Sola Ojo, Kaduna
1 Division Nigerian Army on Wednesday said, it has killed 24 criminal elements during its operation Harbin Kunama III in Kano, Kaduna and Niger states within one month of operation.
Operation Harbin Kunama III, was launched on April 1 in Zamfara but was reorganised to capture some northwest states of Kano, Kaduna and Niger states on June 10 this year, to flush out criminal elements in division’s area of responsibility.
Briefing newsmen on the progress made so far, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) in charge of the division, Major General Faruq Yahaya said, the operation was designed to check, neutralise and destroy banditry activities in states that share borders with Zamfara, Katsina and Kebbi states.
According to the army boss, apart from neutralising 24 bandits and kidnappers and arresting 61 others, the operation also recovered N1.1 million cash, 56 assorted arms, 374 cows and 104 goats while 20 kidnapped victims were rescued.
“Our main focus is to take the fight to bandits and kidnappers in their hideouts, neutralise them and destroy their camps and these we have been doing with all sense of responsibility and we shall continue to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“During this exercise, we recorded some success. We neutralised 24 bandits, armed robbers, and kidnappers. We also arrested 61 others.
“Other successes include but not limited to 56 assorted arms, N1.1m cash, some fake US dollars, two vehicles, three motorcycles 374 cows, 104 goat.
“While our operations continue to record successes, we call on individuals to avail the troops with credible and timely information instead of only reporting when the bandits and other criminals have inflicted their victims with pain and and fled.
“On our part, we are stepping up intelligence gathering in conjunction with other security agencies and stakeholders and that is what has accounted for some of our recent gains and successes.”
To curtail the general expression of fear by locals especially farming communities he said: “The division is taking proactive measures which include the sustained tempo of Exercise Harbin Kunama III operations in the division to boost the confidence of local communities to enable them go about their farming and other means of livelihood.”