In continuation of intensive counter insurgency and anti-banditry offensive by troops of the Nigerian Armed Forces both in the North East and the North West, troops have neutralized no fewer than 123 armed bandits and destroyed their camps in Zamfara state while the Army also eliminated 27 Boko Haram terrorists in Borno state.
During the operations in Borno, troops rescued 29 abducted civilians while another 1,000 BHTs and their families surrendered and large cache of arms and ammunition were recovered at Mongonu, Damboa and Baga among others.
This is just as troops and other security agencies neutralized one Commander and five members of the Eastern Security Network and IPOB during fire-fight in the South East while 13 other members of the secessionist group were arrested.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig Gen Bernard Onyeuko made this known in Abuja on Thursday at a media briefing on military operations across the country.
He said, “The Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji carried out intensive air strikes on bandits’ hideouts at the South of Dansadau Town; North of Kwiambana Forest Reserves as well as North of Sububu Forest and Dudufi village under Faru District in Maradun LGA, all in Zamfara State.
“The air strikes resulted in the destruction of bandits’ structures including the residence of one of their leaders, Halilu Tubali, in which the armed bandits converged for a meeting. The air strikes in conjunction with ground troops’ assaults resulted in the neutralization of no fewer than 123 armed bandits and destruction of their logistics facilities in the process”.
Also, troops responded to distress calls from locals, on cattle rustling and kidnapping incidents and armed bandits’ attacks on farmers, at Bagida village in Sokoto State; Shinkafi in Zamfara State and Maigora, Falale and Ungwan Dudu villages as well as Kankara – Katsina Road in Katsina State.
“In all incidents, troops repelled the criminals, rescued farmers and kidnapped victims as well as recovered arms, ammunition and some livestock, while some criminal elements were arrested. Cumulatively, a total of 89 livestock, 5 AK-47 rifles, 3 rounds of 9mm ball and 48 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition were recovered and 4 kidnap victims rescued.
“Two (2) notorious cattle rustlers named, Mallam Buda Umar from Niger Republic and Mai Hatsi Ibrahim from Gada LGA of Sokoto State as well as 4 armed bandits and drug peddlers were arrested.
“In the North East, theatre, the intensity of operations has yielded tremendous results as evidenced in the number of casualties and massive surrender of terrorists in Buni Yari, Gorgore, Baga and Monguno Towns as well as Maiduguri – Baga Road, Maiduguri – Damboa Road and Bula Yobe – Darel Jamel Road.
“Operations were also carried out at Kayamri and Mairari villages as well as Monguno and Kukawa Towns, all in Borno State. Cumulatively, the operations led to the neutralization of 27 BHT/ISWAP fighters, arrest of 51 BHT/ISWAP terrorists, 3 terrorists’ collaborators as well as recovery of 35 assorted arms and 1,051 round of ammunition including AK-47 and FN rifles, Dushka anti-aircraft guns, GPMG, PKT guns, 60mm mortar tubes, Makarov pistol and other machine guns, amongst other items.
“In addition, 29 abducted civilians were rescued within the period under review and no fewer than 1,000 terrorists and their families comprising adult females and children surrendered to own troops at different locations in the North East.
“Notable among them are the notorious BHT bomb expert named, Musa Adamu aka Mala Musa Abuja and his deputy, Usman Adamu aka Abu Darda. This has in no small measure depleted the BHT fighting force.
“Furthermore, the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji, carried out intensive air strikes on bandits’ hideouts at the South of Dansadau Town; North of Kwiambana Forest Reserves as well as North of Sububu Forest and Dudufi village under Faru District in Maradun LGA, all in Zamfara State.
“The air strikes resulted in the destruction of bandits’ structures including the residence of one of their leaders, Halilu Tubali, in which the armed bandits converged for a meeting.
“The air strikes in conjunction with ground troops’ assaults resulted in the neutralization of no fewer than 123 armed bandits and destruction of their logistics facilities in the process.
