Gunmen who were suspected to be armed bandits on Tuesday reportedly killed about 20 vigilantes in an ambush in Kotonkoro village of Mariga local government area of Niger.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the bandits who were allegedly armed with sophisticated weapons also attacked a military base in the same Kotonkoro on Wednesday during which one soldier was said to have been killed and another abducted.
The Commandant of the Vigilante group in the local government, Malam Abu Hashimu confirmed the killing of his men to newsmen on Thursday in an interview by the telephone.
According to him, “the slain vigilantes were returning from a search operation when they were ambushed. 16 of them were killed on the spot while the bandits pursued four others, who tried to escape after which they were also gunned down.”
He said that the remains of the slain vigilantes have been recovered, highlighting that a joint security operation consisting of military and vigilantes has been launched for the arrest of the fleeing bandits.
A combined security team has besieged the Dutse Magajiya forest in Minna, combing it for the armed bandits as of the time of filing this report on Thursday.
It could, however, be recalled that the officials of the state government and a renowned Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi had some time last month met with some bandits’ commanders in the same area where peace initiative was said to have taken place.