Throughout the week, terrorists locally known as bandits have been invading some communities in Niger unhindered and some local vigilantes making efforts to confront them were killed by mistargeted airstrikes fired by a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jet.
A discreet source told WikkiTimes that the airstrike killed not less than 30 vigilantes while targeting some terrorists at Galadima Kogo, a village being ransacked by the terror elements.
WikkiTimes learnt that the village was attacked twice this week. This is in addition to some communities in Shiroro and Munya local councils that have been suffering terror attacks since Monday.
The source told us that the terrorists being targeted were en route to Iburo village which is some kilometres away from Galadima Kogo where the airstrike killed the repellent vigilantes. The incident, the source said, happened on Tuesday around 11 am.
“The DSS hunters and the local vigilantes mobilized themselves on Tuesday morning after intelligence information that a large number of bandits were sighted from a village heading to Iburo a village before Galadima Kogo,” said the source.
He explained that the vigilantes had posted themselves in some strategic locations to repel the bandits’ attack. “But unfortunately, they were killed,” he wailed.
THREE AIRSTRIKES FIRED IN SUCCESSION
According to our source, the leader of DSS Hunters had gone to one of the strategic locations where his boys were stationed and was preparing them to launch an offensive against the bandits before the explosives dropped in three successions.
He explained that the terrorists were not able to kidnap any local as they were all scampering for safety.
“About 30 lost their lives. The vigilantes’ leader and DSS Hunters were largely affected by the airstrike,” the source reaffirmed, adding a political elite of Erena visited the Air force command in Minna to lodge complaint of the incident.
“A pilot contacted on phone admitted that he took out the operation, following a distress call that bandits were at Galadima Kogo and a geocoordinate was given to him before launching the airstrikes,” he added.
He said the pilot only saw some people moving with arms and decided to unleash the fireballs on them.
According to the source, the surviving securities officers left the village to camp in Zumba and Gwada town for a while. He decried that the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in the towns are occupied at the moment.
“The Leader (Sarki) of the DSS Hunters was injured too. But what we keep asking is why the wrong information and after the mistake, the aircraft didn’t continue serving the bandits as they headed straight to other villages including Kaffin Koro,” he noted.
He lamented that the incident was not the first of its kind around the axis, faulting the state government and airforce command to be silent on the incident.
Another source told WikkiTimes he has details of the incident that occurred in the affected communities.
“I was fully updated regarding the explosion because it was a helicopter that killed and injured the people of the community,” he said. “The helicopter killed and injured almost about 20 security personnel.”
Air Commodore Wapkareem Maigida, the newly appointed spokesman for Nigerian Air Force could not be reached for comment. Aslo an enquiry sent to the force had not been responded to at press time.
NOT THE FIRST TIME
In August last year, NAF jet killed eight villagers in Kurebe, Shiroro local council. The slain villagers include seven males and one unmarried female. A month before, the force also bombed six minor girls who were orphaned by the bandits.
But the Niger State Governmet and NAF also countered media reports about the miscalculated bombings. Ahmed Matane, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), described the news as fake. However, an investigation by Premium Times, unveiled how the government silenced the relatives of the slain minors.
Also, NAF spokesman at the time, Edward Gabkwet, denied the incident, saying the media should take what the state government said.
In November 2022, NAF jet mistaklnely bombed 25 cattle belonging to one Alhaji Mallam Iliya in Garun Gabas village of Kagara-Rafi local council, leaving him and his children in despair.