The Nigerian Air Force will join the manhunt for the fleeing armed bandits who attacked some communities in Shiroro local government area of Niger state.
The governor of the state, Abubakar Sani Bello, disclosed this during an official visit to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Erena on Monday.
He said the Air Force would provide air surveillance and cover for other security operatives combing the area for the bandits.
According to him, men and officers of the Nigerian Army, Police, DSS and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have already been deployed to the area, adding that the Air Force would complement the operation.
Bello confirmed that 37 persons were killed in the attacks, with 27 others sustaining varying degrees of injuries.
“I saw a few with gunshot wounds, about 37 have been killed, 27 are still with gunshot wounds,” he explained.
The governor’s position runs contrary to the earlier government’s position which puts the death toll at 12.
Bello promised that security would be beefed up in all areas designated as red spots.
He said the attacks recorded higher casualties due to inability of security operatives to immediately access the area because of its marshy and rocky terrains.
“We would beef up security in the area; unfortunately, access to these areas is almost impossible because it is mostly marshy and rocky but we have been able to send security personnel there so that the local people can go back to their various homes,” he explained.
He said he understood the fear of the people who refused to return home but assured them of their safety once they are home.
The Acting Director General of Niger state Emergency Management Agency (NSEMA), Abdullahi Tanko Zumba, said the situation is currently under control.
He said the state government has expended over N20 million on relief materials along with drugs for the people in the IDP camps.