Daredevil bandits have killed 12 soldiers and injured nine vigilantes in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The incident occurred on Tuesday night in Doka and Maganda districts on the border between Kaduna and Zamfara states.
The bandits, who were in their numbers, were said to have launched the attack in retaliation of the killing of Buharin Daji, one of the gang leaders who had been terrorising Birnin Gwari Local Government Area and its environs.
A source in Birnin Gwari told our correspondent that the bandits, who were well-armed and riding on motorcycles, invaded a military post at Doka, an area between Funtua and Birnin Gwari and took the soldiers unawares.
They killed the soldiers in their camp.
Sources in the town also disclosed that the bandits had attacked Maganda District earlier in the day where a gun battle ensued between them and vigilantes. Nine of the vigilantes were critically injured.
Having failed to overrun Maganda, the bandits moved to Kampanin Doka where a military camp was located at the junction of the road leading to Gwaska and Dansadau and took the soldiers unawares, leading to the death of 12 of the soldiers.
The soldiers’ camp, it was learnt, was established to protect the neighbouring villages and communities following incessant attacks, banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling.
The camp was also expected to ensure the security for expatriates and others working on the construction of a new road linking Zamfara State with Kaduna State through Dansadau and Birnin Gwari.
A source said the community had been leaving in fear for some time now.
The fear even became palpable following the killing of Buharin Daji, because of what the source described as strange movements in the area.
He said the community had notified the Kaduna State government and other security agencies within the area since they noticed strange movements of bandits in the Birnin Gwari through Funtua-Dansadau axis but no action was taken before the attack took place.
The source added: “Suspicious of their movements with sophisticated weapons around Goron Dutse, Kuiga, Maganda, Unguwar Nachibi communities, we immediately sent alerts and warning signals to Kaduna State government to take action. In fact since the killing of Buharin Daji, kidnappers have been having a field day on Birnin-Gwari-Funtua Road on a daily basis.
“Some villagers being terrorised by bandits in Kirazo and Layin Mai Gwari had to relocate to Birnin-Gwari town for safety.
“We have been under intense fear of this armed group and have called for proactive government protection before the latest killing of soldiers.”
Following the attack, an online message by a group which called itself Birnin-Gwari Vanguards for Security and Good Governance, said:
“Military detachment and vigilantes in Doka village have successfully repelled an attack by bandits numbering about 120 on motorcycles about 10.05p.m. (on Tuesday).
The attackers had earlier attacked Maganda District about 4p.m. on a revenged mission over the killing of Buhari Tsoho aka Buharin Daji.
“Nine people were critically injured at Maganda, mostly vigilantes.
“After Maganda, the 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 about 11p.m. same Tuesday.
“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 the bandits.
“Once more we the people of Birnin-Gwari are under siege and in need of protection of the government.
“Our youthd and volunteers are ready to assist security agencies to confront bandits in our territory,” the Birnin-Gwari Vanguards for Security and Good Governance said.
The authorities of the 1 Division, Nigerian Army, refused to react to the incident, saying that a statement would soon be issued on the happenings in Birnin Gwari.