Six soldiers and seven policemen have reportedly been killed in a gun-battle with terrorists at a mining site at Ajata-Aboki in Gurmana Ward of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.
Over 100 bandits were said to have stormed the mining site and immediately opened fire on people on site, while they reportedly abducted four Chinese expatriates on site.
The terrorists were said to be heavily armed stormed the mining site around 4.oopm on Wednesday and shot dead seven mobile policemen providing security for the mining site and six civilians.
The bandits were said to have been confronted by military men while on their way out of the area into the forest.
The ensuing gun-battle reportedly led to the killing of six soldiers. The exact number of soldiers killed could not but be confirmed, but sources put it at six.
But Sani Yusuf Kokki, Co-Convener, Concerned Shiroro Youths, said that unspecified number of Chinese nationals were kidnapped, describing the attack as terrific and terrible.
He lamented that “Kidnap for ransom has become common phenomenon in our localities. It is quite unfortunate that we have been forced to coexist with this sad reality. We are being killed, maimed, raped among other inhuman subjugations by marauding terrorists.”
He affirmed that six soldiers were killed along with seven policemen and six civilians.
But the Niger State Commissioner for Internal Security and Humanitarian Affairs, Emmanuel Umar, in a statement on Thursday said the government was yet to ascertain the number of casualties.
He said the the attack took place at about 4.00pm on Wednesday and that based on a distress call received that bandits/terrorists invaded a mining site located at Ajata Aboki village via Erena Ward of Shiroro LGA, a joint security team were mobilized to the scene in response to the distress call.
Umar said the joint security team engaged the terrorists in a gun-battle and that they were yet to determine the number of casualties from both sides.
He, however, stated that a yet to be ascertained number of workers in the mining site including four Chinese nationals were reported to have been abducted.
“Security forces were reinforced for the manhunt of the remaining terrorists as some of them were neutralised and rescue of the injured victims including security personnel,” he said.
According to him, those injured had been taken to the hospital for treatment, saying that while the Niger government commiserated with heads of security agencies in the state and families of the slain personnel, the state government assured that their sacrifices would not go in vain.
“The state government acknowledge all the efforts of the joint security operatives and that of the communities toward taming the spate of insecurity in some parts of the state,” he said.