BREAKING: Residents flee as Soldiers leave Niger Community After Deadly Ambush

The Nigerian military has closed its camp and withdrawn troops in Allawa community in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State. Allawa community is one of the communities facing severe attacks by bandits and terrorists in Shiroro LGA of the state....READ FULL ARTICLE

The withdrawal of troops, which residents said came to them as a surprise due to renewed attacks in the community and its neighbouriy communities, had caused hundreds of locals including women, the elderly and children to vacate their houses, trekking at least 50 kilometres to safe places.

Residents told Daily Trust that they woke up on Thursday seeing the soldiers removing their tents in preparation to leave the community.

One of the locals, who preferred anonymity, told our correspondent that the withdrawal came two days after the military vehicle stepped on a landmine along Allawa-Pandogari road, leading to an unspecified number of casualties.

“I don’t know if you were aware that on Tuesday, April 23, 2024 the military personel on their way to Allawa stepped on IED and casuallities including death were recorded. Some of them are in the hospital. The incident happened on Allawa-pandogari road Tuesday,” he said.

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The Tuesday incident came less than a week after six soldiers and a vigilante lost their lives in an ambush at Roro when bandits launched multiple attacks on Roro, Karaga, Rumace and other farming communities.

Another resident, Mallam Yahuza Allawa, told our correspondent that dozens of residents had vacated their communities as early as 4am on foot and were heading towards Erena, Gwada, Kuta or Zumba for safety.

“This is a serious issue. Please help us report this issue. We are leaving our communities now and there are insufficient motorcycles and vehicles to take us out as quick as possible. We are afraid. May be if you report it, government will bring vehicles to evacuate us to safe places. Our belongings are there, we can’t pack them.

“Wallah, hundreds of us have left our communities already. We cannot take Pandogari road because it is not safe. So, we are moving to either Erena, Gwada, Kuta or Zumba. And from Allawa to Erena which is the only exit road for us is at least 42km and we are trekking because there are no vehicles to convey us.

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We have old people among us. Many people left their homes as early as 4am before early morning prayers. We cannot wait to be killed by these heartless bandits and Boko Haram,” he said.

He said the fleeing farmers have hundreds of goats and other domestic animals and other valuables, including foodstuffs that they were not able to evacuate due to lack of vehicles.

He said Allawa and adjoining communities had relied on the presence of the military for protection, saying that the withdrawal came as a surprise to them.

Daily Trust recalls that recently, dozens of goats and bags of foodstuffs as well as houses and motorcycles were burnt down during attacks on Allawa, Bassa and adjoining communities by bandits.

Residents believed that the attackers were members of Boko Haram and ISWAP due to their fire power.

With the withdrawal, residents said they had become more vulnerable to attacks, forcing them to vacate their communities.

In August 2023, at least 20 soldiers also lost their lives while others including vigilantes sustained injuries in an ambush along Zungeru-Tegina road while responding to distress calls in some communities in Wushishi LGA.

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A day after, the MI-171 NAF Helicopter on a casualty evacuation mission crashed at about 1.00pm near Chukuba Village, Shiroro. The crash was confirmed by the Nigeria Air Force Authorities.

Reports later emerged that the helicopter was shot down by non-state actors and that the pilot died. But the report could not be independently confirmed by Daily Trust.

Local told Daily Trust they learnt from interactions with some soldiers that the military authorities said they would no longer bear the incessant killing of soldiers in the state.

The Niger State Commissioner for Homeland Security, Brigadier General Bello Abdullahi Mohammed (RTD) confirmed the withdrawal of the troops.

He said it was part of the arrangements by the military to restrategise on best ways to tackle insecurity.

“The whole thing is about administrative arrangements by the military to restrategise to return in full strength,” he said in a reply to our correspondent’s message....READ FULL ARTICLE

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