From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Bandits said to be numbering over 200, yesterday afternoon took over the runway of the Kaduna International Airport, killing a security personnel of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
It was gathered that the bandits forced the authorities to temporarily shutdown activities at the airport while the military battled the gunmen.
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It was also gathered that the bandits had prevented a Lagos-bound flight of Azman from taking off around 12:30p.m.
A source that pleaded anonymity said: “The bandits attack started around 12:00a.m today (Saturday). They started attacking the airport around the midnight. The bandits were alleging that the military personnel took away their cattle.
“The military were able to repel them that midnight and we thought that was all. In fact, our staff resumed work this morning as usual. They worked around the runway from 5:00a.m till around 12:00pm.
“Then, shortly after that, some NAMA staff went to check some of their equipment, then these people (bandits) appeared and started shooting. The NAMA engineers scampered for safety, they could not even go and enter the vehicle that should take them to the site. It was in the process that their security man was shot in the head.
“The security man was rushed to the hospital and he was confirmed dead.
“As I am talking to you now, the military are still battling those guys, and they are proving difficult to be repelled. Now, they had shutdown the airport”.
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It was, however, gathered that many of the staff have already fled the airport, while more military personnel have been deployed to the scene on clearance operation with an Armoured Personnel Carrier.
However, as at the time of filing this report, the Kaduna State Police Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Muhammad Jalige, as well as the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, did not pick phone calls put across to them respectively by our correspondent.
However, the Kaduna State government through the Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan confirmed attack on Kaduna Airport by bandits.
Aruwan in a statement said: “Security forces have reported that an attack by armed bandits was repelled in the vicinity of the Kaduna International Airport.
“Troops stationed within and around the airport responded and repelled the attackers.
“However, the bandits unfortunately shot and killed a staff member stationed at the perimeter fence who raised alarm on sighting them.
“Airport operations resumed with scheduled flights departing after the incident.”