A joint patrol team of security operatives were on Monday involved in a fierce but fatal gun battle with bandits suspected to be herdsmen operating in Niger State.
The exchange of heavy gunfire occured around Galkogo Forest, in Shiroro Local Government Area.
PRNigeria reports that about 20 officers and men of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) lost their lives in the encounter.
However, the criminals suffered even more casualties.
A source said on Wednesday night that the corpses of the fallen heroes had been evacuated.
He added that the bodies were conveyed to the Minna General Hospital between Monday and Tuesday.
When contacted Colonel Sagir Musa, Director of Army Public Relations, did not confirm or refute the incident.
He directed our correspondent to the Brigade Commander in Niger State, Brigadier General Gideon Temitope.
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Efforts to reach the General and the Niger State Police Command proved abortive as at the time of filing this report.
In January, President Muhammadu Buhari expressed serious concern over banditry in the some states.
He then directed airstrikes on outlawsoperating in the forest bordering Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara.
Ten days later, the bandits, in what looked like an action to spite the Nigerian leader, shot down a Police helicopter.
In February, the Niger House of Assembly urged the Governor Sani Bello to declare a state of emergency.
This followed bandits’ attacks in areas including Shiroro, Munya, Rafi, Paikoro, Borgu, Magama, Mariga, Kontagora among others.