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Military kills scores of fleeing bandits in Niger, one soldier missing

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Scores of armed bandits fleeing the ongoing military operation in Zamfara and Katsina states on Friday afternoon met their Waterloo in the hands of soldiers at Maganda village near Allawa in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

The bandits who were escaping through the notorious Allawa forest in their hundreds, ran into the military a camp stationed at Alawa and engaged the soldiers in a serious gun battle for several hours.

At the end of the gun battle, one soldier was said to be missing while scores of the bandits were neutralized and several others escaped into the forest with bullet injuries.

Soldiers are still on the trail of those who escaped with bullets wounds as the entire forest is being combed in search of them. About six machine guns and a number of AK 47 riffles and bags of ammunitions were recovered from the bandits.

According to a source close to Allawa community, who spoke to Sunday Sun on the condition of anonymity, said most of the bandits killed all look like foreigners as they have no resemblance of Nigerians.

“In fact from the dead bodies that we saw, they are not Nigerians. They are foreigners who have long hair like women. They don’t have resemblance of Nigerians and they don’t know the terrain that was why they ran into the soldiers because they did not know that there was a military camp in the place,” our source said.

He disclosed that though the bandits killed one soldier, the soldiers recorded a huge success by killing several of them, stressing, “As I speak with you the bodies of the bandits killed are still littered in the bush.”

This is one of the major break throughs recorded by the military in the war against armed bandits in the state in recent times.

However, it could be recalled that the bandits had in April this year, invaded the Military Base in Alawa, and killed five soldiers and a mobile policeman.

The armed bandits who invaded the base about 3.00am razed the entire military camp when soldiers had just returned to their base from area patrol.

After the invasion of the military base, the bandits moved to the community where they killed seven people and abducted a number of villagers.

Meanwhile, the District Head of Wawa in Borgu Local Government Area, Dr. Mahmud Aliyu, who was abducted about one week ago by armed bandits, has regained freedom.

The District Head was set free by the bandits on Friday evening without payment of any ransom money, according to source close to his palace.

The Police Public Relation Officer of the Niger State Command, ASP Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed the release of the monarch.

John Adams, Sunnewsonline

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Troops clear IPOB/ESN camps in Anambra, Enugu, recover weapons

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Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu

The Nigerian Army said yesterday that troops of 302 Regiment and security agencies have dislodged camps belonging to Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) in Anambra and Enugu states.

Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, in a statement,  said the raids were carried out in conjunction with operatives of the Nigerian Navy, Department of State Services and Nigeria Police Force.

Nwachukwu said the IPOB/ESN criminals were dislodged on Saturday at Idara Nnebo, Ihe Mbosi villages and Ukpor in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra.

He said  the troops cleared IPOB fire positions and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to dislodge the criminals from their hideouts.

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According to him, troops recovered two AK-47 rifles, three magazines with five rounds of 7.62 mm (Special) ammunition, two pump action rifles and one locally fabricated gun during the operations.

“Other items include three power generators, among others,” he said.

Nwachukwu also said the troops of 103 Battalion conducted a raid operation on IPOB/ ESN camp at Nkwere Inyi Forest in Oji River Local Government of Enugu state.

He said the encounter forced the criminals to flee in disarray, while troops recovered one Lexus and a Toyota Highlander SUV suspected to have been snatched by the criminals.

“Other items recovered include two motorcycles, one double barrel gun and seven live cartridges.

“Members of the public are enjoined to continue to support troops with credible information on the activities of the criminal elements in the region,” he added.

THE NATION

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Self-defence: Ban on firearms still in force, CP warns Matawalle

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Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkana

The Zamfara State Commissioner of Police, Ayuba Elkana, has said the embargo on firearms licence is still in force, noting that the police have stopped issuing licence to citizens who wished to own guns.

The police boss stated this, on Sunday, in response to inquiries from The PUNCH about the directive by the state government that the police command should issue gun licence to those eligible to bear arms.

The Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Ibrahim Dosara, had in a statement on Sunday, disclosed that the government had directed residents of the state to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against bandits who have been terrorising the state.

The government, therefore, directed the state Commissioner of Police to issue licence to all those who qualify and are willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.

Dosara had said, “Government has, henceforth, directed individuals to prepare and obtain guns to defend themselves against the bandits, as the government has directed the state commissioner of police to issue a license to all those who qualify and are wishing to obtain such guns to defend themselves.

“Government is ready to facilitate people, especially our farmers, to secure basic weapons for defending themselves. The government has already concluded an arrangement to distribute 500 forms to each of the 19 emirates in the state for those willing to obtain guns to defend themselves.

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“People must apply to the Commissioner of Police to own guns and such other basic weapons to be used in defending themselves. A secretariat or centre will be established for the collection of intelligence on the activities of informants.”

But reacting to the directive, the state commissioner of police said he has yet to receive any directive to issue gun licences to the people.

