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02.04.2021 news EXCLUSIVE: Army, Police, NSCDC Withdraw from Niger Communities after Killing of Five Soldiers by Bandits

Published 2nd Apr, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

All officials of the Nigerian Army, Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), as well as the Civilian Joint Task Force and local vigilante, have been withdrawn from the Lakpma axis of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

This development came after bandits killed seven persons, including five soldiers and one NSCDC officer in five communities — Allawa, Manta, Gurmana, Bassa and Kokki — in Shiroro.

The gun-wielding men had stormed Allawa village where the Joint Security Task Force officials were camped, at about 2am on Thursday, opening fire on them.

However, following the attack, residents are fleeing the communities over fear of subsequent attacks now that they are shorn of security.

A youth leader and resident of the Lakma axis told FIJ that the withdrawal of security officers has rendered them more vulnerable and helpless.

“There is commotion now in the community,” he said.

“People are leaving because there are no security officers around. Even the JTF men keeping the community together have withdrawn as a result of the incidents that happened.

“As I speak to you, in Bassa where there was no recent attack until Thursday, the JTF has been taken away from there.”

Corroborating those claims, Sani Yusuf, leader of the Concerned Shiroro Youths, said the affected communities are living in fear and restlessness.

He explained that after the attack, the Nigeria Army evacuated its men in the communities, prompting other security officials to follow suit.

“Terrorists heavily armed with assorted sophisticated and dangerous weapons are now seen all the time moving in convoy from one village to another and unleashing havoc on unsuspecting victims,” he said.

“Confirmed reports emanating from Allawa and Bassa towns in Shiroro Local Government, Niger State, indicate that the Joint Security Task Force stationed there have been withdrawn.

“No reason has been advanced for the withdrawal but observers believe it will not be unconnected with the casualties suffered by the JSTF during today’s invasion by heartless, venomous and hydra-headed terrorists.”

When contacted, Mary Noel Marje, the Chief Press Secretary to the Niger State Governor, did not immediately respond to calls and request for comment.

Also, Muhammad Yerima, spokesman of the Nigerian Army, said he was unaware of the development.

“I am not aware of that,” he simply told FIJ.

Published 2nd Apr, 2021

By Ibrahim Adeyemi

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