Tackling Insecurity: Troops neutralize 268 Bandits & Terrorists; Arrests 113 Criminal Conspirators; Immobilize 41 Illegal Refineries.

continuation of sustained air and ground military offensive against recalcitrant criminal elements, terrorists and bandits across the country, troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces have neutralized a total of 128 armed bandits in the North West and North Central Zones of the country while a total of 140 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were eliminated in the North East in the last two weeks.

During several encounters with bandits and kidnappers, troops also succeeded in rescuing a total of 48 kidnapped victim’s while113 criminal elements were arrested including a notorious terrorist named, Haladu Saleh who has been on security forces wanted list since 2018.

Also, another 996 BHT elements and their families comprising 203 adult males, 302 adult females and 491 children surrendered to troops at different locations in Borno State during the period.

In the war against economic sabotage and destruction of economic assets, troops in the South-South Zone discovered and immobilized a total of 41 illegal oil refining sites, 33 ovens, 24 cooking pots/boilers, 8 cooling systems, 32 reservoirs, 43 large dugout pits and 93 storage tanks.

“Consequently, a total of 795,500 litres of illegally refined AGO; 60,000 litres of DPK and six million, three hundred and ninety-five thousand, four hundred and twenty litres (6,395,420ltrs) of stolen crude were recovered in the course of the operations”.

Giving details of the operations, Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig General Bernard Onyeuko said, “Troops’ of Operation Hadin Kai carried out extensive land and air operations across the theatre. Notably, on 12 November 2021, the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai decimated BHT/ISWAP terrorist elements in offensive air strikes in a location within Baga near the Lake Chad.

“Similarly, on 13 November 2021, own troops in a coordinated ground and air attacks, repelled terrorists’ attack on troops at Askira Uba in Borno State. During the counter-offensive operation, over 50 of the terrorists were neutralized and several of their combat equipment, including gun trucks and other weapons were destroyed.

“Also, their fighting vehicles as well as large caches of arms and ammunition were recovered during the encounter. However, some of our gallant officers and soldiers paid the supreme prize.

“In related developments, troops in Baga town arrested a notorious terrorist named, Mr. Haladu Saleh who has been on security forces wanted list since 2018. Similarly, along Bukarti – Yusufari road and Maima Hari Checkpoint along Biu – Damboa road, troops intercepted and impounded BHT logistics supplies.

“Following credible intelligence on terrorists’ activities in Karawar village, troops raided their enclave and recovered arms and ammunition as well as assorted drugs and arrested 2 drug peddlers named; Mr. Ezekiel Karson and Galadima Bako with large quantities of cannabis sativa. In the course of these operations, no fewer than 90 terrorists were neutralized and 21 of them arrested.

“Also, 98 assorted weapons, including AK-47 rifles and 2,589 rounds of ammunitions were recovered within the period. Additionally, 7 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while a total of 996 BHT elements and their families comprising 203 adult males, 302 adult females and 491 children surrendered to own troops at different locations in Borno State.

All recovered items have been handed appropriately and rescued persons reunited with their families, while arrested and surrendered terrorists have been profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for further action.

“In the North West, troops executed series of land and air operations in different locations within Operation Hadarin DajiI at Runka and Nasarawa villages in Safana LGA and Kaiga Mallammai village, all in Katsina State, where armed bandits’ and logistics suppliers, namely; Alhaji Lawal Auwalu, Ibrahim Tayo and Alhaji Dahiru Abubakar were arrested.

“Another location was Batsari town in Batsari LGA where troops repelled armed bandits’ attack on the location in which troops superior firepower forced the armed elements to flee in disarray with gunshot wounds. Several airstrikes were executed on bandits’ enclaves, which inflicted heavy casualties on the bandits.

These including; a location where a bandit kingpin, Bello Guda Turji, his subordinate commander, Bello Buza and other foot soldiers operating within Sokoto and part of Zamfa State, use as camp. The air strikes resulted in the neutralization of scores of armed bandits, including their key leaders and foot soldiers as well as destruction of their structures, equipment, weapons and logistic supplies.

“Cumulatively, a total of 12 criminal elements were arrested; 118 armed bandits were neutralized and 5 kidnapped civilians were rescued; while 26 assorted arms and 194 rounds of 7.62mm ammunitions were recovered within the period.

“Additionally, troops held peace and security meetings with community and youth leaders and other critical stakeholders, as non-kinetic approach to addressing the security challenges in the North West Zone of the Country.

