A brave soldier paid the supreme price when troops of Operation Sahel Sanity battled bandits, killing three of them and rescuing three nursing mothers along with their infants in Katsina State.
The incident occurred on Thursday when troops, responding to a distress call about the activities of bandits at Diskuru village in Faskari Local Government Area of the state, engaged the criminals in a gunbattle, a statement by the military said on Sunday.
Bandits had attacked the village around 5:30 am on motorcycles, killing several persons in the village.
The troops, however, repelled the attack, killing three of the bandits and forcing the others to flee with many of them believed to have sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds, the statement by the Acting Director of Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko said.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, three women and their infants, earlier kidnapped by the bandits, were rescued from the criminals,” he added.
According to him, two additional bodies of bandits were discovered along their withdrawal route.
The operation had a sad note to it as he announced that one brave soldier paid the supreme price in an attempt to save one of the rescued nursing mothers in the heat of the battle.
After repelling the attack, troops have remained in the village, and the surrounding areas to prevent further attack and track down the fleeing bandits.
When contacted by phone, the Public Relations Officer of the Police Command in Katsina, SP Isah Gambo, told Channels Television that 17 people were killed by the bandits in all. Four of them were members of the vigilante group and 12 were members of the village.
According to him, the remote nature of the village had an impact on the response to the attack, which he said was a reprisal.
“Because the place is a remote area and not motorable, before the arrival of the police, the bandits had killed 12 villagers, wounded about five of them. They equally set some houses ablaze in order to revenge the killing of their people because, last week, they came to the village but it didn’t go well as the villagers really dealt with them,” he said.
In the initial attack, the villagers also killed about three of the bandits and action which infuriated the marauding bandits.
“When they regrouped, they came with over 200 of them on motorbikes in possession of dangerous weapons including General Purpose Machine Guns as well as AK-47 Rifles shooting sporadically,” he said.
“The DPO alerted his counterparts from the military operation Sahel Sanity but before they could reach there, the Bandits have already escaped, they followed through cattle routes. So they alerted the people in Faskari to block them. The DPO and the military blocked that place but because of their numbers, they overpowered the security personnel there as a result of which one of the sister security agents, not police lost his life and four members of the vigilante were also killed in Faskari Local Government Area.”
He said the Air Force also sent an aircraft to the village in response to the attack and it helped in the chase after the fleeing bandits with more of them believed to have been killed by the military while fleeing.
According to Gambo, security personnel are combing the forest with a view to intercepting the bandits of recovering the corpses of those of them that were killed by the Air Force.
Brigadier General Onyeuko in his statement on Sunday also provided an update on an operation carried out two days earlier and he commended the troops in the region generally for their efforts.
He said, “Relatedly, on 27 October 2020, troops deployed at Dan Ali village acting on reliable Information arrested two suspected bandits collaborators namely Samaila Usman and Idi Bello. The suspects are in our custody undergoing interrogations before handing them over to appropriate prosecuting authorities.”
“To this end, the gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity are commended for the successes achieved and their commitment. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the Northwest zone is rid of all criminal activities.
“Additionally, the good people of the Northwest are once more assured of the troops’ commitment to the safety of lives and properties within the zone. They are also encouraged to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist in the conduct of their operations.”