Gunmen suspected to be terrorists, on Tuesday, killed seven soldiers and a mobile policeman at Tati village in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, according to military sources.
This was as the terrorists bombed the 6 Brigade of the Nigerian Army Base in Jalingo, the state capital.
Several sources at the 93 Battalion of the Nigerian Army in Takum told one of our correspondents that the incident happened when soldiers were responding to an attack on Tati village near Mararaba.
One of the sources at the 93 Army Battalion said, “It’s unfortunate, we are all down with the development. As we speak, the whereabouts of the Commanding Officer who led the operation is not known.
“It was not an ambush so to speak. It was an operation that turned bad. The terrorists had attacked the village (Tati) and the soldiers were deployed to the village.
“However, the bandits outnumbered the soldiers in that forest and killed seven of them and a mobile policeman.
“There is another reinforcement headed by a Brigadier General that is coming and certainly a clear picture of what transpired will emerge after the operation. The bandits cannot go away with the attack on our men.”
Another source said the soldiers had neutralised a bandit hideout in the village, killing many of the bandits and recovering items.
The source added, “While some of the soldiers were coming for reinforcement, the bandits ambushed them, because they carried out anti-ambush drills and fought them out. We cannot ascertain the number of soldiers that were victims in the operation, but certainly the bandits suffered more.”
The killing of the soldiers and the bomb explosion came barely two weeks after an explosion killed nine in Iware, near Jalingo, and another explosion in the Nukkai area of Jalingo injured many.
It was gathered that the explosion at the Army base happened around 8.44pm when the terrorists allegedly threw the explosive device into the base through the perimeter fence.
No life was lost in the incident, but eyewitnesses said the explosion caused some cracks on the perimeter fence.
At the time of filing this report, there was no official communication from the Brigade Commander’s office, and the army had barricaded all roads leading to the base.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Wednesday observed one minute silence in honour of the civilians, policemen and the six soldiers who died in the attack.
The House urged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen Yusuf Yahaya, and the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to deploy more security men to effectively secure Takum LGA of the state and fish out the bandits.
While urging intelligence agencies to take steps to fish out the sponsors of the bandits so that they are made to face the law, the lawmakers also urged government at all levels to ensure that shortage of men in the Armed Forces is urgently addressed.
In addition, the House urged the National Emergency Management Agency to urgently provide assistance to members of the affected communities in Takum LGA.
These resolutions were based on a motion of urgent public importance jointly sponsored by two members of the House from Taraba, Rimamnde Shawulu and Danjuma Shiddi, titled, The unconscionable killings of civilians and soldiers in Takum, Taraba State: Need to increase the capacity of the Armed Forces and security agencies to forestall further loss of lives.
Shiddi said, “The House is concerned that these bandits are increasing their reach and destabilising more parts of the country. The House is also concerned that these bandits operate in very large numbers and in this case, less than 20 military men were confronted by over 300 well armed bandits.
“The House is disturbed by these persistent and consistent killings of both security personnel and civilians that may dampen the morale of our soldiers and encourage the bandits to cause more havoc.
“The House is further disturbed that Nigeria has one of the lowest ratios of soldiers-to-civilian population, and the men are overstretched, as operations are taking place in almost all states of the federation.”
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