Soldiers had a hard time in Zuru, Kebbi State controlling wives of soldiers who stormed the official residence of the Commanding Officer, 223 Tank Battalion Commanding Officer to protest the killing of the husbands of some of them by suspected bandits in Kanya Village of Danko/Wassagu Local Government Area in Kebbi State.
The dead soldiers, estimated to be between 13 and 18, had accompanied their Commanding Officer who went with the Kebbi State Governor, a retired army Colonel, Colonel Samaila Yombe, when they allegedly ran into an ambush and, in an ensuing gunfire, were killed alongside some policemen guarding the state Deputy chief executive.
Some of the protesting women clad in mourning clothes set up a bonfire in front of the commanding officer’s office, while others who breached the perimeter fence were chanting songs.
Soldiers had a hard time getting out those who went into their commander’s home.
Yombe told journalists in Birnin Kebbi Tuesday evening, “Yesterday in Kanya, a very serious battle took place. What happened was that the bandits mixed up with the people of Kanya in such a way that it was difficult for you to say let us fight these people because the collateral damage would have been great.
“So, I advised the (Army) Commanding Officer (who was part of the convoy) that we should pull out of the town so that the bandits could follow. We did that but in the process, as you know in a battle situation, there is bound to be casualties. The bandits were vulnerable; we were also vulnerable and both sides recorded casualties. They had more casualties than we did….
“You know they (bandits) don’t leave their dead behind, if they must leave they set them ablaze. I saw one or two of the bandits sprinkling fuel on the dead bodies of their colleagues and set them on fire. Security agents even picked one or two of them but they came and recovered their corpses….
“The bandits could be 150 to 200 but the unit (of soldiers) was of 30 to 32 officers. They did their best and they were only escorting their Commanding Officer who was with me. I commend their professionalism because I saw what I saw. Little as they were, they did a good job of confronting bandits as three times the soldiers. They (bandits) were all equipped with AKPs and heavier weapons than AK-47s. If not because of the terrain, the number of our casualties would not have reached that….
“The governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, promised to secure lives and properties of the people. A lot has happened. We have been able to supply necessary logistics to security agents to be able to carry out their job. In the process, I had to go and see. You know what we call military battlefield tour to see how they are executing the mission and what are the logistics problems so that I could brief His Excellency for us to meet up with the demands.
“I had done so in Diri, Sakaba local government area where, unfortunately, Yan Sakai were killed by the bandits.”