Gov. Abubakar Bello of Niger has confirmed that three soldiers had been killed in a gun battle with armed bandits in Magama, Magama Local Government Area of the state.
The governor made the disclosure on Tuesday shortly after a meeting with security chiefs at Government House in Minna.
Bello told newsmen that the military recorded the casualties as it lost three soldiers in the battle that lasted for over one hour.
“Two bodies of bandits killed during the fight in the area were also recovered on Monday, while the bandits managed to escape with the rest.
The governor described the latest onslaught on the state, especially against the military, as unfortunate.
He said that soldiers and a group of armed bandits on Monday night engaged each other in a gun battle leading to the death of three soldiers.
He. however, said that the bandits were being trailed by the Army and assured that they would be arrested soonest.
Gov. Bello disclosed that in spite of the banditry activities in the state, normalcy is gradually returning to some of the communities recently sacked by the bandits.
“No fewer than 50 communities have been resettled back in the villages.
“They were led back to their villages by the armed soldiers,” he said.
Bello, however, said that now that the rain has started, the people who are predominantly farmers would go back to their farms and start planting.
He said this had become necessary because all the affected communities in the three local government areas of Shiroro, Munya and Rafi are major agricultural communities.
The governor added that with the security cover by the military, farming will commence in earnest and the fear of food shortage next year is being allayed.
In another development, the governor said the security agencies had been put on red alert to deal with youth restiveness that has engulfed Minna in the past one week during which many innocent people were seriously wounded.
“The youth restiveness we have been witnessing in Minna, the state capital, in the past few days is very embarrassing.
“We discussed this development extensively at the just concluded security meeting and I have directed that anybody caught with cutlasses or any other dangerous weapons should be arrested immediately and dealt with accordingly,” he declared.
The security meeting was attended by the state Commissioner of Police, the Army, Civil Defence, DSS and other relevant stakeholders.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that some youths from different communities in Minna, had been on rampage for the past one week using dangerous weapons to unleash terror on residents.
It took the intervention of a combined team of security personnel mobilised from various formations to bring the situation under control. (NAN)