Boko Haram sacks military camp in Niger, bandits attack emir in Zamfara

•Many feared dead; residents flee Niger communities
•Security agents whisk Emir away to safety in Gusau
By Wole Mosadomi & Idris Salisu

Minna- Suspected Boko Haram insurgents yesterday sacked the military base at Allawa town in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, as residents fled communities in the area to avoid being shot or kidnapped.

This came as bandits also yesterday attacked the palace of the emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Mohammed Bunu, but failed to kidnap him as he was whisked away to the state capital, Gusau, by security agents.

The Niger incident was said to have happened at about 1:30 am, as the insurgents “invaded the town on motorcycles with not less than three on each bike fully armed. They were said to have numbered about 200.

Our correspondent reliably gathered that the armed men must have embarked on a reprisal mission after the military neutralized about fifty of them in a fierce battle in the area last week.

An eyewitness in the area who pleaded for anonymity, also told our correspondent that a greater number of the insurgents stormed the military camp and sacked those on duty, while others invaded Allawa town and rained bullets on houses.

Cash, foodstuffs and other handy valuables were carted away from the residents of the town and other adjourning villages.
At press time yesterday, the number of casualties recorded in the village and on the side of the military and the terrorists could not be ascertained.

“There was a fierce battle between the insurgents and the military and it was around 1:30 am. It lasted for some hours.
“Because it was midnight, the number of casualties could not be ascertained,” the eyewitness said.

The military camp, it was also gathered, had been deserted by the military personnel deployed to the area.
Consequently, residents of Allawa town and adjourning communities, such as Pandogari, Kukoki, and Bassa among others, have started fleeing the area to safe grounds.

Just last week, suspected Boko Haram members ambushed and killed two military officers and four soldiers at Karaga in the same Shiroro Local Government Area.

Efforts to get confirmation and response to the issue from the state police command through the spokesman, Superintendent of Police Wasiu Abiodun, proved abortive as his number could not be reached.

Bandits attack palace in Zamfara, but failed to kidnap Emir

Similarly, bandits yesterday attacked the palace of the emir of Zurmi, Alhaji Muhammed Bunu, but failed in their bid to abduct him.

A resident of Zurmi, Malam Aminu Sale, told our correspondent in a telephone interview, that the bandits went straight to the emir’s palace and started shooting sporadically.

Security agents whisk Emir away to safety

But, the Emir was whisked away by the security agents to Gusau.

The source said when the bandits could not succeed in abducting the emir, they destroyed one of the transformers and a telecoms mast network booster in the area.

According to the source, the bandits killed three people who were kidnapped during the incident.
He said the bandits, who entered the town at about 11:00 pm on Wednesday, also attacked the house of a former Military Administrator of Nasarawa State, Col Bala Mande, retd.

“We, the residents of Zurmi town, have witnessed a terrible situation in the bandits’ attacks. This is not the first time the bandits have entered Zurmi town, it is not the second time.

“Similarly, the bandits again on Wednesday night, attacked Maru town, the headquarters of Maru Local Government Council where they killed one person and kidnapped three people,” a resident of Maru town, who identified himself as Aminu Maru, told our correspondent on telephone.

According to him, the bandits spent more than two hours operating in the town without confrontation.

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