AS many as 37 security personnel have been killed in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State following a bloody assault on a mining site yesterday by armed bandits who attacked the facility and abducted the foreign workers working there.
In one of the most gruesome attacks carried out by armed bandits in Nigeria, the gunmen are believed to have killed at least 43 people including 30 soldiers and seven mobile policemen. Local residents said a search party found six corpses of civilians and 37 bodies of soldiers and policemen in a bush near the mining site this morning.
They added that many Chinese nationals and Nigerians were also abducted during the attack on the site yesterday. Yusuf Kokki, the co-convener of Concerned Shiroro Youths, said residents witnessed the attack on the site by several heavily armed assailants.
He added: “The deaths from the Ajata-Aboki massacre have risen astronomically as, at present, almost 30 soldiers have been discovered in the bush and confirmed dead.” Mr Kokki said the gunmen arrived at the mining site operated by the Chinese and started shooting unsuspecting workers and the guards.
According to Mr Kokki, soldiers who were stationed at the nearby Erena town, swung into action and rushed to the scene, engaging the criminals in a firefight but unfortunately, they suffered heavy causalities. Emmanuel Umar, the Niger State commissioner for internal security and humanitarian affairs, said the intervention of the soldiers led to the rescue of several workers who were injured in the attack.
He, however, confirmed that four Chinese and several other workers were kidnapped by the bandits. Mr Umar said the government has sent reinforcement to the area and security personnel are pursuing the bandits with the hope of rescuing the kidnapped.
Mr Umar added: “The state government acknowledged all the efforts of the joint security operatives and that of the communities in the state towards taming the spate of insecurity in some parts of the state. Hence, security personnel are enjoined not to be discouraged in discharging their sacred duties of protecting citizens against all forms of threats as the government will continue to be steadfast in providing them with the needed support in all ramifications.
“His Excellency, Abubakar Sani Bello, the Governor of Niger State, has, therefore, directed that the security agencies should go all out to ensure the safe return of the kidnapped victims and make sure that none of the terrorists escape.”