Bandits have ambushed and killed 20 vigilantes in Kotonkoro village of Mariga Local Government Area, Niger State.
A reliable source close to the community also said the bandits on Wednesday night attacked a military base, killed one soldier and injured another.
The attack is coming barely three weeks after Governor Abubakar Sani Bello visited the vigilante group and assured that government would equip them with high caliber weapons to enable them take the fight to the bandits.
Commandant of the vigilantes in the local government, Abu Hashimu, confirmed the killings.
“The slain vigilantes were returning from search operation when they were ambushed. 16 of them were killed on the spot while the bandits pursued four others who tried to escape and gunned them down also.”
He said the bodies of the deceased have been recovered and buried, adding that a joint security operation consisting of military and vigilantes has begun manhunt for the bandits.
It was further gathered that the combine security team has entered the Dutse Magajiya forest.
Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Matane, confirmed the killings of the 20.
Matane also said the military post in the area was attacked and “we lost one soldier.”
State government officials and popular Islamic scholar, Sheik Abubakar Gumi, last month met with some bandits’ commanders in Dutsen Magajiya where peace initiative took place before the eventual release of the abducted 42 passengers on board a state government-owned bus were released.