The Nigerian Army has said that 11 military personnel including an officer and eight bandits died in a gun battle at Kopa, Dagma and Gagaw villages of Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, said in a statement on Saturday that the dead military personnel comprised nine soldiers and two Airmen.
He said the soldiers were from 31 Artillery Brigade, Division and the Nigerian Air Force detachment on International Security Operation MESA.
Usman added that two other soldiers sustained serious injuries while one was missing.
According to Usman, the troops were on a cordon and search operation to recover suspected cache of weapons and arrest armed bandits when they came under attack from the hoodlums.
Usman added that the bandits also burnt down four operational vehicles, vandalised two others and went away with four AK-47 rifles, and a Fabrique Nationale rifle belonging to the deceased soldiers.
He explained that the troops killed eight of the attackers, arrested 57 and recovered large quantity of arms and ammunition from them.
The Acting Army Spokesman disclosed that the recovered items included three AK-47 rifles,10 Local AK-47 rifles, nine locally-made pistols, six revolver guns, which fires 7.62mm (special ammunition), 45 loaded dane guns, 10 clubs and cudgels, 41 arrows, 18 bow cases, 122 cutlasses and machetes as well as 20 daggers.
Usman said, ‘‘ The troops also recovered 31 axes, 63 rounds of 7.62 (special) ammunition, 10 Bajaj motorcycles, assorted charms and amulets, two vehicles, 38 mobile telephone handsets, a wristwatch, five identity cards, passport photographs, sum of N23,870. 00k, five Japanese Yen and 35 different denominations of old Nigerian currency, 15 catapults, eight torch lights, two gun powder bottles, four empty cases of ammunition and 41 cartridges.”
Usman further listed the recovered items to include a military waist belt and a pair of military combat boots.
He explained that the military undertook the operation in response to covert surveillance and intelligence report on the activities of the gun-runners in the area.
He said the military would ensure that those behind the dastardly act were apprehended and brought to justice.
“It is important to stress that the nefarious activities of the gun-runners and the armed bandits has direct bearing with the influx of weapons and general insecurity in some parts of the Federal Capital Territory and the North-West geo-political zone of the country.
“The same gun-runners have been confirmed to be the suppliers of arms to armed robbery gangs that were involved in series of armed robbery attacks along Minna-Bida Road and the general environment.
“Although the situation is under control, the military will not rest on its oars until all those involved are arrested and brought to justice. The military will continue to deal with any violent threat to our national security,” Usman stated.