Gunmen Kill Three Soldiers in Revenge Attacks in NW Nigeria

Gunmen in northwest Nigeria’s Zamfara state have carried out a series of attacks this week on military targets, killing three soldiers, two security sources said Thursday.

The criminal gangs known as bandits who have been terrorizing communities in the region for years launched the assaults in revenge for an air strike on their leader’s home, the sources added.

In the first attack on Tuesday, gunmen loyal to bandit leader Bello Turji ambushed a military convoy in Zurmi district, killing three soldiers, two military officers told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“We lost an officer — a major — and two soldiers in the ambush along with some weapons and vehicles,” a first military officer said.

“The terrorists burnt a gun truck and two other vehicles, and took away one armoured vehicle and some weapons including anti-aircraft gun, RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) and one General Purpose Machine Gun,” the officer added.

In another attack on Wednesday, a large number of bandits on motorcycles raided a military base in Faro village in Maradun district, burning it down and seizing weapons, the two sources said.

“Fortunately no personnel (were) killed in the attack on the base but a policeman was injured,” the second military officer said.

Earlier on Wednesday, soldiers thwarted another ambush on a military convoy near Danjibga village in Tsafe district. No one was hurt, the sources said.

“It is obvious these renewed attacks are in response to the bombardment of Turji’s home recently,” said the first military officer.

Last month a Nigerian military jet bombed the home of Bello Turji, a bandit leader with a strong following in Fakai village, killing a dozen people including Turji’s brother, according to local residents.

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The military later confirmed the aerial attack on Turji’s home.

The 28-year-old herder-turned-criminal is known for his ruthlessness and pillaging across northwest Nigeria.

In an attempt to stop the violence, local authorities in Zamfara said last month that Turji had accepted a peace deal. But the air strike that followed disrupted the relative peace.

Turji, who was not at home during the raid, later told local media he was ready for both peace and war, a veiled indication of his resolve to resume violence.