Suspected armed bandits are reportedly planning a retaliatory attack on Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara State, residents and a military official have said.
Residents said the suspected bandits ‘numbering thousands’ are moving closer to Birnin Magaji town, as at Thursday morning, to avenge the killing of seven of their members on Wednesday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported Thursday morning how residents of the town cordoned off their emir’s palace and killed seven suspected bandits on a ‘peace’ mission.
The bandits were reportedly in the palace for a peace talk after their cows were confiscated following an airstrike on their base in Birnin Magaji forest.
One of the residents said the armed bandits were seen visibly approaching the community in an attempt to attack.
He said they (bandits) retreated “because the residents are also prepared for any eventuality”. He requested not to be named for security reasons.
He added that youth from other communities have converged at Birnin Magaji town “in solidarity for the potential attack”. He said the chances of a reprisal attack from the armed bandits is high.
He said there are a few security personnel manning only the emir’s palace and the home of Nigeria’s Defence Minister, Mansur Dan-Ali.
Mr Dan-Ali hails from Birnin Magaji, and the Emir, Husseini Dan-Ali is his younger brother.
“The government need to be proactive to avoid more bloodshed, security reinforcement in the area is paramount,” the source said.
When contacted, Clement Abiade, the acting spokesperson, ‘Operation Sharan Daji’, said “the military are aware about the planned attack.”
“That’s why more troops are on (the) ground in the area because mostly, we suspect a reprisal attack, the soldiers are on alert,” he said.
Zamfara, like other states in the region, has been rocked by the activities of armed bandits that have led to the loss of hundreds of lives in recent months.