Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that troops on internal security operations across the country have killed 80 terrorists, bandits and other criminals disturbing the peace of the country. The soldiers also arrested four cultists, recovered several arms and ammunition and rescued three kidnapped persons during the operations conducted between January 7 and 14, DHQ announced on Wednesday.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major-General John Enenche, who gave the update at a media briefing in Abuja, said the soldiers who have continued to engage in aggressive operations and patrols, including rescue operations as well as clearance, ambushes and aerial patrols, have been recording tremendous successes in the counter-insurgency war, anti banditry operations and other security operations across the country.
Gen Enenche stated in his report:
‘Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI and other subsidiary operations have sustained their operations in the North-West Zone of the country progressively. The gallant troops within the period carried out several operations including rescue operations as well as clearance, ambushes and aerial patrols. These operations led to the neutralization of criminal elements and recovery of rustled livestock. You may recall that on 9 January 2021, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI successfully neutralised several armed bandits in Kuriya village of Kaura Namoda Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Following actionable intelligence, the gallant troops with close air support by the Air Component made contact with bandits at Kuriya village. Human Intelligence confirmed that no fewer than 50 armed bandits were killed in the encounter while 4 soldiers sustained injuries. Equally, troops recovered 334 livestock from the bandits. The gallant troops have not relented as they continue to dominate the North-West theatre of operation with aggressive fighting and aerial patrols to deny the criminal elements freedom of action.
In the North-East zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria working together with other security agencies have continued to sustain the onslaught against the insurgents. Notably, within the period in focus, the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE inflicted heavy casualties on some BHT at Alagarno Village in the Sambisa Forest area of Borno State. This was achieved during airstrikes executed on the location after the BHT was spotted in a compound concealed in the dense vegetation of the location. The location which served as a hideout and used by the terrorists to coordinate their nefarious activities were taken out as the Nigerian Air Force attack aircraft took turns in engaging the targets. During the airstrikes, several terrorists were also neutralized.
Meanwhile, on 7 January 2021, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE came in contact with some BHT elements while conducting clearance operation on their enclaves between Goniri and Gorgi in Gujba and Damaturu Local Government Areas of Yobe and Borno States. Accordingly, troops engaged the terrorists and neutralized several of them, while 10 gun trucks were recovered by the troops. In another development, on 9 January 2021, troops of the newly launched subsidiary Operation TURA TAKAI BANGO had contact and engaged some marauding BHT criminal elements at Gujba Local Government of Yobe State. During the encounter, 28 terrorists were neutralized and several others escaped with gunshot wounds, while one gun truck and several arms and ammunition were recovered. Similarly on same day, troops had an encounter with some BHT/ISWAP terrorists at Gonan Kaji Village along Damaturu-Buni Yadi Road in Yobe State, during which 30 terrorists were killed in contact while caches of arms and ammunition were recovered by troops. In the same vein, on 10 January 2021, troops had contact and engaged with some marauding BHT elements at Kafa village in Damboa Local Government Area of Yobe State. During the encounter, 6 terrorists were neutralized and a gun truck and several weapons, as well as equipment belonging to the terrorists, were destroyed.
In the North-Central zone, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have continued to intensify ongoing kinetic operations to decisively stamp out armed banditry and other criminalities. Notably, on 7 January 2021, following actionable and credible intelligence, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE successfully carried out a daring rescue operation at Mararaba Udege general area in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, rescuing 3 kidnapped persons and neutralizing one-armed bandit in a firefight. The kidnapped victims were subsequently reunited with their respective families.
Similarly, on 8 January 2021, troops of operation SAFE HAVEN apprehended 4 suspected cultists at UV Martins Street in Jos North LGA of Plateau State. The suspects, Messrs Alfred Song, George Musada, Armani Daniel and Kefas Rotgi were arrested on the heels of credible intelligence reports on their activities in the area. One locally made pistol and 4 cartridges were recovered from the suspects. Furthermore, on 11 January 2021, troops of operation SAFE HAVEN recovered 59 rustled cows from rustlers at Kuru Jenta close to Science School Kuru in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State. Following intensive pressure and aggressive posturing of troops on fighting patrol in the general area, the rustlers abandoned the cows and fled. The cattle have since been handed over to their respective owners while troops are on the trail of the fleeing rustlers.
Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have continued with the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the zone progressively. Notably on 9 January 21, gunboats of Forward Operating Base IBAKA while on routine patrol around Effiat waterways intercepted and arrested a large wooden boat laden with 1,184 of 25kg bags of Yaraliva Nitrabor Fertilizer suspected to be smuggled in from the Republic of Cameroon with 2 suspects. Suspects and items are currently in custody and will soon be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting authority. Equally, on 11 January 2021, Forward Operating Base IBAKA gunboats while on routine patrol around MBO River intercepted and arrested a medium size wooden boat laden with 17 drums of 300 litres of products suspected to be PMS with 2 suspects.
Furthermore, on 11 January 21, acting on credible intelligence, Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA in conjunction with Forward Operating Base ESCRAVOS conducted anti-Crude Oil Theft operation around the general area of Warri South Local Government Area. During the operations, the team discovered one large wooden boat laden with about 215,000 litres of product suspected to be stolen crude oil at along Jones Creek, Warri South-West Local Government Area. Accordingly, the boat and product were handled appropriately.
These arrests affirm Armed Forces of Nigeria’s commitment towards eradicating sundry crimes in the country. Equally, while fertilizers are majorly for agricultural purposes, the possibility of it being acquired by criminal gangs, terrorists and militants for sinister purposes cannot be disregarded as fertilizer has remained a potential component for the fabrication of explosives owing to its content of ammonium nitrate. Furthermore, arrested fertilizer poses a security threat considering current security challenges. The High Command reassures the general public of its untiring commitment towards securing the country. Members of the general public are enjoined to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the military and other security agencies for prompt and effective action.