The Military said on Thursday that there is a possibility that some Boko Haram terrorists and criminals running away from the intense land and air offensive against their hideouts and camps in the North East are migrating to the North West and North Central parts of the country and moving into armed banditry and other criminality.
This is just as the Defence headquarters disclosed that 104 bandits and 92 Boko Haram terrorists were eliminated during several encounters with troops in the several military operations in the North East and North West in the last one week.
Also the Maritime Component successfully de-activated 17 Illegal Refinery Sites in the South-South part of the country particularly at Agor-Illa, Warri South West LGA while Operation Delta Safe through NNS Delta and NNS Pathfinder impounded 565,000 liters of suspected illegally refined AGO.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche who confirmed the possibility of cross country movement of the terrorists while answering a question, noted that the type of weaponry that is being found in the hands of bandits like the Anti-Aircraft Gun, the PKT Gun which is capable to shooting down an aircraft was an indication that some Boko Haram criminals may have relocated to the North West and North Central.
“In the past, the highest weapon found among bandits was the GPMG guns and AK 47 rifles because what they are known for are stealing of cows and rams. But now they are in possession of AA Guns and PKT guns which can be used to bring down an aircraft”.
Speaking on the withdrawal of Military from checkpoints across the country which is capable of opening the way for terrorists and bandits fleeing military offensives to freely relocate to other parts of the Country, the Coordinator said it was due to complaints of Nigerians particularly during the Covid 19 lockdown to the effect that the checkpoints were causing huge traffic problems.
He however pointed out that it is an action that will be constantly reviewed and since Nigerians who are the civilian masters are expressing concern over the action, it will be looked into and reconsidered
“But other than the checkpoints, the military still conducts snap checks on the roads to ensure criminal elements don’t have freedom of movement. It is not that the military is completely withdrawn.
Giving an update on military operations across the country, Enenche said, “
“The troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have continued to exhibit sustained resilience in the fight against terrorism in the North East Zone of the Country. This has been evident in their recent encounters with the BHT/ISWAP elements across the North East theatre of operation.
“During the period, troops’ encounters with the criminal elements resulted in the destruction of their structures and equipment, as well as the capture of arms and ammunition.
“Our gallant troops also rescued some hostages with some criminal elements surrendering to the troops.
“Within the period, the ground troops of Operation Lafiya Dole had no fewer than 17 encounters with the BHT/ISWAP criminals in the North East theatre of operation.
“These encounters resulted in the killing of 75 BHT/ISWAP fighters, capture of large arms and ammunition, as well as vehicles and equipment.
“Also recorded were the capture of some criminal elements and spies as well as recue of 35 BHT captives, while 4 of their fighters surrendered to our troops.
“Between 2 and 3 June 2020, the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole conducted comprehensive precision strikes, to mark the launching of its subsidiary Operation Long Reach II on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
“The massive air strikes resulted in the obliteration of BHT structures used as meeting venue at Mainyakare Village on the fringes of Sambisa Forest.
“In the process, several of their fighters were neutralized.
“More of these criminal elements were also killed and their logistics facilities destroyed in devastating air strikes executed at Mina along the Gulumba Gana-Kumshe Axis in the Northern part of Borno State.
“Furthermore, 17 BHT/ISWAP criminals were killed by troops of 25 Task Force Brigade on 7 July 2020.
“A total recorded number of 92 enemies of our country were deleted in the North East Zone within the period under review.
“Deducing from these results within the period, it is clear that, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria are resolute in their endeavor to end the BHT/ISWAP menace in the North East.
“In continuation of intensive clearance operation in the North-West Zone of the country, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji have continued to record tremendous successes against the bandits.
“Within the period under review, troops killed 58 armed bandits in Katsina and Zamfara States with others escaping with gunshot wounds.
“Equally, 3 repentant bandits embraced peace and surrendered to the troops with their arms and ammunition. In addition, 367 cows and 184 sheep rustled were recovered.
