The air was 55 degrees cold at midnight on January 12, as cold as the forested savanna of the northern plateau of Nigeria, but John Livi couldn’t think of the cold.
Despite the darkness, he could see 500 terrorist flashlights with assault rifles heading towards Ancha in his village.
As the bandits approached, volunteer guards fired muskets and shotguns at flashlights moving around a village of souls of about 400 people.
The response was “rain of fire,” Livi told the Epoch Times.
The guard’s goal is enough time for families with children and the elderly to find a way out of the village before terrorists go from house to house, shoot the rest, and burn the house or grocery shed. It was to stop the attack.
For a family of ten who decided to stay behind to comfort the lame, the elderly parents were all found shot dead hours later.
When police arrived after sunset, the bodies of two volunteer guards from a neighboring town were found on a path leading from Ancha. They were the men who joined Livi’s guard. That afternoon, two guards and 18 Ancha victims were customarily buried.
Armed volunteers are known as “vigilants” throughout Nigeria, and their loss in recent months has sparked speculation that bandit terrorists burning the entire village have deliberately taken them out.
Nearly 200 neighborhood guards have been killed in recent years while defending the community, according to the leader of a volunteer watch unit who spoke to the Epoch Times.
Many were forced to put slingshots and single-shots into action against terrorists while the army was waiting, as in Ancha that night.
In January, more than 50 vigilants were slaughtered in a bandit attack in three northern Nigerian states, Taraba, Niger and the Plateau.
According to media reports, large bandits in Zamfara are scattered in neighboring states east to escape the pounding of the Nigerian Air Force.
Legislators in the area have accused the military of failing to protect the community.
Military officials speaking to the Epoch Times denied the allegations.
According to TVC News, more than 60 self-defense officers rushed to the road on January 8 while removing the bandit headquarters in northeastern Taraba, adjacent to the Central Plateau, Benue and Nasarawa. At least 40 people in the bike group have died.
According to local tribal leader Mafindi Danburam, vigilants previously attacked several terrorist camps in the county while the army was waiting.
“this [vigilante] The only machine on the ground for combat [terrorists] In Taraba, “Dumbram told TVC News.
A local reporter who spoke to the Epoch Times in Jalingo, the state capital, said Nigerian troops had not attacked terrorist camps in the area.
“The military may be cautious about their operations, but they are unaware of their terrorist camp raids,” one reporter said on the phone.
Another strike against vigilantism was recorded in Shiroro County, central Niger, killing four people on a clear revenge mission on January 30.
Nigerian media reportedly reported that 100 terrorists armed with assault rifles attacked a vigilant base in a small town in Galadima Corgo at noon. Seven paid militias, four vigilants, and several locals were killed.
The attack on one of the few surviving towns in the terrorist-infested county was in retaliation for a previous attack by vigilants in a bandit camp, local youth leader Abubakar Yusuf Kokki said in a text message to the Epoch Times. Stated.
“I think vigilants have been the target since they first attacked,” Kokki wrote.
Following the attack on Ancha on January 12, two targeted attacks were launched against vigilants who claimed the lives of six members in the surrounding towns.
On January 24, bandits killed three vigilants in the village of Dong in Jos North County, said the leader of the state’s Solomon Achus Gwott.
Vigilants were attacked at a mine site two miles from a prominent military checkpoint, Gwott told The Epoch Times.
According to Mr. Hong, a member of the Nigerian legislative chamber, the attack also killed a civilian woman. Dachung Musabagos.
“3 persons [vigilantes] I was a member of the same family and my members, “said Bagos, on behalf of Joss.
Two days after the attack, ambush late at night in the town of Adu in Bassa County Killed three more vigilants..
Terrorist ambush on bumpy dirt roads on the outskirts of the town began when motorcycle-riding vigilants were on regular patrols, Samson James said on guards who barely escaped the attack. did.
Nearly 200 vigilants have been killed in recent years to protect the median community of Nigeria, according to the coordinator of the alert group in Ora Aziz, Plateau.
Azeez said 148 members have been killed since the beginning of 2020.
“These are what we have documented. Our members face daily attacks that are rarely reported,” he said on the phone.
Gwott, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the North Central, who is in charge of crime at the Hunter Council in Nigeria, said 15 members had been killed in clashes with terrorists since 2020.
“They are attacking vigilants because we are giving them headaches. We know the terrain, defeat their strategies, and even their heavy artillery in the bushes. You can counter it, “Gwott told The Epoch Times.
Do you need armed guards?
A military spokesman claims that he has full control over the security of the central region and does not need to be vigilant.
Major Ishak Takuwa of Operation Safe Haven said the Epoch Times vigilantism was not important in the fight against terrorists.
“How can a vigilant confront a bandit? A bandit operating in an RPG? [rocket propelled grenade launchers]??
“Yesterday too [Feb. 1] Armored tanks from the Kaduna raid, these are [terrorists] When we planted a land mine on our truck, it exploded. If it was vigilantism, how would they survive?Vigilantism with a Dane gun [single shot rifles],” He said.
Still, the vigilants have defenders for David Otto, a London-based military consultant.
“The target of terrorist vigilant networks is to break community defenses for easy hijacking,” Otto wrote in a text message to The Epoch Times.
“The purpose of the armed groups is to occupy the local territory and win the heart and mind. Vigilants are tasked with preventing such a situation. [forceful] “Occupation,” Otto wrote.
If forced to evict half of Nigeria’s central region, it could be lost to terrorists within a few years, said Bagos, the Epoch Times representative.
“If these attacks continue, [security troops] It has been forced to withdraw and is in serious danger. “
Chris Kwaja, an adviser to the US Peace Institute, said an attack on vigilantism could give up self-defense to the community and surrender to terrorists.
“Targeting and killing vigilants in the plateau, Zamfara, king crab, or Borno makes it difficult for individuals to voluntarily volunteer to protect themselves from terrorists,” Kwaja said.
The bandits themselves acknowledge the effectiveness of vigilantism.
In a recent letter to Nigerian officials reported by The Epoch Times, Bello Tuluji, a feared thief gang warlord in the northwest, saidOffer to disarm Only if the vigilant also surrenders the weapon.