The Oasis Reporters
September 16, 2021
By Mike Odeh James, Kaduna
When Fulani bandits overran a Nigerian military base in Zamfara, causing a serious setback in the campaign to curb violent crimes across the state, they probably were backslapping each other in what they assumed is their invincibility in the face of a rattled Nigerian army.
Little do they realize that touching a Tiger by the tail, goes beyond play, the type you tumble with a friendly puppy.
The bandits struck a Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Mutumji, Dansadau, about 80 kilometres south of the state capital Gusau, at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday.
After the attack, officials confirmed 12 fatalities, comprising nine Nigerian Air Force officers, two police officers and one Nigerian Army soldier. It was not immediately clear the level of fire that the soldiers returned to prevent the base from being overrun, but signs indicate that the bandits’ intelligence gathering abilities, may seem like having some insider information.
All slain personnel were evacuated to Yerima Bakura Specialist Hospital in Gusau and the three wounded have been receiving treatment at a brigade medical facility, officials said.
The attackers also seized weapons from the killed service members and set ablaze other equipment in the facility.
The number of security forces manning the base was not immediately clear. The base has served as a crucial point operation for logistics and reconnaissance efforts to rout out bandits operating between the eastern flank of Zamfara and western Katsina.
Two months ago, bandits shot down a Nigerian Air Force Jet, forcing the pilot to eject before the fighter jet went up in flames as it hit the forest.
Over the weekend, Governor Bello Matawale of Zamfara state and presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said the bandits were pleading for mercy after President Muhammadu Buhari ordered a large-scale military effort across the troubled North-West.
The efforts of the military and political authorities include the shutting down of telecoms signals across Zamfara, with regulators saying the demand came from the military who wanted to barricade the bandits in a forest before eliminating them.
This move is certain to disrupt bandits’ supply chain and their command structure. A social media post by Deji Adeyanju, a social media commentator thus, “Telecommunication services have been shut down in Katsina, Buhari’s home State due to insecurity. 10 LGAs are under the control of terrorists in the state. But he was in Imo State promising them security”, revealed the push. Katsina State shares a common boundary with Zamfara State and both States are in Nigeria’s hotbed zone of the worst terrorism seen in generations around the north west.
President Muhammadu Buhari, an army General, is likely to be getting fed up with the banditry acts of his Fulani kinsmen. Once he closes his eyes on them for an army onslaught to commence, they’d be food for the belly of the tiger whose tail they are daring to touch. There seems to be a tacit nod to this, since all entreaties and overtures to the bandits have yielded very little fruits.
Additional reporting: Greg Abolo