The Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello, says two soldiers were killed and 12 others injured in a recent attack by suspected bandits in Kagara, the council headquarters of Rafi Local Government Area of the state.
The governor’s spokesperson, Mary Noel-Berje, in a statement said the bandits also suffered heavy casualties but did not give details.
The governor said the gunmen ransacked the palace of the emir of the town, in a mission to abduct the monarch who was reportedly absent during the attack.
The governor spoke on the attack when he visited soldiers receiving treatment at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) Specialist Hospital, Minna.
Mr Bello disclosed that some of the injured soldiers were taken to Kaduna for medical attention.
The governor said the bandits are in alliance with terrorists, considering their increasing numbers and the way they plan and carry out their attacks.
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He said the situation calls for a review, adding that aside the kinetic efforts being made, a support system will be evolved for those deprived of their livelihood through banditry and cattle rustling.
The governor enjoined citizens to be security conscious and report suspicious activities around them.
The statement also raised concern that some rural communities were reportedly harbouring bandits.
“Very soon we will tag those communities as same elements as bandits. If you are harbouring any bandits and you know, you are one even if you don’t carry gun because you are risking the lives of our security agents.
“We have lost quite a few of them (security personnel) since it started and we don’t intend to lose more. What we are calling for is a safe environment and for everyone to support the ongoing operation by the security agents,” the governor said.
The governor also visited others, including a victim of gas explosion from Kagara at the surgical ward of the hospital who has been on admission for over two months.
Meanwhile, the governor expressed dismay over the poor state of the hospital, which he said gulped huge amounts of cash to renovate a few years back.
He said the issue will be investigated as he believes something was fundamentally wrong and someone was not doing his job.
“I am extremely angry because I remember when we came, we spent a lot of money to renovate the entire hospital and in less than four years, for this hospital to be like this, then something is fundamentally wrong. So, I am not happy and I am angry, very angry,” he said.
The governor also ordered repair of the dialysis machines in the hospital and directed the Commissioner for Finance to release funds immediately to that effect, the statement said.