Nigerian soldiers operating in Zamfara State have succeeded in killing 58 armed bandits at Dumburum and Gando forests in the state.
The troops also rescued 75 kidnapped victims abducted by the bandits after a fierce gun battle that lasted hours, according to the army.
Two soldiers and two vigilantes were also killed during the gun battle.
According to a statement by Clement Abiade, the operation’s spokesperson, the incident occurred on January 20, during an operation at the forest.
He explained that 18 camps of the bandits were destroyed and those injured have been evacuated to the hospital for treatment while the rescued victims have since reunited with their family members.
He explained in details how the solders came across the bandits, who, he said, were carrying sophisticated weapons.
“On 20 January 2019, troops came into contact with a large gang of bandits, armed with sophisticated firearms and Rocket Propelled grenades, leading to (a) fierce gun battle, which lasted several hours.
“The bandits were forced to abandon their camps due to superior firepower, during these encounters. The casualty figures on the bandits’ side were 58,” while one was captured alive.
“Troops also destroyed 18 camps and rescued 75 kidnapped victims held in some of these camps. The freed captives who were mostly from local communities in Zamfara State were debriefed and reunited with their families.
On the casualty figures on the side of the troops the Acting Force Information Officer, a major, said, “Unfortunately, Operation SHARAN DAJI also suffered some casualties because, so far, two gallant soldiers and two members of the vigilante paid the supreme prize.
“A total of eight soldiers and six vigilantes also sustained various degrees of gunshot injuries. Those who sustained injuries were evacuated to Federal Medical Centre, Gusau for medical treatment, while those with life threatening conditions were evacuated by air for specialist attention outside the theatre of operation,” he said.
He also said that the families of the fallen heroes have been contacted accordingly, while the deceased members of the vigilante were laid to rest in Anka Cemetery according to Islamic rites.
The statement added that the Force Commander of the Operation, S O Olabanji, a major general, commiserates with families of the fallen heroes and assures them that their sacrifices will not be in vain.
He reaffirmed the commitment of operation to rid Zamfara State of all forms of banditry and criminality, in line with its mandate.
He added that the items recovered from the bandits include, ‘five fabrique national rifles, four AK rifles, 10 locally made rifles, one locally fabricated pistol and 40 motor cycles.’