Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Nigerian army said its troops on counter-insurgency war and anti-banditry operations in the northeast and northwest parts of the country have made tremendous successes with the arrest, killing of several terrorists/bandits and other criminals and the recovery of various arms and ammunition from them.
Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, who made this known said armed bandits, kidnappers and other criminal groups are now finding it difficult to operate across the country as soldiers have stepped up their anti-banditry operations across the north central and north west regions of the country.
Giving a breakdown of the successes of army operations across the country, Iliyasu, said scores of terrorists were killed, some captured, some surrendered while abducted persons in custody of the terrorists were rescued by the gallant soldiers.
Iliyasu in a statement containing the achievements of the army operations said “It could be recalled that on 11 March 2020, the gallant troops of Strong Response Area Gubio successfully repelled a Boko Haram criminals’ attack. During the encounter, troops dealt a decisive blow on the marauding criminals, neutralized 2 of them and captured one AK 47 Rifle. Subsequent exploitation by the troops along the withdrawal route of the insurgents in the early hours of 12 March 2020 led to the discovery of additional 5 Boko Haram criminals’ shattered bodies resulting from the encounter, one burnt Boko Haram terrorists Gun Truck, one PKT Machine Gun, 2 AK 47 Rifles, 3 AK 47 Rifle magazines and 67 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition. Furthermore, on the same 5 March 2020, 2 Boko Haram terrorists, Musa Mohammed (21 years) and Maina Liman (35 years) surrendered to troops of 202 Battalion deployed at Tashan Goto in Bama LGA of Borno State.
“The surrendered terrorists confessed that they worked for the Nakib (a Boko Haram Captain) at Bula Umar Village. The troops recovered 2 AK 47 Rifles, 2 AK 47 Rifle Magazines and 8 rounds of 7.62mm Special Ammunition from the surrendered terrorists. The surrendered criminals further revealed that a number of their erstwhile members were killed by troops in recent times while others are left wandering in the forest and willing to surrender to troops of the Nigerian Army as they are tired of life without meaning. They also regretted their involvement in the act of insurgency while calling on their former collaborators to also take the bold step to renounce and submit themselves to the authorities of the Nigerian Army. In a related development, on 8 March 2020, another Boko Haram Terrorist, Bulama Modu Zantaliye surrendered to troops of 151 Battalion deployed at Strong Response Area Banki Junction. Preliminary investigation reveals that the surrendered terrorist belongs to the Shekau faction. He also calls on his former colleagues to tow the path of sanity and surrender themselves to troops of the Nigerian Army as their safety and security are guaranteed.
“In the North Central region, on 9 March 2020, troops responded to an information from some locals confirming the presence of some bandits in the general area of Abinsi and Angbaye Islands in Guma LGA of Benue State. The troops subsequently mobilized and conducted a robust clearance operation along the axis. Troops discovered and destroyed 2 makeshift camps where the armed bandits used to hibernate on the Islands. The raid forced the armed bandits to flee the gen area. Nevertheless, troops pursued the bandits until contact was broken along the River line separating Benue and Nassarawa States. In the aftermath of the encounter, troops recovered one AK 47 magazine with 22 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition.
“In the Northwest region, on 8 March 2020, troops of 8 Division on Operation MESA acting on credible information on the activities of armed herdsmen in Tara Village of Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State, fiercely mobilized to the area, made contact with the armed herdsmen and arrested 2 suspects, namely; Sule Sale and Umar Alhaji, while others fled abandoning 110 cattle. Also, same troops conducted a successful cordon and search operation at Banji Village of Bodinga LGA of Sokoto State, neutralized one notorious kidnap kingpin named Juliet. Additionally, in the early hours of 9 March 2020, Nigerian Army troops deployed in Kebe, Sokoto State while on clearance operation came in contact with some bandits at Jigawa Village. Following the encounter, 6 bandits were neutralized while 3 Dane guns and 4 motorcycles were captured by the troops. In the same vein 2 other motorcycles were destroyed due to troops’ high volume of fire on the criminals. Regrettably, one gallant soldier was wounded in action during the encounter. The wounded in action soldier has been evacuated to a military medical facility and is in stable condition.
“Relatedly, on 9 March 2020, troops of 1 Division Garrison, while on clearance operation to Maguzawa general area of Igabi LGA of Kaduna State, made contact with some bandits. Resulting from the brief encounter, one bandit was neutralized while others were believed to have fled with gunshot wounds as indicated by the trails of blood along their withdrawal route.
“Earlier on, in the early hours of 6 March 2020, troops of 8 Division deployed at Zurmi LGA of Sokoto State sprung a successful ambush against bandits at Gidan Jaja Village in the same LGA. In the aftermath of the encounter, one bandit was neutralised while troops captured one Rocket Propelled Gun Tube, one Rocket Propelled Gun bomb, one AK 47 Rifle, one AK 47 Rifle magazine loaded with 11 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition and one motorcycle.
“Furthermore, on 10 March 2020, following the receipt of an information about armed bandits attack on locals at Kawaye Villave in Anka LGA of Zamfara State, troops of 8 Division deployed at Forward Operating Base Bagega swiftly mobilized to the scene and engaged the bandits forcing them to flee. As a result, troops rescued 4 kidnapped victims and recovered one cutlass alongside one motorcycle belonging to the bandits. Similarly, on same 10 March 2020, troops of 1 Division Garrison vigorously pursued some suspected kidnappers and rescued from them 2 kidnapped victims, Miss Rukaya Bello and her brother Abubakar Bello. The duo were kidnapped from Mahuta Village in Makarfi LGA of Kaduna State. In another development, on 10 March 2020, troops of 223 Battalion while on a brief deployment at Forward Operations Base, Marafa in Gwandu LGA of Kebbi State neutralised one bandit while several others were believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds during a meeting engagement in the area.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to reassure the general public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute our constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better, safe and secure Nigeria. He also thanks all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army.”