…As 4,770 terrorists surrender to Nigerian Army
By Ariemu Ogaga
Gunmen have reportedly killed a yet to be ascertained number of people, kidnapping several others including four Chinese Nationals in an attack on a mining site in Ajata- Aboki, Gurmana Ward of Shiroro Local Government, Niger State.
The report of the attack was confirmed by the Niger State Government and the Co-convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths Of Niger State, Sani Abubakar Yusuf Kokki through a separate statement issued yesterday.
This is following the report of 4,770 terrorists surrendering to the Nigerian Army within the spate of two weeks, according to information from the Defense Headquarters.
In a statement by the Co-convener, it said, “During yesterday’s deadly encounter, a large number of casualties were instantly recorded at the said mining site being owned and managed by Chinese Nationals as the AK-47 rifle wielding terrorists gunned down their victims at sight as well as shot sporadically into the air thereby leading to more devastating consequence.
“Information at my disposal further proved that about thirteen (13) people including seven (7) mobile policemen attached to the mining site probably as guards (providing security cover for the expatriates) and six (6) other civilians were gruesomely killed through an ambush while scores of others who sustained various degrees of multiple gunshots injuries (some in critical condition) have been taken to various medical facilities for treatment.
“However, a yet-to-be ascertained number of workers in the mining site including four Chinese nationals were reported to have been abducted,” the Niger Government added in a statement by the Commissioner for Internal Security and Humanitarian Affairs, Emmanuel Umar.
Although Kokki noted that the Nigerian Army stationed nearby swung into action to repel the attack, he said several officers were gunned down by the assailants.
He further added that the death toll had risen, noting that “almost thirty soldiers have been discovered in the bush and confirmed dead.”
“More bodies are still being expected as search efforts have intensified, Kokki said.
While reacting to the incident, Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, commiserated with the families of the victims.
“It really saddened my heart to hear about this. It is even more worrisome to know that lives of security personnel were involved and expatriates were also among those kidnapped,” the Governor said in a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mary Noel-Berje.
“My heart goes out to the family of our security men killed, I pray that Allah will grant them Aljannah Firdausi and quick recovery to those injured.”
Urging the security personnel not to be dampened by the incident, he charged them to remain committed to discharging their duties and ensure the safe return of the four Chinese Nationals and others kidnapped at the mining site.
Defence Headquarters says 4,770 terrorists comprising 864 adult males, 1,415 women and 2,490 children surrendered to the Nigerian troops between June 1 and June 15, in the North East.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, said this at the bi-weekly news conference on the operations of armed forces on yesterday in Abuja.
Onyeuko said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai had intensified the tempo of their operations in the various locations across the North East Zone.
He said the operations led to the rescue of abducted persons, neutralising of terrorists, arrest of terrorist members, recovery of arms and ammunition and other security-related items.
Onyeuko said the troops of 152 Battalion had between June 17 and June 21, encountered fleeing Boko Haram Terrorist/Islamic State West Africa Province fighters at Buduwa in Bama Local Government Area of Borno and eliminated seven of them.
He added that 14 rustled cattle and three bicycles were recovered as well as the apprehension of some terrorist collaborators and logistics suppliers.
According to him, Mallam Abacha Usman was arrested at Benshek, Mallam Ibrahim Gira on Damboa – Biu Road and Mallam Ibrahim Gira – a terrorist petroleum supplier.
He said, in all, troops neutralised 11 terrorists, arrested 11 and recovered 14 rustled cattle, two AK-47 rifles, three bicycles, two locally made guns, 90 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, and one Golf 2 car.
“All surrendered Boko Haram Terrorist/Islamic State West Africa Province members and families were profiled and documented while all arrested and recovered items were handed over to the appropriate authority for further actions,” he said.
A security expert Executive Officer, Beacon Security Dr. Kabiru Adamu while speaking with Nigerian NewsDirect attributed the attacks on the complicit that eat Niger State’s landmass, other factors are the reason for vulnerability.
According to him, “The attack on a mining site on Shiroro LGA of Niger State is quite unfortunate.
“The Niger state and federal governments have implemented both kinetic and non kinetic measures in an attempt to contain the burgeoning security challenges in the state with reasonable success given that we have spent some few weeks without any incidents of a worrisome nature. Niger State is a vulnerable state unfortunately.
“Its landmass is the equivalent of all six South West States. It has probably the most forest reserves of all states in the country. It also reflects all the developmental challenges that faces Nigeria as a country.
“In addition its proximity to states like Kaduna and especially Zamfara the epicenter of the Banditry is a major challenge. In this instance, it is believed that the bandits that attacked the mine came from Zamfara.
“This calls for concerted effort by the federal government and the states in the Northwest plus Niger state,” he stated.