The Defence Headquarters said on Thursday that following its anti-piracy, crude oil theft and other operations to checkmate criminality in the nation’s maritime domain, it intercepted 13 foreign nationals allegedly kidnapped by Pirates in a Speed Boat on August 19 2020 and rescued the foreigners.
The foreigners rescued by the Nigerian Navy Ship Soroh are 7 Russians and 6 Ukrainians and they were said to have been abducted along Lome Water, in Benin Republic.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche who made the disclosure during a briefing noted that the 13 kidnapped foreigners as well as 4 Nigerians on the speed boat were handed over to Defence Intelligence Agency on 24 August 2020 for further necessary action.
Gen Enenche also disclose that troops of Operation Delta Safe battling against economic saboteurs within the month of August, made arrest of large quantities of stolen crude oil and impounded other petroleum products.
In this regard, a total of one million, three hundred and nine (1,309,000) litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 1,824.04 barrels of stolen crude oil and Three Hundred and Two Thousand (302,000) litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered.
The recoveries were made in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers States. Additionally, a total of 344 bags of smuggled parboiled rice were impounded in the zone.
On the fight against insurgency and banditry, he said, “Comprehensive air strikes executed by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole on terrorists’ enclaves at various locations, especially with the launching of Operation Hail Storm, cumulatively, killed no fewer than 111 BHT/ISWAP elements, including 15 of their high ranking commanders which include the ISWAP naval commander Abu Imraana, Mallam Abba and Mallam Ibrahim.
Giving details of military operations against criminal elements across the country, the Coordinator said, “In the North West zone, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji continued to exhibit continued resilience in the fight against armed banditry, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes in the zone.
“In one of the feat recorded, troops of operation Sahel Sanity deployed at Daki Takwas on 20 August 2020, conducted a snap road block and intercepted a Toyota Corolla car with Registration Number DAL 41 MT. After a diligent search on the vehicle, troops discovered 11 locally made rifles and 150 live cartridges concealed in different parts of the vehicle.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that the dangerous cargo was heading to Kofar Dinya in Bukkuyum LGA of Zamfara State. A total of 5 men were arrested in connection to the illegal fire arms. Also, a repentant bandit leader named Bornon Kejo willingly surrendered to troops and submitted 2 AK-47 Rifles and 2 AK 47 Rifle magazines at Zurmi in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State. Efforts are ongoing to recover more weapons as well as encourage others to surrender and embrace peace.
“In another development, troops on 23 August 2020 conducted a well-coordinated intelligence based operation leading to the raid of an illegal mining site located along Gadan Zaima – Zuru Road in Bukuyyum LGA of Zamfara State which also serves as bandits’ hideout.
“During the operation, 150 suspects were arrested and arms and ammunition were recovered. Preliminary investigation reveals that aside from sabotaging the nation’s economy, banditry is being financed through these illegal mining activities.
“Similarly, the gallant troops on fighting patrol encountered 3 bandits on motorcycles around Maigalma village in Anka LGA of Zamfara State while attempting to attack innocent residents.
“During the encounter, one of the bandits was neutralized while others escaped. Troops recovered one AK-47 Rifle, one AK 47 Rifle magazine loaded with 5 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and two motorcycles from the fleeing bandits.
“This is in addition to the neutralization of not fewer than 20 armed bandits within the month of August in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto States.
“Relatedly, between 19 – 20 August 2020, 7 trucks loaded with cattle suspected to have been rustled were arrested along Jibia – Katsina road and Gusau – Zaria road respectively. Recovered cattle and suspects were handed over to Katsina State Police Command and Zamfara State Association of Rustled Animals for further necessary action.
“Within the period, a total of 155 bandits were arrested, no fewer than 25 armed bandits killed and over 1000 livestock were recovered in this zone of the country.
In the North East zone, “Troops of Land Component of Operation Lafiya Dole conducted offensives to several Boko Haram/ISWAP enclaves in Borno and Yobe States. These cumulatively led to the neutralization of 17 members of the BHT/ISWAP elements and several of them escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
“Moreso, with superior firepower, the gallant troops repelled terrorists’ attacks on own troops’ locations and thwarted BHT/ISWAP attempts to interrupt the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons to their communities in Borno State, which was flagged-off by the Executive Governor of the State.
“Troops recovered large cache of arms and ammunition as well as equipment during the operations and 4 abducted persons were also rescued. However, in one of the encounters, 3 of our own troops paid the supreme prize. In the meantime, other injured troops are recuperating at one of our medical facilities. Nonetheless, calm has been restored to the affected communities.
“Meanwhile, the comprehensive air strikes executed by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole on terrorists’ enclaves at various locations, especially with the launching of Operation Hail Storm, in the North East have yielded tangible results.
