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The Nigerian military has given its account of a fatal ambush of its officials by bandits in Katsina, which resulted in the death of about 16 soldiers, with the military saying only three soldiers were killed.

The Defence Headquarters said in a statement on Sunday, that troops of Operation Sahel Sanity killed no fewer than 17 bandits in an offensive against the armed group in Jibia LGA of Katsina State.

The security agency also said it recovered five AK 47 rifles, three dane guns, two AK 47 rifle magazines, 152 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and seven motorcycles in the raid, the acting spokesperson of the security outfit, Bernard Onyeuko, said in the statement.

The military said it suffered the casualty of an officer and two soldiers, while four other soldiers were wounded in action.

These claims are, however, at odds with the narration of senior military officials to this newspaper. According to our reliable sources, at least 16 soldiers, three of whom were officers, were killed, and 28 others were injured in the Jibia ambush on Saturday.

PREMIUM TIMES also saw gory pictures of the scene and the fallen soldiers.

Our sources also disputed the number of bandits the military said were killed in the attack.

Our sources said the Special Army Super Camp 4 suffered the casualties while they were advancing on foot and were ambushed by the armed militants from a hilltop in Jibia at about 6:13 p.m. Saturday.

Other onslaughts

Mr Onyeuko, a brigadier general, said other onslaught conducted by the Nigerian troops include one along Faskari – Sheme – Dandume road in Katsina State, which yielded the arrest of five suspected bandits, including a female.

“One of the suspects, Bashir Usman, who claimed to be a policeman could not validate his claim with any form of identification,” Mr Onyeuko said, “was apprehended with one AK 47 Rifle loaded with 28 rounds of ammunition while riding on a motorcycle.”

Aside this, he added that a handset and the sum of N6,350 were recovered from the criminals.

READ ALSO: Airstrikes kill 200 bandits in Katsina, Zamfara – DHQ

The military spokesperson further said that the troops, on Friday, “rescued a 16-year-old Miss Hadiza Sani,” who was kidnapped by bandits who invaded Kuka Uku village in Batsari LGA of Katsina State.

“Similarly, on 17 July 2020, troops deployed at Forward Operations Base, Bagega rescued another kidnapped victim, a 10 year old girl, following an alarm by her mother that two bandits on motorcycle kidnapped the victim while they were fetching firewood around Bagega – Tudurki Forest,” the statement read.

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