At least, eight military officers deployed to the Zuru district of Kebbi State have been killed by gunmen suspected to be bandits, multiple sources told SaharaReporters.
The soldiers were deployed to the area following the killing of 68 vigilantes otherwise known as Yan-Sa-Kai by gunmen fleeing from Niger State.
The Yan-Sa-Kai hail from various towns and villages of the emirate.
Local residents often form informal vigilante units to protect themselves from bandit raids.
A source from Sakaba Local Government Area of the state told SaharaReporters on Tuesday night that eight of the soldiers deployed to the emirate have been killed by gunmen.
“Initially we have our local security outfit that has been checkmating these monsters but last year the governor disarmed them by saying the security outfit was engaging in unlawful killings but he did not provide an alternative.
“Immediately after banning our local security outfit, bandits then moved in and have been killing mercilessly since then.
“Some hours ago, some soldiers were deployed but unfortunately, the bandits have just killed eight of the soldiers. So sad, we are no longer safe.”
Speaking on the killing of the vigilantes, another source told SaharaReporters that the deceased persons were ambushed after being fed wrong information regarding the location of the bandits.
The source said, “Yesterday, after killing many people and rustling cows, the youths from Dabai, Magajiya, Ribah, Diri and Danrnagi villages confronted the bandits with their locally made guns.
“They killed many of the Bandits; along the line, someone called them and gave them wrong information about the location of the bandits, so that was how they fell into the ambush of the bandits.
“The location is Sakaba Local Government Area, Zuru Emirate, Kebbi state. It's a border town between Kebbi South and Niger. The town has produced many Generals.
“Right now, they are still operating in Zuru villages. The soldiers and the police are more afraid than the civilians.”
Earlier on Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari condemned the incident.
The President expressed sadness over what he described as “the brutal murder of tens of vigilantes”. Buhari in a statement by his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, also expressed his condolences to the family members of the deceased.
“This egregious level of criminality is shocking and I want to assure Nigerians that I will do all it takes to tackle this monster decisively,” the President was quoted as saying.
“My greatest preoccupation is the threat to life posed by these murderous gangs and remorseless outlaws who have no slightest regard for the sanctity of life.
“While extending my sympathy to the families of the victims of this savagery, let me use this opportunity to also call on our security forces to be more proactive and redouble their efforts in order to frustrate the operational plans of the terrorists before they even launch attacks.”
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