Security operatives have uncovered in Niger State, a large expanse of land stretching over 40 kilometers, like Sambisa forest in Borno State, from where Bandits have been operating.
The massive land, said to belong to the Nigerian Army, is not being fully utilised or occupied by the military and now harbours camps of armed bandits terrorizing Niger State.
The bandits were discovered to have established their camps at Matan Kari, Fagai, Ozowo, Bihima and Kan Libo, among other mountains inside the army land.
The intelligence source said: “The camps are mountainous areas, within the massive hectare, where the criminals first gather their abducted victims, before moving them to Kaduna, Zamfara and the other Northern States, via forests’ paths.
“They are also being used by bandits operating within the axis to congregate herds of rustled cattle, before ferrying them beyond the State’s borders.
“The ‘flat and levelled surfaces’ on top of the mountains is where a yet-to-be-identified private helicopter often allegedly sighted by local people.
“The huge army land, which starts from the military Barrack in Kontagora town, extends over to the Mai Guge community, in Mariga local government. It is almost 40km in length.”
Another seasoned intelligence officer working for a security agency in Kontagora, who declined to give his name, said: “the unfenced and porous’ army land is the reason why over 500 bandits have been having a field day invading communities, and wreaking havoc, across parts of Niger East.
“The aircraft from Nigerian Airforce (NAF) should therefore be despatched to bomb the areas because innocent citizens don’t longer live within the vicinity of forest that has been left fallow over the years by the military.
“As you may be aware the bandits’ camps also served as escape routes for the criminals when other security personnel are mobilized for counter and rescue operations. As I am talking with you right now the bandits and the rustled cows are in identified locations.”
A top military officer Abuja confirmed that the Nigerian Army and the Airforce are working assiduously on new strategies to tackle the menace of banditry in Niger state.
“The Nigerian military is making efforts to conduct operations that will hunt every criminal in that forest,” the officer who pleaded anonymity said.