Sola Ojo, Kaduna
IT was a sober atmosphere as the remains of 11 soldiers killed by bandits at Kampanin Doka village in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State were laid to rest at the Commonwealth Cemetery, Kaduna.
The bandits had attacked the village on the night of March 20, killing 11 soldiers who were on a special operation code-named Exercise Ayem Akpatuma (Cat Race) aimed at curbing rising criminality, including banditry, kidnapping, rustling and robbery in the vast Kamuku forest that links Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Niger and Zanfara states.
The chief mourner and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, who was represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 1 Division Mechanised Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Maj. Gen. Mohammed Mohammed, described the death of the soldiers as painful but sacrificial.
Consoling the families of the deceased, he stated that the military would stop at nothing to fish out the perpetrators of the attack and bring them to justice. He urged the bereaved families not to be discouraged in sending their children to the army as a result of the death of the soldiers.
He said: “We will remain committed towards guaranteeing the peace and security of Nigeria and Nigerians, regardless of situations such as this; we will not run away. We will continue to fight against all forms of armed banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other criminal activities in the country.”
Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, represented by the secetary to the state government, Lawal Balarebe, extended his condolences to the family of the slain soldiers. The governor promised the support of the government as well as donating N500,000 to each of the next of kin to the slain soldiers in a single cheque amounting to N5.5 million.
The late soldiers were Private Olabode Hammed (Ogun State), Private Bamidele Adekunle Emmanuel (Ogun State), Private Owochukwu Christian Chigoziri (Rivers State), Private Adamu Muhammed (Bauchi State) and Private Lamara Ahmed (Jigawa State). Others were Private Mubarak Suleiman (Plateau), Private Bashir Sani (Katsina), Private Usman Abubakar Jalo (Gombe), Private Nafiu Iliyasu (Jigawa), Private Safiyanu Ahmed (Jigawa) and Private Alhassan Ibrahim (Kaduna State).