In the North Central Zone, troops of Operation Safe Haven, extensively executed various land and air operations in different locations within its AOR including Bassa, Bokkos, Jos South, Mangu, Riyom, Barki Ladi, Shendam and Jos North LGAs of Plateau State. Other locations were at villages and towns in Jama’a, Kaura and Zangon Kataf LGAs in Kaduna State.

Onyeuko said that during the operations, “38 victims of armed bandits’ attacks and kidnap incidents were rescued and 45 criminal elements arrested, while 3 were neutralized within the period.

“In the course of these operations, troops amicably resolved farmers/herders clashes and averted bloody clash between 2 families over land disputes. Troops also rescued some kidnapped civilians and arrested criminal elements; including one Mr. John Paul who deals in weapons and owns a mini factory where arms and ammunition are fabricated.

“Additionally, troops neutralized some criminal elements and recovered several arms and ammunition within the period. Cumulatively, a total of 6 assorted arms, 13 rounds of 7.62mm as well as several sacks of cannabis sativa and 200 livestock among other items were recovered.

“Operation Whirl Stroke sustained its operational tempo in both its kinetic and non-kinetic operations in the North Central Zone leading to clearance and raid operations by troops in different locations within the theatre of operation.

“These include; Ahungwa and Vingir villages in Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State, Akaaer community under Chonku Council Ward of Wukari LGA of Taraba State; Ondori community in Doma LGA, Tse-Ikyor community and Tunga village in Nasarawa LGA of Nasarawa State.

“Cumulatively, a total of 10 AK-47 rifles and 45 rounds of ammunition were recovered within the period. Also a total of 7 armed bandits were arrested and 5 kidnapped civilians were rescued as well as 7 armed bandits killed in the course of the operations.

“Furthermore, troops held peace and security meetings with community/youth leaders and other critical stakeholders and security agencies at different locations to discuss ways to deal with the security issues affecting Benue and Nasarawa States.

Some of these meetings were held at; Nasarawa State Government House in Lafiya; Headquarters Operation Whirl Stroke and Palace of the Ter Ukum of Kyado town in Ukum LGA of Benue State.

“In Operation Delta Safe, troops while sustaining land, maritime and air operations to contain the illegal oil production as well as forestall activities of vandals and other economic saboteurs in the South – South Zone, discovered and deactivated illegal oil refining/bunkering sites, arrested some criminal elements as well as recovered arms and ammunition and several other items.

“These feats were recorded at villages, towns and creeks in; Egbema, Port Harcourt, Emuoha, Andoni, Onne, Obiakpo, Isiokpo, Akuku-Toru and Okrika LGAs of Rivers State.

“In Delta State, some feats were recorded at different locations in; Warri South, Warri South West, Ovwie, Warri North and Isoko North LGAs. Other locations include; Ohaji LGA of Imo, Bakassi LGA of Cross River State and Ukwa West LGA of Abia State.

“Cumulatively, troops discovered and immobilized a total of 41 illegal refining sites, 33 ovens, 24 cooking pots/boilers, 8 cooling systems, 32 reservoirs, 43 large dugout pits and 93 storage tanks.

“Consequently, a total of 795,500 litres of illegally refined AGO; 60,000 litres of DPK and six million, three hundred and ninety-five thousand, four hundred and twenty litres (6,395,420ltrs) of stolen crude were recovered in the course of the operations.

“In addition, 26 criminal elements associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period. Also, troops recovered a total of 27 assorted arms and 586 rounds of assorted ammunitions in the course of the operations.

On operations against secessionists, Onyeuko said, “IPOB/ESN elements activities in the South East drastically reduced in recent times. However, pockets of incidents were recorded in some locations at; Oru-West LGA of Imo State and Ebonyi LGA of Ebonyi State.

“Troops responded to distress calls and carried out raid operations on some IPOB enclaves within the period in focus. During some of these operations, troops arrested one of the IPOB secretaries, Mr. Obinna Nwite and recovered 4 pistols, 3 long barrel guns, 18 rounds of assorted ammunitions and minutes of meeting book, containing some names of IPOB members.

“The arrested IPOB/ESN militia and all recovered items have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further action.

“The Military High Command lauds the sacrifices of its troops and continues to salute their courage and resilience towards achieving sustainable peace in the Country. We also thank the general public for their continuous support and encourage all to avail security forces with credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements.”

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