By Kingsley Omonobi, Levinus Nwabughiogu & Femi Bolaji
No fewer than 40 persons were killed by bandits at Tati village, in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, on Tuesday.
Those killed in an ambush included six soldiers of the 93 Battalion, while the whereabouts of the commanding officer is yet unknown.
This came as fresh explosion, Tuesday night, rocked the headquarters of 6 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Jalingo, though no life was lost.
This is even as Boko Haram and its Islamic State of West Africa, ISAWP, counterpart also killed one of its top commanders, Abu Sadiq, also known as Burbur, for allegedly plotting to surrender to troops.
The ambush attack was said to have occurred at about 6.30am around Tati village, Tuesday morning.
Sources said following the ambush, the whereabouts of the Commanding Officer, Lt. Col. Okore, could not be ascertained, leading to suspicion that he may have been abducted.
According to the source, the six soldiers killed during the ambush include one staff sergeant, two sergeants, and three lance corporals.
They are Dauda Tata (7NA/44/4046), Yusuf Salihu (95NA/40/5031), Ndubuise Okonkwo (96NA/42/6911), Abdullahi Ibrahim, Emmanuel Jerry (14NA/72/14051) and Sani Isa.
Troops neutralise 2 terrorists in counter ambush
Meanwhile, following a counter blockade operations by troops at Ananum village, around Donga, troops neutralied two bandits/terrorists, while several others escaped into the bush with gunshot injuries.
The troops, who were part of reinforcements from Mararaba, in Nasarawa State, were said to have embarked on anti-ambush drills to overpower the bandits.
Among items recovered from the bandits were AK-47 rifle, A-47 magazines, locally made gun and several rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.
At press time, the authorities of the Nigerian Army in Taraba State and Army Headquarters were yet to comment on the development.
Reps urge Army chief, IGP to deploy more security men to Taraba
Confirming the killings on the floor of the House of Representatives, yesterday, a member from Taraba State, Usman Danjuma, said in a motion at yesterday’s plenary: “On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, bandits/terrorists attacked Tati village in Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State. The Tati village, a farming community, was razed down by bandits, who had arrived in the area the previous night.
“In response to several distress calls by the residents, security agency mobilised scantily to the area. The bandits ambushed the security agents, who were outnumbered and in the ensuing face off, six soldiers were killed.
This was after the bandits had earlier killed a policeman at a checkpoint and other civilians at Tati. The Commander of the 93 Battalion is missing in action.
“The massive movement of the bandits to the area had been reported by residents to government agencies and functionaries as well as security agencies some days back.
“Security agencies, especially the 93 BN of the Nigerian Army and some units of the Special Forces (Operations Wild Stroke) had engaged the bandits successfully, last week, and seized dangerous weapons from them.”
He expressed concern that the bandits were increasing their reach and destabilising more parts of the country.
Adopting the motion, the House called on NEMA to urgently provide assistance to members of the affected communities in Takum LGA of the state.
Briefing journalists at plenary, Danjuma said the bandits were operating from Plateau and Borno states.
“We are facing serious security challenge by bandits in southern Taraba. About three days ago, over 42 persons were killed and six communities were run down in Takum local government area. These bandits are said to be coming from Plateau and part of Borno states.
“The security agencies are overwhelmed because of the obsolete equipment they have. They cannot even move because as I speak, the Commanding Officer of the 97 battalion is nowhere to be found. He led the operation to Taki village where six soldiers were killed but the commanding officer, as I speak, we do not know his whereabouts.
“Our area is in dire need of security guards as you know it is an agrarian society and these bandits come in groups, you see them in large numbers. We are crying out for government to assist us by providing enough security in our area, though we understand that the ratio of civilians to the military is not enough.
“We need security, otherwise one day we will not be able to sit here, you cannot travel from here to Nasarawa, from here to Kogi, from here to Kaduna, from here to Plateau without being at alert, without being afraid that something will happen to you and at anytime they can come for you.”
The House of Representatives urged the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali, to deploy more security men to effectively secure Takum LGA in Taraba State and fish out bandits in the area.
Explosion rocks Taraba
Also on Tuesday night, fresh explosion rocked the headquarters of 6 Brigade, Nigerian Army in Jalingo, the Taraba State capital.
The incident took place in the backyard of the building but no casualty was recorded.
The Army has so far barricaded the roads leading to and from the axis of the 6 Brigade, Nigeria Army headquarters to forestall further attempts on their lives.
No statement has emanated from the Brigade commander as to what transpired.
Tuesday’s explosion adds to the increasing cases of bombings in the state.
Late last month, there were two bombing incidents in a space of four days in Taraba State. One of the explosions, which the terrorist group, ISWAP, took responsibility, killed at least six persons.
Boko Haram/ISWAP kill deputy commander
Meanwhile, for allegedly plotting to surrender to Nigerian government forces, Boko Haram and Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP, terrorists have reportedly eliminated one of its top commanders, Abu-Sadiq, popularly known as Burbur.
Sources said Burbur, who was aide-de-camp to former factional terrorists leader, Abubakar Shekau, was executed at Galta village, near Madagali, after he was charged and found guilty of treasonable felony by a purported court presided over by Ya-Shaik, an ISWAP Fiye (militant chief), of Sambisa forest.
A counter-intelligence expert with vast knowledge of activities of terrorists in the Lake Chad, Zagazola Makama, who confirmed the killing, noted that before he was eliminated, Bubur was Deputy Militant Chief (Nai’b) in charge of Timbuktu Triangle and Sambisa forest.
Sources further disclosed that Burbur was incarcerated in an ISWAP prison in April after he was caught red-handed trying to escape, adding that he was eventually eliminated on May 9.
The source recalled that his appointment as Deputy Militant Chief for Sambisa forest was made in May 2021 when he paid allegiance to ISWAP, because of his thorough knowledge of the terrain and his strategic former appointment as the Operation Commander and Aide-de-Camp to Abubakar Shekau.
Burbur was said to be in charge of coordinating attacks on military formations and towns, including Michika, Madagali, Askira Uba and other parts of Adamawa State.