Elkana, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH said, “I have not received any directives and also, there is a ban on firearms licence and we don’t give licence.

“I am yet to receive any directive. Let me see the directive first before I can comment. I have not seen the directive, so I cannot comment on compliance.”

Asked if the government’s decision was a vote of no confidence on the police, the CP replied, “There is nothing like vote of no confidence, please. This is farming season and you cannot get police or any security to be following everybody to the farm. They are attacking people on the farm; that is the problem. It is not as if we are not doing our best; we are doing our best. Of recent, we rescued many people (from bandits).”

The Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, declined comment on the matter when contacted.

 Ogun State differs

The Ogun State Government also says it is not planning to allow residents of the state to carry arms and defend themselves in the face of insecurity in the state.

Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Olusola Subar, said this while speaking with one of our correspondents in Abeokuta on Sunday.

“There is no plan in Ogun State here that I know of to direct the police or citizens to be giving licence to bear arms,” he said.

 Ekiti State

 The Special Adviser to Ekiti State Governor on Security, Brig. Gen. Ebenezar Ogundana (retd.), has said the situation of the state could not get to the extent of where everybody would be required to bear arms.

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Ogundana, in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “We cannot get to that level, because when you say everybody should go and get arms to defend themselves, you are creating panic that the government is not in control and you are creating panic that the environment is not safe.”

 Abia State

Answering questions from The PUNCH in Umuahia on if the state will follow Zamfara State’s plans to liberalise gun purchase, the Abia State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo said, “What successfully applies in one location may not necessarily be the solution in another location, but what is paramount in our mind as a government, is to ensure the security and welfare of our citizens.”

Experts foresee anarchy

Security experts have, however, warned against the implementation of the directive, describing it as an invitation to anarchy.

One of them, Timothy Avele, said the Zamfara state government should anticipate a high number of extrajudicial killings as a result of the directive.

“It’s a direct call for anarchy at the highest level. You can’t imagine the kind of extrajudicial killings that would result from this current governor’s statement.

“It simply shows the Federal Government, state governments, security agencies and the military have failed woefully,” he said.

Another security expert, Jackson Ojo, said the Zamfara State government directive was against the law of the land.

“What the Zamfara State Governor has just declared is like a mutiny. Under which law does the government of Zamfara State permit its indigenes to bear arms?” Ojo wondered.

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Terrorists ban political activities in Kaduna communities

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A Report released by the Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressives’ Union (BEPU) yesterday said that Ansaru terrorist group has banned political activities in many commuties in the eastern part of Birnin-Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The terrorist group has continued to indoctrinate and recruit locals especially youths into their fold in their bid to eestablishing Islamic state in Nigeria.

Kaduna State Government had during the presentation of the first quarter 2022/ security report confirmed the presence of the Ansaru group in Birnin Gwari’s Kanuku forest.

Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs Samuel Aruwan also raised the alarm that the terrorists were luring local youths into the group with material things.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai said there were reports the terrorists were claiming to prefer the Kaduna forest to Sambisa.

Birnin-Gwari Local Government has 11 political wards but the western part consists of eight wards.

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The BEPU report signed by the Union’s Chairman, Ishaq Usman Kasai, pointed out that the group has continued to gain strength in the area.

According to Kasai, “The  group continues to gain acceptance from many members of the commuties particularly in Old Kuyello and Damari of Kazage Ward.

“Even this week, two members of the group were engaged for wedding with two girls and will be tying the nuptial knots by the coming Saturday.

“The Ansaru (grooms) laid down some rules to the in-laws for the wedding. They ruled that after the wedding, they will take the brides to the forests and live there with them and do not want the brides to go along with any furniture except plates and matresses because anything other than that is not in tandem with their beliefs and and convictions.”

BEPU noted with dismay that the locals who have joined the group are afraid to live in the town because of the fear they could be arrested by the police or other security agencies.

The Union also said that the battle cry among the new recruits is the  establishment of an Islamic state.

BEPU stated further: “The Ansaru and the new recruits are of the belief that their numerical strength will help them to bring the present democratic government down.

“Presently, the Ansaru are going round distributing memory cards to the locals which contains their beliefs and doctrine.

“A disturbing scenario is where the group banned all political activities in many communities such as Damari of Kazage Ward. Politicians from these communities have to go far away secretly to the neighbouring communities before they hold political meetings.

“For instance, this week an okada rider who lives in Unguwar Makera of Kazage Ward was seen with a sticker of one of the candidates vying for the Kaduna State House of Assembly and he was thoroughly beaten by the Ansaru.

“People in these communities are now disenchanted and frustrated about participating in political activities.

“We don’t know how the coming rlections will take place in those areas because even the last local government rlection did not hold in the area due to the escalating insecurity which made the election results to be declared inconclusive and a sole administrator appointed to run the affairs the local government .”

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