“The air strikes which were conducted with a package of Nigerian Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships, cumulatively, killed no fewer than 111 BHT/ISWAP elements, including 15 of their high ranking commanders which include the ISWAP naval commander Abu Imraana, Mallam Abba and Mallam Ibrahim.
“This is in addition to several others neutralized in the devastating air bombardments directed at structures used by terrorists as hideouts and administrative headquarters as well as training camps. Several BHT/ISWAP elements’ camps used as logistics bases and harbors for their fighters and leaders were destroyed as well.
“In the North-Central zone, “Headquarters of Operation Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke, as part of Reconciliation and Conciliation efforts, fostered several stakeholders meeting amongst the various ethnic groups co-habiting in the general area of operations within the period under review.
“Areas covered in this regard include communities in Zango-Kataf, Sanga and Jama’a Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, Barkin Ladi, Riyom and Bassa Local Government Areas of Plateau State, and Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
“Additionally, troops of Operation Safe Haven arrested a total of 17 armed robbery and drug smuggling suspects during raid operations at various locations within Plateau State including Unguwar Mata, New Market General Area, Makera, Damakasuwa and Rukkaya communities, amongst others.
“These successful operations were conducted following credible intelligence on the activities of the criminals within the general area. Similarly, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke neutralized a notorious bandit Mr. Atsor aka ‘Smallie’ during a dawn raid at a hideout being used by armed militia linked to wanted Benue militia leader Terwase Akwaza aka Gana around Abaji in Katsina Ala LGA of Benue State.
“During the operation conducted on 18 August 2020, troops recovered one AK 47 rifle and 17 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition during the operation. Furthermore, the Air Component of Operation Thunder Strike equally neutralized several armed bandits at their hideout in the Kuduru Forest area of Kaduna State.
In the South West zone, “Troops of Operation Awatse, in one of the operation conducted, impounded a wooden boat with 45 jerrycans of 25 litres, one 2.2 inches capacity hose of about 300 metres in length used in siphoning petroleum products at Ibeshe area.
“Troops also arrested a suspect in possession of some jerrycans of product suspected to be Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at Abule glass. Also, between 21 and 23 August 2020, Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft patrol team raided the criminal enclaves at Corner Loss, Ilado, Akaraba, Inagbe, Ikate Idi Mango, Abule Glass, Abule Alfa, Ilashe and the sea side of Ikare.
“In the course of the raid, a total of 30 jerry cans of 50litres containing PMS were recovered. Although no arrest was made as the vandals fled the area on sighting the troops.
In the South-South zone, “Troops of Operation Delta Safe, since the activation of subsidiary Operation Silent Heat made several arrests and deactivated various militant camps.
“Significantly, it was during the course of the operation that on 19 August 2020, Nigerian Navy Ship Soroh intercepted a speed boat with 13 foreigners made of 7 Russians and 6 Ukrainians alleged to have been kidnapped by pirates in Lome waters. The 13 kidnapped foreigners as well as 4 Nigerians on the speed boat have been handed over to Defence Intelligence Agency on 24 August 2020 for further necessary action.
“In the course of other subsidiary Operations Calm Waters II and Operation Swift Response on 16 August 2020, Nigerian Navy Ship Victory patrol team intercepted and arrested 7 men suspected to be smugglers at Agbana-West by the Nigerian-Cameroun maritime border.
“The suspects were arrested with a medium size wooden boat laden with 203 bags of foreign parboiled rice and 62 empty drums suspected to have been used to smuggle Petroleum, Oil and Lubricant products to Cameroun. Accordingly, the suspects, bags of smuggled parboiled rice and the medium-sized wooden boat were handed over to Operation Border Drill for further investigation and prosecution in line with extant regulation.
“Within the month of August, several arrests were made by troops of Operation Delta Safe; large quantities of stolen crude oil as well as other petroleum products were impounded. Cumulatively, a total of One Million Three Hundred and Nine (1,309,000) litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), 1,824.04 barrels of stolen crude oil and Three Hundred and Two Thousand (302,000) litres of stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were recovered in the month of August 2020 in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta and Rivers States.
“Additionally, a total of 344 bags of smuggled parboiled rice were impounded in the zone. From these successes, it is clear that, troops of Operation D elta Safe and other security agencies working together remain resolute and dedicated in their endeavor to end the fight against economic sabotage.
“The Military High Command commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their resoluteness, determination and loyalty. They are equally encouraged to remain unwavering and decisive in curtailing the activities of all criminal elements in the country.”
“Members of the general public are hereby reassured that the Nigerian Military will continue to tackle the security challenges to ensure that normalcy is attained in all the geo political zones of the Country.”
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