Military airstrikes aimed at neutralizing bandits had mistakenly killed 11 soldiers and seven villagers with two soldiers and over 70 villagers sustaining various degrees of injuries in Malele and Mutungi communities of Zamfara State.
According to an eye witness, Nuhu Dansadau, the bandits had on Saturday invaded Malele community of Dansadau Emirate in Maru Local Government Area, with the youths in the village putting up resistance.
The bandits later reinforced and attacked the village in large numbers leading to the villagers sending SOS messages to military operatives in Dansadau who responded swiftly and engaged the outlaws in a shootout.
The bandits reportedly ran to the nearby village of Mutungi and sought cover in a market from where they exchanged fire with military operatives. Eyewitnesses who spoke to DAILY POST claimed most of the bandits were killed or injured.
Dansadau, however, said the bandits’ collaborators had informed them that soldiers were coming after them, leading to the bandits setting up an ambush for the soldiers which led to a protracted gun duel.
According to him: “When the tension became too much, the commanding officer of the army in Dansadau axis requested for the support of the Nigeria Air Force. It was the air strikes that affected many villagers.”
About 67 villagers in the Mutungi community sustained various degrees of injuries with seven of the injured Dead-On-Arrival at the Ahmad Yarima Bakura Specialist Hospital in Gusau, the state capital.
“For 11 soldiers and seven civilians to die and scores injured by airstrikes is very unfortunate, perplexing and embarrassing to the Nigerian military,” he lamented.
He also noted that 26 villagers were also seriously injured in Mutungi community, with 20 others receiving treatment at Dansadau General hospital at the time of filing this report.
When newsmen visited the Ahmad Yarima Bakura Specialist Hospital in Gusau, some of the victims said it was a serious gun battle between the military and the bandits.
The victims claimed they were not injured by bandits or military operatives but rather sustained injuries during their struggle to escape.
Some of them spoke fearfully of a bandit kingpin popularly known as Damuna whom they claimed had kidnapped 225 persons in the nearby village of Randa, with 61 of the victims killed by guns while 50 others were slaughtered by knife and 10 subjected to serious tortures that killed them.