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Army Camp Shut, Residents Flee As 4 Soldiers 2 Officers Are Killed In Niger Community

Following the recent killing of four soldiers and two officers by bandits, the Nigerian military has closed its camp and withdrawn troops in Allawa community in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.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.

According to the Daily Trust, the withdrawal of troops, which residents said came to them as a surprise due to renewed attacks in the community and its neighbouring 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 the publication that they woke up on Thursday seeing the soldiers removing their tents in preparation to leave the community.

One of the locals said that the withdrawal came two days after the military vehicle stepped on a landmine along the Allawa-Pandogari road and resulted in an unspecified number of casualties.

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

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, said 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. Maybe if you report it, the government will bring vehicles to evacuate us to safe places. Our belongings are there, we can’t pack them,” he said.

“Wallahi, 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. 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 the fleeing farmers possessed hundreds of goats and other domestic animals and other valuables, including foodstuffs that they were not able to evacuate due to a 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

Recall 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 firepower.

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

The Niger State Commissioner for Homeland Security, Brigadier General Bello Abdullahi Mohammed (Rtd), who confirmed the withdrawal of the troops to the Daily Trust said it was part of the arrangements by the military to re-strategise on best ways to tackle insecurity.

“The whole thing is about administrative arrangements by the military to re-strategise to return in full strength,” he said in a reply to the publication.


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