From Molly Kilete, Abuja
Troops of Nigerian Armed Forces operating in North West, North Central and North East theatres of operations have eliminated over 74 terrorists/bandits in both land and air operations in the last two weeks.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, made the disclosure at a bi-weekly news briefing of the Defence Headquarters yesterday, in Abuja.
In North Central, Onyeuko said the air component of Operation Whirl Punch carried out air strike on terrorists loyal to a notorious terrorist, Alhaji Shanono, at Ukambo village in Kaduna State.
He said the air strike was carried out during the terrorists meeting on August 8, based on credible intelligence.
He said the airstrike led to killing of Shanono with 18 other terrorists, adding that 30 AK47 rifles and 20 motorcycles were destroyed in the attack.
Onyeuko said that as a result of the operations, 45 kidnapped civilians were released. He further said that troops of Operation Whirl Stroke arrested some notorious criminals who had been on the wanted list of the theatre command. He said Nathaniel Azege, who had been terrorising Makurdi town was apprehended as well as Moses Aindigh (27) and Mr Iluyasu Mohammed (37) during the period.
In North West, Onyeuko said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji, on July 25, arrested five suspected foreign bandits named Muritala Wada, Saminu Sani, Shamisu Adamu, Salisu Saadu and Usman Ibrahim at Jibia, in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.
He said the air component of Operation Hadarin Daji had, on August 6, carried out successful strikes on key terrorists enclave and hideout located at Rudu forest in Katsina State. He said the air interdiction led to the neutralisation of a high profiled terrorist leader, who has been on the wanted list of the military named Alhaji Abdulkareem Lawal (a.k.a Abdulkareem Boss) and his foot soldiers.
Onyeuko further revealed that troops had, between July 31 and August 2, arrested one Malam Yahaya, a notorious bandit informant, who had been on the tracking list of the Department of State Security for collaborating with bandits on the numerous attacks in the Sabon Brini general area of Sokoto State.
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He said the troops also recovered 161 cattle, eight camels, large consignment of clothing from terrorists after an encounter in Zango, in Shinkafi Local Government Area.
In the North East, troops of Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK) neutralised no fewer than 29 Boko Haram/Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists, arrested 55 and rescued 52 kidnap victims in two weeks.
Onyeuko said that the troops had continued to dominate the North East theatre of operation across villages, mountains, towns and cities.
He said that a total of 1,755 Boko Haram terrorists and their families, comprising 280 adult males, 523 adult females and 952 children surrendered to troops during the period, adding that all surrendered terrorists and their families were profiled and handed over to the relevant authority.
Onyeuko said that the troops also ambushed terrorists on Uzoro-Gadamayo Road in Adamawa, killing one, while others fled and equipment recovered. He added that the troops, in conjunction with Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) on August 6, also arrested three terrorists’ logistics suppliers-Hussain Dungus, Ali Bulama Jidda and Malam Ali Abuna, in Buni Yadi, Yobe State.
“Similarly, the air component conducted air interdiction on August 3, at Degbawa, near Mandara Mountains in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno. The airstrike led to the neutralisation of a key ISWAP Commander, Alhaji Modu (aka Bem Bem), and his fighters.
“Information gathered from the locals, revealed that 20 terrorists were confirmed dead in the strike at the location where the terrorists converged for a meeting before the strike. Accordingly, within the weeks in focus, troops neutralised 29 terrorists, arrested 55 and rescued 52 civilians.
“Also, troops recovered 128 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, five bicycles, 12 AK47 rifles, four motorcycles and five mobile phones,” he said.