From Agaju Madugba, Katsina
Troops of the Nigerian Army Operation Sahel Sanity killed a total of 220 bandits in various combat operations in the North-West between July 1 and December 31, 2020, according to the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig-Gen Bernard Onyeuko.
The general said that 335 suspected bandits, 326 illegal miners, 147 bandits’ informants and collaborators, 14 bandits’ arms suppliers, 24 rustled cattle marketers and 46 bandits’ logistics suppliers were also arrested during the period.
Gen Onyeuko, who briefed the press on Wednesday at the Operation Sahel Sanity Super Camp 4 headquarters at Faskari, Katsina State, said that the troops equally recovered 5,032 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 568 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition and 156 live cartridges from bandits.
According to him, ‘197 bandit’s camps and hideouts including the notorious Dangote Triangle and several bandits’ logistics bases were destroyed by troops of Operation Sahel Sanity.
‘Similarly, a total of 7,761 cows, 1,867 sheep/rams and 4 Camels were recovered and given back to the owners by troops within the period.
‘It is also heart-warming to note that a total of 642 kidnapped victims were rescued by the valiant troops and this includes the rescued 344 students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara.
‘Also within the period, the gallant troops successfully foiled 165 bandits’ attacks and 81 kidnap attempts.’
He noted that the army also embarked upon some civil-military cooperation projects with its host communities within the period including, distribution of palliatives to locals and renovations of medical facilities at Faskari and Kaura Namoda communities in Katsina and Zamfara states, respectively, among others.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, launched the Operation Sahel Sanity project on July 6, 2020, as part of activities marking the Nigerian Army Day celebration last year.
The Operation was designed among other objectives to flush out bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and other sundry criminals within the North-West region.
Earlier scheduled to end in December 2020, army authorities have since extended the operations of the troops to March 2021 till March 2021 ‘in order to consolidate on the gains so far achieved.’