“As part of efforts to mitigate the current spate of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other activities of criminal elements in the North-West Zone, the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Burutai launched subsidiary Operation Sahel Sanity under Operation Hadarin Daji.
“Already, Operation Sahel Sanity has recorded significant successes with the neutralization of 46 armed bandits in Yargamji village in Batsari LGA of Katsina State on 7 July 2020.
“Relatedly, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji under Operation Accord, acting on credible intelligence raided and destroyed bandit’s enclave at Gidan Zamfarawa and Bawan Daji villages. Troops also recovered arms and ammunition.
“These successes recorded within the period are evident of the troop’s determination, resilience and commitment to end the security challenges bedeviling the North West Zone.
“Interestingly, a total of 104 bandits were deleted from this zone of the country for the period under review.
“In the North-Central Zone, troops of Operations Safe Haven conducted several ambushes, raids, clearance patrols and air operations at various locations within the zone which resulted in appreciable successes within the period under review.
“Notably, troops recovered 2 locally fabricated revolver rifles with 3 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and 5 cartridges from a repentant member of Irigwe militia group in Bassa LGA of Plateau state on 4 July 2020.
“Troops also rescued 4 herders from suspected militias in Dong village of Bassa LGA of Plateau state on 5 July 2020.
“Furthermore, within the period, troops equally arrested 3 notorious armed robbers during a raid at Jenta Maskeri, Jenta Adamu, and Jenta Mangoro areas in Jos North LGA of Plateau State.
“The robbers, Amos Bulu, Benjamin Timothy, and Geoffrey Samson were arrested with one fabricated pistol, one cartridge shell, one knife, 2 mobile phones, and one dummy pistol.
“On a non-kinetic note, and as part of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities under Operation Safe Haven, the theatre command has completed the drilling of boreholes in Nkindero and Fulani settlements in Bassa LGA of Plateau State.
“This general security situation applies to all the states within the North Central Zone of the country.
“Summarily, with ongoing intensive operations in the North Central Zone, peace is gradually returning to the troubled locations while the confidence of the local populace is being enhanced.
“Furthermore, farmers are gradually returning to their farms as a result of troops’ patrols in the hinterlands to deny armed herdsmen, rustlers and other criminals, freedom of action.
“In the South-South zone of the country, the Maritime Component of Operation Delta Safe specifically, Nigerian Navy Ship Delta and Pathfinder impounded 565,000 liters of suspected illegally refined AGO.
“These significant feats were recorded in Opumami community and Opuedebubor Creek in Warri South LGA of Delta State as well Mejikiri, Buguma in Asari Toru LGA of Rivers State.
“Similarly, troops of Sector 1 Operation Delta Safe in conjunction with Forward Operating Base Escravos have de-activated all illegal Refining Sites (IRS) identified within Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) pipeline general area.
“During the operations, a total of 17 IRS were deactivated at Agor-Illa Warri southwest LGA while 30,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 125.7 barrels of stolen crude oil were impounded.
“In another development, on 2 Jul 20, Forward Operating Base Escravos took custody of Tug Gulf Eagle with 10 crew from Nigerian Navy Ship Bomadi.
“The vessel was arrested by Nigerian Navy Ship Bomadi off Ramos River Entrance for operating without her Automatic Identification System. At the time of arrest, the vessel had 125,000 litres of AGO.
“The vessel was subsequently moved to NNS Delta for further investigation.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria in furtherance of the objective of restoring peace and ridding the country against economic saboteurs will intensify offensive against economic sabotage, particularly in the Southern Zones of the country.
“Overall, 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 commitment and professionalism.
“Troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in curtailing the activities of terrorists, armed bandits and other criminals across the country.
“The High Command of the Armed Forces, also reassures the general public of its commitment to securing the country for all human activities to strive.
“Members of the general public are, as always, enjoined to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the nearest military and other security agencies for prompt action.”
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