‘Bandits’ kill 10 soldiers in attack on Nigerian military installation | Armed groups news

Over the past decade, groups of armed bandits have abducted and killed hundreds of people in northwestern Nigeria.

At least 10 soldiers were killed and an unconfirmed number of others injured after an attack by armed groups known locally as bandits on a military installation in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, northwest of Nigeria.

Lagos-based Channels Television reported that the gunmen engaged soldiers at the base in a duel on Monday night, citing security sources. The popular Guardian daily said the invaders “came on motorbikes with heavy weaponry, including rocket-propelled grenades” and the fight lasted two hours.

Neither the Nigerian government nor the military have confirmed the incident, which comes less than a week after a deadly attack on a passenger train in the same Kaduna state left dozens dead. At least 168 people are still missing in the attack.

In the previous days, bandits had also attacked an airport in the state.

Over the past decade, groups of armed bandits have abducted, tortured and killed hundreds of people in northwestern and central Nigeria, demanding ransoms and looting citizens, rich and poor. As a result, millions of people have been displaced.

Armed groups have also targeted state installations and soldiers in recent weeks.

Residents of the northwest say the “bandits” act as if they are above the law. In some villages, they have even become the law, regularly taxing the inhabitants.

The bandits operated from forest bases, including Birnin Gwari, in the same area as the military base.

In January, the government outlawed them as “terrorists”, as part of measures to contain growing insecurity in the north.

Across Nigeria there is debate over their origins and whether they are working in tandem with Boko Haram, which has been waging war against the authorities since 2009, across the northeast.

Confidence MacHarry, a security analyst at Lagos-based geopolitical consultancy SBM Intelligence, said the latest attack was “consistent with the jihadist terror ideology of destroying established state institutions represented by the military”.

“An attack on a military installation cannot be brushed aside like the actions of simple bandits,” MacHarry said. “The goal is to conquer territory. As such, the government needs to recalibrate its counter-terrorism strategy in the northwest to reflect this. It must also review the security of its military installations in the region with a view to strengthening it against future attacks.

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