A Nigerian Army Major and three soldiers were killed by gunmen in an ambush attack at the Igu village, along Sarkin Pawa-Kaduna road in Munya Local Government Area, Niger State, on Wednesday evening.
Also killed by the gunmen during the encounter were four members of the local vigilantes who were in a joint patrol with the soldiers.
The killing of the soldiers came barely a few hours after they (soldiers) successfully neutralised scores of the gunmen during a gun battle, leaving one soldier and two members of the local vigilantes killed.
A source close to the community said the soldiers were said to have run into the ambush by the gunmen, at the Igu village, about 10 kilometres from Sarkin Pawa headquarters of Munya local government.
It was gathered that the soldiers were on their way back to the scene of the earlier gun battle to recover the bodies of some local vigilantes that were missing, unknowing to them that the gunmen were still in the bush trying to bury their dead and evacuate the injured.
It was further gathered that the gunmen who were over 70 in number, overpowered the few soldiers who were returning from a journey. Only one soldier managed to escape from the attack.
Our source further disclosed that a pilot of a fighter jet, who came to provide air support for the ground troops, was said to have told the late Major, whom he was communicating with on the ground, that he could not see the gunmen who were said to be moving in their large number with about 150 cattle and over 60 kidnapped victims, but that he could only see the soldiers.
Our source said it was at this point that the Major was said to have told him (pilot) to go back to avoid any casualty on their side, leaving the soldiers to face the over 70 gunmen. In January 2020, an army captain and four soldiers were killed in a similar ambush attack at the same Igu village, along Sarkin Pawa-Kaduna road, when they had to answer a distress call from the people.
Meanwhile, all attempts to get the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Humanitarian Affairs, was not successful as his mobile phone could not go through at the time of filing this report.