The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, on Monday, launched the Exercise Sahel Sanity and inducted 10 new locally made combat vehicles into operation to tackle banditry in the North West.
The official launch of the new exercise in Katsina state which is a hotbed of armed bandits attacks in the North West of the country, climaxed the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2020, taking place at Army Super Camp 4 in Faskari.
Buratai said the exercise was scheduled to run for two months, from July 6 to Sept. 6 2020.
Declaring that ‘Ops Sanity’ is Nigerian army’s response to the escalating security challenges bedevilling parts of the North West and of course the North Central geo-political zones, the COAS said the exercise is expected to metamorphose into real-time operation emphasizing that it is designed to flush out armed bandits, terrorist groups and criminal elements in forests in the states.
His words, “As you are aware, the worrisome spate of armed banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes, have continued unabated particularly in Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna and Niger States in the past two months.
“This continued intransigence of bandits and terrorist elements has led to wanton destruction of lives and property with significant destruction in socio-economic activities which is predominantly the occupation of the people of the region.
“It is against this backdrop that Ex-Sahel Sanity is being launched to mitigate the current spate of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other activities of criminal elements in these states”.
Gen Buratai explained that the exercise would be conducted in conjunction with sister security services, including the police, Department of State Services and state authorities to decisively get rid of banditry activities and restore peace in the regions.
He said a good number of equipment, platforms and necessary logistic supports had been made available for the exercise, adding that troops would demonstrate empathy towards law abiding citizens.
“Be rest assured that as the Chief of Army Staff, I will continue to give you my full support and try to ensure total victory over criminal elements and terrorists”, he said.
While urging the people to render their full support for troops of the Nigerian army and other security agencies in the area of providing useful information on the activities of the bandits, Buratai said, ” This will enable the security forces provide the needed security and an enabling environment for socio-economic activities to thrive”.
“Additionally, Nigerian Army will also continue to support the non-kinetic efforts of the civil authority to combat criminal elements and reassure the nation of our commitment and determination to secure the country and protect lives and property of law abiding citizens.
Continuing Buratai stated that the locally manufactured Mines Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles being inducted into operations were the initiative of the 107 Equipment Support Unit of the army in Maiduguri.
He said that the vehicles emanated from the theatre of Operation Lafiya Dole and commended the efforts of the commanders for looking inward in their operational requirements.
He assured that the Nigerian army is going to be self reliant internally through its efforts, adding that order’s had been placed for 20 more of the vehicles.
In his remarks, the Commander, 107 Division Equipment Support Unit, Maiduguri, Brig.-Gen. Babatunde Alaya, said the MRAPs were conceptualized and designed to support the existing platforms.
Alaya said the vehicles were produced using local content, adding that the products had been tested and were battle ready.
He commended the COAS for giving the command the needed support and resources to embark on the project and come up with the vehicles within a short period of time.
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