No fewer than 11 soldiers who have been on special operation tagged ‘Operation Cat Race’ in Birnin Gwari local government area of Kaduna State were reported to have lost their lives Tuesday night when scores of bandits attacked them to avenge the killing of their leader, Buhari Tsoho, popularly called Buharin Daji who was killed in shoot out with security men in Zamfara state two weeks ago, source said.
Though, the army was yet to comment on the incident as at press time, Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna condoled families of security personnel that lost their lives in the course of repelling the bandits.
The bloody attack, which occurred at a village called Kampanin Doka in the local government area happened at a time the federal government was trying to secure lives and property of road users who have been falling victims of armed robbery and kidnapping in that axis of Kaduna interstate road recently.
A source who pleaded anonymity said, the bandits attacked the soldier’s camp between 8pm and 9pm on Tuesday killing three soldiers in a hole and nine others in the camp making the casualties 12.
“We gathered that the soldiers had caught a thief in a village called Maganda in the area and were taking him back to their camp when some personnel of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) asked them to hand over the thief to them which the soldiers refused.
“The same police followed the soldiers to their camp in Kampanin Doka and again asked them to hand over the thief to them, but the soldiers still refused. Around 8pm on Tuesday, bandits attacked the soldier’s camp and killed three soldiers in a hole and nine others in a tent in the camp.
“Members of the community kept calling us when the attack was taking place, but there was nothing we could do since we don’t have any weapons, all we did was to alert the emir and other security personnel with the hope that they could come to their aid.”
Another top source who witnessed the attack confirmed that, he saw 11 bodies after the attack.
This source however hinted that, men of Nigerian Army were still waiting for directive on the next line of action from Army authority as at the time of filing this report.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Colonel Muhammad Dole when contacted said he was working on the Army’s press release on the incident.
However, a social message by a community based organisation known as Birnin Gwari Vanguard for Security and Good Governance partly corroborated the earlier sources.
“A military detachment and members of the vigilante in Doka village has successfully repelled an attack by armed bandits numbering about 120 on a motorcycles around 10.05pm on Tuesday night.
“The attackers had earlier attacked Maganda District on Monday on a revenged mission over the killing of Buhari Tsoho a. k. a Buharin Daji. Nine people critically injured at Maganda, mostly Vigilante group.
“After Maganda, the Armed bandits moved toward Kampanin Doka at the junction road leading to Gwaska and Dansadau. But gallant soldiers and brave youths of Doka successfully repelled the attack. Many casualties on the side of the bandits recorded and they escaped with the wounded.
“Although we had informed the Kaduna State government on the attack three days ago and the military, government officials dismissed our credible information by not taken appropriate action to forestall the attacks by armed bandit.
“Once more, we the people of Birnin-Gwari are under siege and in need of protection of the government. Our youth and volunteers are ready to assist security agencies to confront armed bandits in our territory.
“We will remain vigilant and await government of Mall. Nasiru Ahmed El-Rufai response to this security challenges in Birnin-Gwari local government”, the message read.
Meanwhile, Governor El-Rufai called for sustained collaboration between communities and security forces to overcome banditry. The governor said this in a message to the people of Birnin Gwari local government following attacks by bandits.
El-Rufai said he received with sadness reports of bandit attacks in Doka and Magandavillages. He praised the communities for their vigilance and their collaboration with the military to thwart the attacks. The governor said the state regrets the loss of lives and offered his condolence to the communities and the military over the incident.
The governor also condoled families of security personnel that lost their lives in the course of repelling the bandits, he also wished civilians that sustained injuries speedy recovery.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan, Governor El-Rufai said that the government is monitoring developments in Birnin Gwari local government.
He reiterated the firm resolve of the government to overcome rural banditry, with the support of communities and the assistance of security assets provided by the Federal Government. The statement disclosed that sustained vigilance by communities and the information they provide are very crucial to assisting the security agencies.
He reiterated that the government threats every security information with the utmost agency, as it discharges its obligation to protect lives and property.