Troops smoke out 200 terrorists in Niger, lose 2, neutralise bandits’ commanders, recover rustled cows

 No fewer than 200 terrorists and bandits were killed in Niger state after almost three days of gun duel in the Bida emirate and other parts of the state. 

Niger state Commissioner of Local Government, Chieftaincy Affairs and Internal security Emmanuel Umar stated this Wednesday while briefing journalists in Minna. 

He, however, regretted that two gallant officers lost their lives in the encounter.

The commissioner who was elated at the success recorded by the security agencies, said most of the cows earlier rustled by the bandits had been returned to their owners while over 60 were recovered. 

He said four commanders of the terrorists were also killed in the battle, while several others escaped with gunshot injuries. 

He said:  “Yesterday, our Joint Security Taskforce engaged groups of terrorists that have been terrorising us for the past few days.. We believed that these groups belong to notorious commander, Ali Kayaje, Yellow Chabros, Katchalla Halilu and Bello Turechi. Most of their commanders were neutralised.”

 Umar said troops had commenced mop-up operations in the general area of the operations within the state in order to track down fleeing and wounded bandits and terrorists. 

The commissioner further said: “I want to use this medium to salute our community people who stood their ground, form resilience to defend their land.”

 Umar said “the battle began Sunday and has been raging in Kudu axis, Rafi – Wushishi axis and Baban laba axis of Mariga area of the state”.

 He explained that the new strategies employed in the battle against terrorists in Niger stare were beginning to yield successful results, adding “in this fight even women stood and fought.”

 When asked about the claim that traditionalists, marabouts and witches participated in the war to achieve such victory, the commissioner said security issues should not be trivialised.

 Paying tributes to security personnel who died in the battle, he assured “they will not die in vain. The life of every personnel means a lot to us and we sympathise with their families.”  

Reps task IGP, Army Chief on Anambra

In a related development, the House of Representatives has asked Inspector General of Police Usman Akali and Chief of Army Staff Lt.-General Faruk Yahaya to deploy personnel to raid kidnappers’ hideouts in Anambra state.

It also asked the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Isiaka Amao, to provide aerial support for the operation

The resolution followed a motion of urgent public importance moved Wednesday by Roland Igbakpa (PDP, Delta) during plenary. 

Moving the motion, Igbakpa informed his colleagues of the abduction of Steady Idisi and Emmanuel Ifie by suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

He stated that the two victims were reported to have been kidnapped  and taken to Orsumoghu forest.

The lawmaker said  Idisi, who is from Ovo, Ehtiope East local government area of Delta state, was kidnapped February 20 while travelling to Port Harcourt from Asaba, the state capital.

He said Idisi and his friend were abducted by suspected IPOB militants at Orsumoghu in Ihiala local government area of Anambra state.

Igbakpa also disclosed that Gab Ofoma, a businessman from Nnewi also in Anambra state, was killed on the same highway same day.

Narrating an account of an escapee from the den, Igbakpa said there were over 100 kidnapped victims in the hideout.

“There is electricity, generators, SUV vehicles, and is like a City of its own, where evil reigns. By the same account, over 100 persons are held captive in that camp and are killed intermittently at the pleasure of the bandits.

“A properly coordinated and concerted inter-agency intelligence-driven efforts by the police, army and other security agencies in the form of a Joint operation to continually raid the entire area, as was done in the past, is critical at this point to address this menace in order to dislodge the bandits and release their victims.”

Contributing to the motion, Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu (PDP Delta), blamed the APC-led government for the insecurity in the country.

“Since the APC-led government came into power, there has been an increase in brutalising of Nigerians in making sure that our people who should be in the farm to produce food do not have the opportunity to do that,” Elumelu claimed. The debate dovetailed to partisan matter, as Majority Leader Ado Doguwa (APC, Kano) attacked the main opposition party- PDP.

“I want to remind the minority leader that we are running a federal democracy. We have the federating units. Of course, every federating unit has its constitutional responsibility. But I want to believe even the state governors in the south, do have the same responsibility to protect the lives and property of the people they govern. Whether you control the police or not, I assume the governors in the south are the chief security officers of their respective states. What are your governors doing?” he said.

Consequently, the House resolved that the Committees on Army, Police and Air Force ensure compliance and report to the House in two weeks.

About Aideloje Ojo, Minna and Joshua Egbodo, Abuja

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