No fewer than 20 soldiers of the Nigerian Armed forces were killed in an ambush by bandits along the Zungeru-Tegina Road in Niger State, in the north central part of the West African country late Sunday night, according to local reports.
Seven other soldiers and five vigilantes sustained varying degrees of gunshot injuries and were taken to the IBB Specialist Hospital, Minna, the state capital, according to Daily Trust.
The armed bandits attacked the soldiers who were on their way to some communities recently attacked by gunmen in Wushishi Local Government Area.
The armed men earlier invaded several villages in the area, forcing dozens of farmers to seek safety in Wushishi and Zungeru.
A military official who spoke with the newspaper indicated that those killed were 18 army personnel and two officers of the Nigerian Air Force.
Meanwhile the senator representing Niger East Senatorial District, Mohammed Sani Musa, urged the federal government to immediately dispatch military and security men to the embattled area to save innocent lives and their property.
Musa said: “This is a very serious situation happening at a time we are happy that the issue of banditry is subsiding in our various communities in Niger State.
“The federal government should as a matter of urgency, deploy all its arsenal in order to curtail further spread.
“We have been having a reduction in cases of attacks, but now, it appears as if there is a serious escalation of the situation.
“The most alarming situation now is that the attacks look like planned work because the bandits are carrying out their operations simultaneously in many parts of Niger State.
“Government should please, as a matter of urgency, take a drastic action on it and save the lives and property of our people.”