Friday night attack was averted as the Nigerian Army repelled an attack on Pandogari community in Rafi local government area of Niger state by heavily armed men, suspected to be Boko Haram.
A source from Pandogari community told our correspondent that about 100 heavily armed men, three in each motorcycles attempted to storm the town to carry out their heinous crime of killing, maiming, Kidnapping, and cattle rustling when they met stiff resistance from the soldiers and members of the local vigilantes.
The gunmen suspected to be those fleeing Zamfara and Katsina state due to the military operations going there, invaded the town at about 6:00pm on Friday, and made their way straight to the Military base in an attempt to first of all sack the soldiers but met a fully prepared Nigerian Soldiers who engaged them in a fierce gun battle.
According to our source, the soldiers engaged the gunmen in gun battle for several hours, forcing them (soldiers) to seek for reinforcements which the Military authority quickly responded.
Consequently, our source further disclosed that in less than one hour, no fewer than 20 trucks from Kagara loaded with armed soldiers and another 10 trucks from Birningwari arrived Pandogari, and overwhelmed the gunmen who quickly retreated to Allawa forest.
It was learnt that the gunmen suffered heavy casualties as there were bloodstains everywhere in the bush this morning (Saturday), including some of their belongings, they however managed to evacuate the dead and the injured ones.
A top local vigilante official who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity described the battle as “Very intense and serious” but was full of praises for the gallant display by the soldiers, and equally commended the Military authority for the quick response to reinforce the troops.
He said that despite the reinforcement, the soldiers later resulted to the use of rocket propelled grenades and other sophisticated weapons due to the large number of the gunmen which devastated them (gunmen) and made them to retreat into the forest.
The vigilante official who spoke to our correspondent all through in Hausa, said from the looks of the gunmen, “they are Fulani’s who are very young but not from Nigeria because of their mode of dressing and their intonations”, which he pointed is completely different from the Fulanis in Nigeria.
He further hinted that the gunmen might likely come back to engage the soldiers because the presence of the military and the local vigilantes have blocked all their routes and are finding it difficult to operate in the area.
“They are equally looking for a base in the state because of the Military operations in Zamfara and Katsina states. They have been dislodged there so they are desperately looking for a base in Niger state”, he added.
The Secretary to the State Government Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane when contacted confirmed the story but simply said “What the Security men did was to repel the attack”.
Matane also confirmed that there was no report of any casualty yet on the part of the security men but praised their gallantry which secured the lives of the people they are to protect.
The Government Scribe assured them that government will continue to do everything possible to ensure the welfare of the security men in the discharge of their duties.
The state Police Command is yet to issue any statement on the attack, and the Public Relations Officer DSP Wasiu Abiodun could not be reached to confirm the attack.
It could be recalled that the gunmen in a similar invasion, sacked the Military camps in Bassa and Allawa communities, killing five soldiers and a police inspector.
This forced the Military to closed the camps to enable it re-strategize but were reopened few months later with additional forces and equipment
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