From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said on Thursday that there has been a drastic reduction in attacks and activities of members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) on innocent citizens in the South East and its environs in the last two weeks.
It said even though there were still pockets of incidents being recorded in some locations, the general security situations in the region has improved with the arrest of some key members of the group and the recovery of assorted ammunitions and minutes of meeting book, containing some names of IPOB members all of which have since been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further action.
This is just as the DHQ, said soldiers on counter-insurgency operations and other internal security operations across the country killed 268 terrorists and bandits and arrested 176, other criminals comprising terrorists, bandits and their informants, weapons and drug suppliers among other criminal groups.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, made this known at a media briefing on military operations conducted between November 11-25.
He said that within the period under review, a total of 996 Boko Haram terrorists and their families comprising 203 males, 302 females and 491 children surrendered to soldiers at different locations in Borno State, while 12 kidnapped persons were rescued and reunited with their families.
Gen. Onyeuko said that the military working in conjunction with the various security agencies have increased its operations and destroyed several terrorist strongholds including their arsenals and recovered several arms, ammunitions and weapons used in carrying out illegal bunkering and other criminal activities in the nation’s waterways.
He said the military would continue to remain steadfast in the fight against all forms of criminalities across the Country and appeal to the public to the general public to continue to support the military with credible and timely information that will facilitate its engagements.
Giving an update of military operations conducted within the period, Gen Onyeuko, said “Our troops have continued to execute various kinetic and non-kinetic operations in conjunction with other security agencies across the Nation. Although a few setbacks were experienced in the course of these operations within the last 2 weeks, however, troops remained undaunted and determined in their quest to attain sustainable peace in the Country through kinetic and non-kinetic operations, which yielded attendant results in the past 2 weeks. Thus, today’s brief will cover a summary of our operational activities from 11 to 25 November 2021.
OPERATION HADIN KAI
Troops of Operation HADIN KAI within the period under review carried out extensive land and air operations across the theatre. Notably, on 12 November 2021, the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI decimated BHT/ISWAP terrorist elements in offensive air strikes in a location within Baga near Lake Chad. This was achieved on the heels of credible intelligence and after careful aerial surveillance revealed the gathering of some key members and fighters of the terrorists who arrived at the location aboard several boats. Consequently, the theatre commander dispatched a force package of NAF’s platforms to strike the location in successive turns, which led to the neutralization of scores of their key members and fighters of the insurgents. Similarly, on 13 November 2021, own troops in the coordinated ground and air attacks repelled terrorists’ attack on troops at Askira Uba in Borno State. During the counter-offensive operation, over 50 of the terrorists were neutralized and several of their combat equipment, including gun trucks and other weapons, were destroyed. Also, their fighting vehicles as well as large caches of arms and ammunition were recovered during the encounter. However, some of our gallant officers and soldiers paid the supreme prize.
In related developments, troops in Baga town arrested a notorious terrorist named, Mr Haladu Saleh who has been on security forces wanted list since 2018. Similarly, along Bukarti – Yusufari road and Maima Hari Checkpoint along Biu – Damboa road, troops intercepted and impounded BHT logistics supplies. Following credible intelligence on terrorists’ activities in Karawar village, troops raided their enclave and recovered arms and ammunition as well as assorted drugs and arrested 2 drug peddlers named; Mr Ezekiel Karson and Galadima Bako with large quantities of cannabis sativa. In the course of these operations, no fewer than 90 terrorists were neutralized and 21 of them arrested. Also, 98 assorted weapons, including AK-47 rifles and 2,589 rounds of ammunitions were recovered within the period. Additionally, 7 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while a total of 996 BHT elements and their families comprising 203 adult males, 302 adult females and 491 children surrendered to own troops at different locations in Borno State. All recovered items have been handed appropriately and rescued persons reunited with their families, while arrested and surrendered terrorists have been profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for further action.
OPERATION HADARIN DAJI
Within the period in focus, troops executed series of land and air operations in different locations within Operation HADARIN DAJI area of responsibility. These operations were executed at; Runka and Nasarawa villages in Safana LGA and Kaiga Mallammai village, all in Katsina State, where armed bandits’ and logistics suppliers, namely; Alhaji Lawal Auwalu, Ibrahim Tayo and Alhaji Dahiru Abubakar were arrested. Another location was Batsari town in Batsari LGA where troops repelled armed bandits’ attack on the location in which troops superior firepower forced the armed elements to flee in disarray with gunshot wounds. Within the period in focus, several airstrikes were executed on bandits’ enclaves, which inflicted heavy casualties on the bandits. These including; a location where a bandit kingpin, Bello Guda Turji, his subordinate commander, Bello Buza and other foot soldiers operating within Sokoto and part of Zamfa State, use as camp. The air strikes resulted in the neutralization of scores of armed bandits, including their key leaders and foot soldiers as well as destruction of their structures, equipment, weapons and logistic supplies.
