FIVE persons were feared dead, two injured and four vehicles destroyed, yesterday, following the invasion of Kpaidma village in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger State by a joint military team of the Army and Air Force men, said to be searching for arms and ammunition in the village.
The operation was said to have taken place around 1a.m. Vanguard gathered that the invasion was sequel to a tip-off that weapons were being stockpiled in the village.
It was gathered that immediately the team commenced operation, the villagers woke up and responded in self-defence, thinking herdsmen had invaded.
When contacted, the state Police Command spokesman, Bala Elkana, confirmed the military operation, but said the Command was not aware of any death, saying “we actually received a distress call around 1a.m. that armed herdsmen had invaded a village.
“The command immediately sent mobile policemen and other combatants to the village, only to discover that it was a military operation. But I am not aware of any death.”
Elkana, however, confirmed that two persons were injured and were recuperating, while four vehicles belonging to the Army were destroyed.
He said immediately the military started the operation, the villagers who had always been on the alert since the frequent invasions of the village by armed herdsmen, immediately mobilised and embarked on counter-attacks, not knowing that it was a military operation.
He said that the situation had now been brought under control with armed policemen keeping vigil in the area to allay the fear of the residents of the village and its suburbs.
The Assistant Director Army Public Relations, Major Njideka Agwu, said there was information that “arms and ammunition were being stockpiled in the village and we went for a search immediately for verification and clarification.
“Unfortunately, the villagers opened fire on us and we do not know the number of causalities for now. But fielders and troops are still at the location and investigations are still going on.”