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Army withdraws from Niger State communities following deadly ambush

Terrorist ambush leads to the tragic loss of six military personnel, prompting military withdrawal and civilian displacement in Niger State.

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In the wake of a harrowing ambush by terrorists claiming the lives of six military personnel, the Nigerian Army has taken the extraordinary step of dismantling its presence in communities within Niger State. The attack, which occurred last Friday in the Allawa community of the Shiroro Local Government Area, has sent shockwaves through the region, triggering a mass exodus of residents fleeing for safety.

The ambush, resulting in the deaths of two officers and four soldiers, underscores the precarious security situation faced by civilians and military personnel alike in Niger State. The withdrawal of troops, occurring just days after a military vehicle struck an improvised explosive device (IED) along the Allawa-Pandogari Road, has left residents feeling vulnerable and abandoned.

According to eyewitness accounts, the sight of soldiers dismantling their tents sent ripples of fear throughout the community, prompting urgent calls for intervention from the Niger State Government. Residents, including women, children, and the elderly, have been forced to evacuate their ancestral homes, embarking on arduous journeys to seek refuge in neighboring towns such as Erena, Gwada, Kuta, or Zumba.

The withdrawal comes amidst a series of devastating attacks by insurgents, with Tuesday’s incident marking yet another grim chapter in Niger State’s ongoing struggle against terrorism. The recent ambush follows closely on the heels of a previous attack where two officers, four soldiers, a vigilante, and a hunter lost their lives in a coordinated assault on Roro, Karaga, Rumace, and other farming communities.

Yahuza Allawa, one of the displaced residents, described the desperation gripping the fleeing population, highlighting the lack of transportation options and the looming threat of further violence. With the exit of military personnel, communities are left exposed and defenseless against the relentless onslaught of bandits and Boko Haram insurgents.

The withdrawal signals a dire escalation in the security crisis plaguing Niger State, where over the past year, at least 30 officers and men have perished in attacks orchestrated by armed groups. Last August, 20 soldiers were killed in an ambush along the Zungeru-Tegina Road, underscoring the persistent danger faced by security forces operating in the region.

Despite assurances from military officials that the withdrawal is part of a broader strategy to tackle insecurity, concerns persist over the absence of a tangible plan to safeguard vulnerable communities. Efforts to reach the Defence Operations spokesperson, Maj. Gen. Edward Buba, for comment have thus far been unsuccessful, leaving many questions unanswered regarding the government’s response to the escalating crisis.

As residents grapple with uncertainty and fear, the specter of violence continues to cast a dark shadow over Niger State, underscoring the urgent need for decisive action to protect civilian lives and restore peace to the embattled region.

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