Cumulatively, a total of 12 criminal elements were arrested; 118 armed bandits were neutralized and 5 kidnapped civilians were rescued; while 26 assorted arms and 194 rounds of 7.62mm ammunitions were recovered within the period. Additionally, troops held peace and security meetings with community and youth leaders and other critical stakeholders, as non-kinetic approach to addressing the security challenges in the North West Zone of the Country. One of such meetings was held at the Force Headquarters of Operation HADARIN DAJI. Troops have continued to heighten aerial patrols across the theatre to deny bandits and other criminal elements freedom of action in the zone.
OPERATION SAFE HAVEN
In Operation SAFE HAVEN, troops extensively executed various land and air operations in different locations across its area of responsibility. Some of these operations were conducted at villages and towns under Bassa, Bokkos, Jos South, Mangu, Riyom, Barki Ladi, Shendam and Jos North LGAs of Plateau State. Other locations were at villages and towns in Jama’a, Kaura and Zangon Kataf LGAs in Kaduna State. In the course of these operations, troops amicably resolved farmers/herders clashes and averted bloody clash between 2 families over land disputes. Troops also rescued some kidnapped civilians and arrested criminal elements; including one Mr John Paul who deals in weapons and owns a mini factory where arms and ammunition are fabricated. Additionally, troops neutralized some criminal elements and recovered several arms and ammunition within the period. Cumulatively, a total of 6 assorted arms, 13 rounds of 7.62mm as well as several sacks of cannabis sativa and 200 livestock among other items were recovered. Also, 38 victims of armed bandits’ attacks and kidnap incidents were rescued and 45 criminal elements arrested, while 3 were neutralized within the period.
OPERATION WHIRL STROKE
Operation WHIRL STROKE has continued to maintain the operational tempo in both its kinetic and non-kinetic operations in the North Central Zone which yielded significant results. Within the period under review clearance and raid, operations were carried out by troops in different locations within the theatre of operation. These include; Ahungwa and Vingir villages in Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State, Akaaer community under Chonku Council Ward of Wukari LGA of Taraba State; Ondori community in Doma LGA, Tse-Ikyor community and Tunga village in Nasarawa LGA of Nasarawa State. Cumulatively, a total of 10 AK-47 rifles and 45 rounds of ammunition were recovered within the period. Also a total of 7 armed bandits were arrested and 5 kidnapped civilians were rescued as well as 7 armed bandits killed in the course of the operations.
Furthermore, troops held peace and security meetings with community/youth leaders and other critical stakeholders and security agencies at different locations to discuss ways to deal with the security issues affecting Benue and Nasarawa States. Some of these meetings were held at; Nasarawa State Government House in Lafiya; Headquarters Operation WHIRL STROKE and Palace of His Royal Highness, the Ter Ukum of Kyado town in Ukum LGA of Benue State.
OPERATION DELTA SAFE
In Operation DELTA SAFE, troops sustained the land, maritime and air operations to contain the illegal oil production as well as forestall activities of vandals and other economic saboteurs in the South-South Zone. In the course of these operations, troops discovered and deactivated illegal oil refining/bunkering sites, arrested some criminal elements as well as recovered arms and ammunition and several other items. These feats were recorded at villages, towns and creeks in; Egbema, Port Harcourt, Emuoha, Andoni, Onne, Obiakpo, Isiokpo, Akuku-Toru and Okrika LGAs of Rivers State. In Delta State, some feats were recorded at different locations in; Warri South, Warri South West, Ovwie, Warri North and Isoko North LGAs. Other locations include; Ohaji LGA of Imo, Bakassi LGA of Cross River State and Ukwa West LGA of Abia State.
Cumulatively, troops discovered and immobilized a total of 41 illegal refining sites, 33 ovens, 24 cooking pots/boilers, 8 cooling systems, 32 reservoirs, 43 large dugout pits and 93 storage tanks. Consequently, a total of 795,500 litres of illegally refined AGO; 60,000 litres of DPK and six million, three hundred and ninety-five thousand, four hundred and twenty litres (6,395,420ltrs) of stolen crude were recovered in the course of the operations. In addition, 26 criminal elements associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period. Also, troops recovered a total of 27 assorted arms and 586 rounds of assorted ammunition in the course of the operations.
The IPOB/ESN elements activities in the South East drastically reduced in recent times. However, pockets of incidents were recorded in some locations at; Oru-West LGA of Imo State and Ebonyi LGA of Ebonyi State. Troops responded to distress calls and carried out raid operations on some IPOB enclaves within the period in focus. During some of these operations, troops arrested one of the IPOB secretaries, Mr Obinna Nwite and recovered 4 pistols, 3 long barrel guns, 18 rounds of assorted ammunitions and minutes of meeting book, containing some names of IPOB members. The arrested IPOB/ESN militia and all recovered items have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further action.
Gentlemen of the Press, the efforts of Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies, both kinetic and non-kinetic have continued to yield attendant results. We will continue to remain steadfast in the fight against all forms of criminalities across the Country. The Military High Command lauds the sacrifices of its troops and continues to salute their courage and resilience towards achieving sustainable peace in the Country. We also thank the general public for their continuous support and encourage all to avail security forces with credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements. Special appreciation also goes to the entire press community; we acknowledge the critical role you play in our operations and urge you to endeavour to always clarify knotty issues before making your submissions.