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Bandits Take Over Military Base In Zamfara, Kills Soldiers and Policemen Despite Mobile Phone Shutdown.
The battle has been on between bandits and the Nigerian military for well over a week now after the government ordered a shut down on all phone communication in the state. However, new development reaching the mainstream media is the fact that that doesn’t seem to be doing much to help the situation. Here are the details on what has been happening:
The cutting of Phone network in Zamfara state
Nigeria’s telecoms regulator has for security reasons asked operators to shut down mobile phone lines in Zamfara State, days after other restrictions were announced in the region plagued by violence.
Gangs of criminals known locally as bandits snatched 73 children from a local school on Wednesday in the latest mass kidnapping in the country’s northwest.
Two Fridays ago“This is to enable relevant security agencies (to) carry out required activities towards addressing the security challenge in the state,” the regulator wrote in a letter addressed to a telecom operator and seen by AFP.
Another letter seen by AFP from the governor’s office to Nigeria’s ministry of communication dated the same day stated that Zamfara requested a “temporary shutdown of mobile networks”.
, the Nigerian Communications Commission said “the pervading security situation in Zamfara state, has necessitated an immediate shutdown of all telecommunications services… for two weeks.”
“One of the biggest hurdles to combating banditry is the issue of informers who use mobile networks to communicate with bandits about the movement of troops,” it said.
“The bandits also take advantage of the availability of the networks to coordinate their attacks.”
This request was eventually granted by the NCC and reports have shown that several strikes have taken place with bandits not being able to communicate anymore.
Initial stages of the operation
According to a report by daily trust, a military official as a source gave information that they were recording tremendous success in the battle against bandits in Zamfara and environs. He also said locals were cooperating with them in the onslaught against the bandits and criminals who had abducted many people and waiting to collect a ransom.
The source, who does not want to be named, said the operation was being carried out by the military and sister security agencies.
“It is an all-around operation involving the army, the air force, and DSS. We are happy that locals are supporting us with useful information,” he said.
Following the development, bandits have reportedly intensified attacks in Zamfara and Katsina, looting food stuff to stock up while the measures remain in place.
Mr Matawalle told DW Hausa Service on Monday that the Chief of Army Staff, Farouk Yahaya, was in Zamfara and led troops into the forests to engage the bandits.
“The bandits are releasing their captives, they are abandoning their motorcycles after running out of fuel. Many of the bandits have been killed by the security forces and the security personnel will sustain the offensive against them until we wipe them out from Zamfara,” Mr Matawalle said.
Nigerian military loses a Base
Just a few hours after Bello Matawalle, the governor of Zamfara state claimed that bandits were pleading fresh amnesty deals, gunmen attacked a military base in the state, killing no fewer than 12 officers and injuring others. According to reports, this attack held place last Saturday in Dansadau Local government where bandits attacked voraciously.
The military base is about 80 kilometres south of the capital, Gusau.
It was learnt that the 12 fatalities comprise nine Nigerian Air Force officers, two police officers, and one Nigerian Army personnel.
The gunmen also seized weapons from the slain service members and set ablaze equipment in the facility.
The incident comes amid heightened offensive by the military in Zamfara state.
Many of the bandit leaders and their foot soldiers were said to have been killed since the recent shutdown of communication services and restriction of movement in the state.
All these events are happening barely six months after the Nigerian Government declared the whole of Zamfara state to be a no fly zone in an effort to stop banditry and other forms of insecurity in the state.
“They (bandits) sent a powerful committee to plead with us to cease fire and allow supply (of food and other essential commodities) but I refused,” said the governor who spoke in Hausa. “What we are doing to bandits is to send them to God, so they can answer their questions,” Governor Matawalle said on Friday after attending the Jumat prayer at the Dalala Mosque in Gusau, the state capital.
Reaction to the news
Deji Adeyanju, a former Director of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) New Media, says the attack by bandits on the military base in Mutumji, Zamfara State on Saturday “confirms” that President Muhammadu Buhari “has technically handed over Nigeria to terrorist groups”.
This was in a tweet he released shortly after the news broke out:
“Buhari has technically handed over Nigeria to terrorist groups. The takeover of a military base yesterday in Zamfara confirms this. He is not interested in fighting insecurity but critics and the opposition. He hates IPOB & Oduduwa agitators so much but pampers terrorists.
“You will all see how Buhari will deploy 30,000 soldiers & police in an attempt to rig the Anambra elections but he ignores all the security challenges in the North. These bandits have brought down a military jet & killed many soldiers & citizens but he is not concerned.”
Please note photos used in this poist are for illustration purpose.
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