Niger State has successfully repelled bandits infiltrating the state through the thick Kamuku and Allawa forests, who are fleeing to escape onslaught by joint military operations in neighbouring Zamfara State. Niger State has had its own fair share of attacks; mostly abductions from schools, markets and homes.
These fleeing bandits moved through the notorious Allawa forest in Shiroro local government area of the state, a border with Kamuku forest that stretches to Zamfara State through Birni Gwari in Kaduna State, attempting to set up camp and make Niger State their next base. They met their waterloo running into the Military Camp in Allawa. The military joint team proceeded to engage them in serious gun battle for several hours.
Security sources hinted that at the end of the gun battle, 40 bandits were killed and scores escaped with bullet wounds. It was learned that some of the bandits who escaped with bullet wounds were later trailed and arrested, while six machine guns, ten AK 47 riffles and bags of ammunitions were recovered from the bandits.
A Resident of Allawa, Umar Alhaji, said “They invaded the Military Base in Allawa early this year, but this time they were unlucky as we saw several dead bodies of bandits killed by soldiers,” he said.
A youth leader in Allawa, Gambo Muhammad, said the onslaught against fleeing bandits to the state has renewed their confidence that with synergy the war against banditry will soon end.
Few days after the victory over fleeing bandits, the spokesperson of the Coalition of Shiroro Association (COSA), Salis M Sabo Esq, said information reaching them indicated that despite the victory, bandits have infiltrated some villages in Shiroro local government. That they came on motorcycles with masked faces, indicating that they were from Zamfara or other troubled neighbouring states bordering Niger State through Shiroro.
He further explained that the fleeing bandits were seen in Galadiman Kogo, Zama, Magami, Maganda m, Paleli, Iburo, Chukuba, Dnasapa all in Shiroro local government.
He noted that the military operation in Zamfara State needs to be well coordinated and replicated in other state borders, to save neighbouring states from bearing the brunt arising from their onslaught.
A security expert, Yusuf Aliyu said “The security men are serious now, as they go heavily on the bandits. I think they have informants, if you disconnect them from their informants, you have automatically incapacitated them,’’ he said, adding that as bandits are being dealt with in one area, they may shift their focus to other villages, hence why they are now in Galadima kogo, Zama, Magami, Maganda m, Paleli, Iburo, Chukuba, and Dnasapa area”, he added.
Niger State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, has disclosed recently that the state government has ordered for drones to help monitor the forests, so that bandits and other criminal elements cannot hide. With the proactive steps taken to fight banditry, Niger State will hopefully, not be a stronghold for bandits.