In South East operations, “One ESN commander was neutralized and another apprehended. Cumulatively, a total of 6 IPOB/ESN members were neutralized and 13 criminal elements arrested by own troops and other security forces operating in the Zone.
This was during an ambush operation by security forces against the 6 IPOB/ESN members, who were involved in the killing of a District Police Officer (DPO) at Omuma Town in Orlu East LGA of Imo State. 3 others were arrested.
Furthermore, security forces following intelligence report arrested one notorious IPOB/ESN member named Obumneke Gabriel at Umueli Amaraku Town in Isiala Mbano LGA of Imo State. The criminal was in possession of arms and ammunition during the arrest.
“Relatedly, troops raided IPOB/ESN members’ hideout at Amaechi Idodo community in Nkanu LGA of Enugu State and Nguzu Edda in Afikpo South LGA of Ebonyi State.
“Troops also recovered a total of 19 AK-47 rifles, 2 single barrel Dane guns, one G3 assault rifle and 3 locally-made pistols. Other items recovered were 30 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 3 daggers, and one locally-made double barrel pistol loaded with 10 rounds of cartridges were recovered in the course of the operations.
“Troops of Operation Safe Haven carried out rescue operations in different locations on the Plateau. During one of the operations, 2 Fulani herdsmen were rescued at Mararaban Tifa Town, 2 kidnapped victims at Ungwan Ayaba District in Nasarawa State and one along Tahoss – Sopp Road in Plateau State.
“Additionally, on its Civil-Military Cooperation efforts, Operation Safe Haven donated exercise books and other writing materials to students of Pilot Science Primary School at Bungha Mangu LGA of Plateau and Government Secondary School, Zango in Zango Kataf LGA of Kaduna State.
“In Barkin Ladi LGA, Plateau State it distributed 45 wheelchairs to physically challenged persons as part of non-kinetic approach towards achieving peace in the North Central Zone. Furthermore, troops held peace and security meetings with community heads, youth leaders and other critical stakeholders at the Emir Palace in Wase LGA and Jengre Town in Bassa LGA of Plateau State, to discuss the various security challenges in the general area.
“Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke carried out raid operations and responded to distress calls at Nwokporo Agbagedo Community in Ado LGA and on bandits’ hideouts at Zaki Biam in Ukum LGA of Benue State as well as Garin Dogo village in Lau LGA and Lau – Jalingo Road, Taraba State.
“The operations led to the destruction of bandits’ hideouts, arrest of 8 armed bandits including their informants and rescue of some kidnap victims. Items recovered in the course of the operations include, 6 AK-47 rifles, one SMG, 2 pistols, 66 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition among other items.
“Within the same period, troops also held peace and security meetings with community heads, youths’ leaders and other stakeholders at different locations including Udugbeho Community in Agatu LGA and Igumale Town in Otukpo LGA of Benue State, Dirigi Community in Dobere Council Ward, Lau LGA of Taraba State.
In the South-South and South West, Onyeuko said, “Troops of Operation Delta Safe conducted series of anti-illegal oil operations at Orutoru area in Bayelsa State; Olutoro and Adamakiri villages in Bonny LGA, Udeyeada Community in Andoni LGA of Rivers State; and Opuebubor Creek in Warri South LGA of Delta State.
“These led to the discovery and deactivation of several illegal refining sites with a total of 21 ovens, 12 dugout pits and 58 metal storage tanks laden with a total of 2.329 million litres of illegally refined AGO and 2.19 million litres of stolen crude oils as well as 2 boilers and 750 bags of illegally refined oil products.
“During the operations, own troops also recovered one speed boat, one AK-47 rifle, one FN rifle, 3 Smoke gun rifles, 12 fabricated RPGs, 263 live cartridges, 20 rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 7.62mm special ammunition among other items”.
“The Military High Command appreciates the enormous sacrifices of the troops in the various theatres of operations across the Country. It salutes their courage, service and commitment to the nation. We appreciate the general public and the Media for the support. You are further encouraged to continue to provide credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements in all the theatres of operation” he said.