In what was described as a major assault on bandits that have been terrorising parts of Niger State for some time, the police at the weekend killed six of the bandits and injured many others.
The police operation took place at Garkogo in Shiroro Local Government Area of the state last Saturday.
In the faceoff, which eyewitnesses said lasted several hours, the injured bandits reportedly fled into the bush leaving behind their operational motorcycles.
The bandits were said to have shot and killed a villager before the policemen engaged them in the fierce gun battle at about 3:30am on Saturday.
According to eyewitnesses, the bandits had also stormed Kuchi town in the Munya Local Government Area during which they set many houses ablaze and burnt some religious places of worship including the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church in the town.
The report had it that the invaders on arriving at Kuchi town shot sporadically into the air to scare the villagers and some church members who were cleaning the churches ahead of the Sunday service.
It was learnt that they assembled all the church property including chairs, musical instruments, generating sets in the middle of the building, sprayed them with petrol before setting them on fire.
The bandits were said to have waited to ensure everything in the church was burnt before proceeding to carry out similar act in other parts of the town.
The Senior District Secretary of the CSMC, Isa Kwachie, confirmed the story on phone, adding that the case was also reported to the Divisional Police Station in the town.
The Police Public Relations Officer of the state Police Command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, could not be reached on his cell phone to confirm the attack by the bandits.