the criminals from the society.
The Commander, 31 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Yakubu Yahaya stated this in Minna on Tuesday when Members of the Niger State House of Assembly led by the Speaker, Hon. Bawa Wuse paid the Army a condolence visit over the unfortunate incident.
The commander pointed out that the Army is more determined than before in its resolve to Combating Terrorism and criminality in the state and country in general, stressing that the army will do its best to reduce the level of insecurity in the state to its barest minimum.
According to him, “We are not deterred, we shall not be deterred and we shall not relent in our efforts in fighting crime and criminality in the state. We remain resolute despite the setback. Be rest assured that we will do our best until we tone down the level of insecurity to the barest minimum.”
He admitted that last week incident at the mining site was a serious tragedy to the Artillery Command, adding that the soldiers fought gallantly and the terrorists suffered massive casualties which were not reported in the media even when there was no official comment from either the military or the state government on the actual casualties from both end.
He appreciated the Legislators for identifying with the Artillery in its time of grief, stressing that the condolences visit is a boost to the soldiers, the Command and the families of the deceased.
“I thank you for coming. For deeming it fit to find time to come and identify with us at this trying time when we have just had a very serious tragedy because we haven’t had it so bad in recent times within Niger state. It has been very touching on us and we sincerely appreciate you for taking it as a matter of urgent discussion during your plenary and taking some decisions on this issue.
Brigadier General however used the opportunity to clarify insinuation that the Military were ambushed the gunmen, saying that “Our soldiers fought gallantly. They did their best. The social media reports were wrong. The soldiers were not ambushed and the other side suffered serious casualties”.
Earlier, the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Honorable Abdullahi Bawa Wuse expressed the condolence of the state government and the Legislative arm of the government over the loss of the soldiers who fought the terrorists during the attack on the mining site.
He described the death of the soldiers as a general loss not only to the Military but the state and the entire country as they died fighting to ensure peace and stability in the land.
The Speaker then prayed for the family, the Command and the Soldiers, that God will give them the fortitude to bear the loss.
He said that the state government will do its best to support the Army in its fight towards eradicating terrorism and crime in the state.
Prayers were said for the repose of the souls of the soldiers who lost their lives in last week’s attack and other incidents across the state.