Scores of bandits and 13 military personnel were killed following days of intense aerial and ground duel between the two sides around the troubled Dansadau District of Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State, Daily Trust gathered.
Eyewitnesses said dozens of civilians were also confirmed dead following airstrikes and fire exchange around the affected communities as troops, aided by vigilantes, battled hundreds of gunmen who stormed the area.
“We fully realise that today’s initiative will not go down well with people who may not be committed to the growth of our electoral system and the consolidation of our democracy. We expect them to fight back. There will be both covert and overt pressure, countervailing actions and even threats by these vested interests.
‘’I wish to reiterate that our loyalty is to Nigeria and our allegiance is to Nigerians. We are committed to working with the collaborating agencies to see that this initiative succeeds in the 2023 general election and beyond,” he said.
A resident identified as Mustapha told our correspondent that the armed bandits reinforced and returned to the community to carry out a reprisal attack two days later.
“More than five camps led by Damina, Ali Kachalla, Buzu and even Ado Aliero were mobilised. They came in a very large number and were planning to attack Maigoge, Malele and Ruwan Tofa communities. The villages are a few kilometres apart.
“The residents got wind of the attack and informed the military immediately. Two fighter jets arrived shortly afterwards. One of the jets hovered around Dansadau town for some minutes and then flew towards Maigoge community.
“Then, we saw several military vehicles move there. The jets fired several rockets on the armed men. Unfortunately, the armed criminals scrambled into Mutunji community to blend with residents when they sighted the fighter jets’’
“Huge collateral damage was recorded in the attack because dozens of residents were trapped and killed by NAF bombs. As I’m talking to you at least 63 people were buried and six of them were buried in Dansadau this morning,” Mustapha said.
“On the part of armed men, in Mutunji alone, more than 180 bodies were counted. But the residents are still counting losses’’
“Thirteen soldiers were killed and several others injured in the fight. Three military vehicles were also burnt. The injured soldiers have been evacuated to a medical facility,” he added.
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