Hours After Soldiers Left Tensed Niger Community, Bandits ‘Aided by Informants’ Launch Reprisal Attack

A few hours after men of the Nigerian Army left Garun Gabas, a tensed community in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, bandits “aided by indigenous informants”, launched a reprisal attack a month after they were subdued by joint operatives in a gun duel that lasted for almost six hours on June 15.

Residents told WikkiTimes the bandits attempted to invade Garun Gabas last month, but heavily armed soldiers, including mobile police operatives and local vigilantes, repelled the attack with aerial support from a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) jet.

“In a gun duel that last for about six hours, joint operatives aided by Air Force jet, on June 15, killed scores of the terrorists and recovered some of the motorcycles and rustled cattle,” one of the residents said.

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This was the second time the terrorists would operate unchallenged in the community, according to the residents. On December 10, 2020, the terror group kidnapped a health worker identified as Halima, her child, and one Ilyasu Mukhtar, an All Progressives Congress (APC) youth leader in the community.

They would advance to Yakila where they kidnapped the district head, Abdulhameed Ibrahim.

Their family members subsequently paid N7 million ransom — One million for the youth leaders, and N3 million each for the district head and Halima including her child. Despite the ransom paid, the terrorists only released the woman and her child. Luckily, the youth leader narrowly escaped from the terrorists’ camp, leaving behind the district head who he said was severely tortured and could not walk at the time.

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Twenty-two months after waiting for his release, the district organised a funeral prayer for him on October 4, 2022.

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After the 2020 attack, the terrorists continued to pillage, kill and kidnap locals in neighbouring villages.


In a well-planned midnight invasion on July 23, the brazen terrorists invaded Garun Gabas town, but residents believe the attack would have been thwarted had the men of the Nigerian Army did not leave the town when they responded to the distress call.

The terrorists kidnapped two locals including a minor and set alight two vehicles including an operational van belonging to the mobile police operatives stationed in the community. They also went away with two operational motorcycles belonging to the police.

The razed operational vehicle

A resident who does not want his name revealed, for security reasons, told WikkiTimes the bandits were sighted earlier in the morning along the eastern part of Tegina-Zungeru axis.

“The adjoining communities were in distress when they heard that the terrorists were approaching,” the resident said. “So, soldiers mobilised from Kagara, the headquarters of Rafi LGA to Garun Gabas around 6:00 PM.”

WikkiTimes learnt that the soldiers always camp in Garun Gabas alongside the police officers, whenever they are responding to such incidents. But that fateful day, they left around 9:00 PM when they could not gather more information about the whereabouts of the bandits.

The other razed vehicle

“The soldiers left around 9:00 PM and the bandits came exactly 12:50 am,” the resident revealed. “They kidnapped one Aliyu Danjuma, the son of APC woman leader in the community and a nursing mother, Faiza Umar with her child.”

One out of the six mobile police officers, Ezekiel, stationed in the community sustained a gunshot wound on his leg. Also, a local vigilante, identified as Duba was shot on his lips.

“They were both rushed to the hospital after the terrorists left,” the resident added.


Residents said the military operatives returned an hour after the bandits had wreaked havoc. They insist the attack would not have happened had they stayed back.

A community leader claimed the commander of the military operatives took his men away from the community after waiting for hours to confront the bandits.

But Idris Atabo, the head of the mobile police force in the community told WikkiTimes that the soldiers left for a routine patrol along Tegina axis and never returned until 4:00 am.

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He explained further that a brother of the officer who sustained injury came to take him to Nasarawa State for proper medical attention.

Atabo shares the same thoughts with the residents. He believes informants in the community aided the bandits to successfully carry out the attack.


Atabo said they are yet to figure out the informants, he believes they live within the community.

“We don’t know them, but they are with us,” he said, adding someone or a group of informants hinted the terrorists that the soldiers had left.

He was corroborated by the residents. Ubale Mohammed, the Madaki [monarch] of Garun Gabas, prayed the informants be exposed soon.

“They were the ones who told the bandits the soldiers had left,” he said. “They know the six mobile police officers could not confront the bandits alone.”

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A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity lamented that the terrorists had not reached out since they took the kidnapped victims away. “None of the kidnapped locals had a mobile phone with them when they were taken away, so the terrorists might get the family members’ contacts through their informants,” he said.

He revealed further that the police officers were 20 when they were first deployed to the community after the 2020 attack.

“But they were transferred to another place and replaced with another six officers on January 13, 2022,” the resident told WikkiTimes.

Wasiu Abidodun, spokesman for Niger Police Command could not immediately explain why the 20 officers were replaced with just six in the volatile area. An enquiry sent to him had not been responded to as of press time.

Also, WikkiTimes contacted Sam Ayomide, spokesman for the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), a senior think-tank Nigerian Army barracks in Minna, Niger State, but the lieutenant could not immediately respond to an enquiry sent to him.


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