By Chimezie Godfrey
The Defence Headquarters Abuja says over 13,243 terrorists surrendered as troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies sustained onslaught against criminals in troubled zones of the country.
The Director, Defence Media Operations Brig-Gen Benard Onyeuko revealed this while briefing journalists on the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s operational activities on Thursday in Abuja.
He said troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have continued to sustain the operational tempo in their land, maritime and air operations across the various theatres of operation in the Country.
According to him, the operational activities of the troops across the Country in the past 2 weeks yielded attendant results, adding that , several necessary efforts are being put in place as proactive measures to ensure impending security threats are forestalled across the Country.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko recalled that, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, on Monday 4 October 2021, flagged-off 3 different exercises of the Nigerian Army at Ovie-Emene in Enugu East LGA of Enugu State.
He said this is in accordance with the Nigerian Army’s routine annual Field Training Exercises designed to forestall criminalities across the Country.
Consequently, the newly launched exercises, codenamed; Exercises GOLDEN DAWN, ENDURING PEACE and STILL WATER are to run concurrently in the South West, South-South, South East and North Central Zones of the Country, precisely in the 2 Division, 6 Division, 81 Division and 82 Division.
The exercises are design to checkmate all forms of security vices as the yuletide season approaches, to enable persons enjoy hitch-free celebrations; it will also serve as platforms for participating troops to sharpen their skills in the conduct of internal security operations.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko said troops of Operation Hadin Kai sustained aggressive posture with vigour in the North East, which yielded significant results and have reduced the operational capabilities of the insurgents.
He added that within the period, several terrorist elements were neutralized and several others arrested alongside their informants and logistics suppliers.
He said,”Consequently, more terrorists have continued to lay down their arms and surrender to own troops with their families as they could no longer withstand the offensive operations within the theatre.
“Some of these feats were recorded at; Gwoza – Yamtake – Bita road; Gwoza – Farm Centre – Yamtake road; Mandara Mountain area as well as Pulka and Hambagda towns; all in Borno State.
“Cumulatively, within the period a total of 29 terrorists were neutralized and 13 terrorists including their informants/collaborators and logistics suppliers were arrested in the course of the operations.
“Additionally, a total of 38 assorted weapons and 968 rounds of assorted ammunition as well as 48 rustled livestock among several other items were recovered.
“So far, a total of 13,243 terrorists and their families comprising 3,243 adult males, 3,868 adult females and 6,234 children, have surrendered to own troops at different locations in the North East.”
He also said 3 of the terrorists’ gun trucks were destroyed with their occupants and another was immobilized, while several other terrorists flee in disarray with varying degrees of wounds, as the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai carried out air interdiction missions to foil BHT/ISWAP criminal elements’ attack on ground troops’ location at Aulari village in Bama LGA of Borno State.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko disclosed that troops of Operation Hadarin Daji within this period in focus, dominated the operations theatre with aggressive fighting patrols and other kinetic operations with the support of intensive air operations executed by the Air Component.
According to him, some of these operations resulted in the rescue of kidnapped civilians, neutralization of armed bandits, recovery of arms and ammunition as well as arrest of some criminal elements within the period.
“Significantly, some of these successes were recorded at Jibia – Katsina Road, where some civilians were rescued.
“Also, at Daba and Kurya villages in Kaura Namoda LGA of Zamfara State as well as Nwala village in Bukkuyum LGA of Katsina State, where troops neutralized some armed bandits and recovered several assorted arms and ammunition.
“Relatedly, troops arrested some notorious armed bandits’ collaborators who have been on the watch list of security agencies namely; Mamuda Aliyu Dangulbi, Rilwan Sani Dangulbi, Yusuf Adamu Dangulbi and Yakubu Umar Maihuja at Dangulbi village in Maru LGA of Zamfara State.
“These arrested criminals and items recovered have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary action.
“In the course of these operations, troops rescued a total of 4 kidnapped civilians, neutralized 5 armed bandits, arrested 4 bandits’ collaborators and recovered 7 AK-47 rifles and 275 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition among other items and motorcycles,” he said.
He added that the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji has sustained its offensive air operations against banditry and other criminal elements in the North West Zone.
He revealed that in the course of these operations, several armed bandits were neutralized and several structures which served as their logistics bases were destroyed.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko also said that troops of Operation Safe Haven maintained vigilance and dominated the operational theatre with constant land and air patrols that denied criminal elements freedom of action.
“Although the theatre was relatively calm, some incidents were recorded in some locations during troops’ kinetic and non-kinetic operations within the period. Some of the troops’ kinetic operations led to the arrest of criminal elements, recovery of arms/ammunition and livestock as well as impounding of drugs among other items.
“Troops’ swift response to distress calls also helped in thwarting/foiling as well as repelling of criminal elements and rescue of victims within the period.
“Some of these incidents were recorded in different villages and towns in Bassa, Jos North, Jos South, Kanke, Barkin Ladi and Bokkos LGAs within Plateau State.
“In Kaduna State, significant incidents were also recorded in some villages and town in Jama;a, Zangon Kataffat; Sanga, Kaura, and Lere LGAs. Cumulatively, a total of 570 parcels and 7 wraps of cannabis sativa worth seventeen million, one hundred thousand naira (N17,100,000:00) were impounded.
“Also, a total of 11 kidnapped civilians were rescued, 41 criminal elements arrested, 11 assorted arms including AK-57 rifles, locally fabricated rifles, pistols and SMG as well as 446 assorted ammunitions and 267 livestock were recovered in the course of the operations within this period,” he said.
He added that on the non-kinetic activities, Operation Safe Haven engaged youths in sporting activities at different locations of the theatre as well as held peace and security meetings in its area of responsibility.
According to him, these, to a great extent, promoted civil-military cooperation and enhanced peaceful coexistence among ethnic and religious groups in the Operation Safe Haven theatre.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko also Operation Whirl Stroke did some exploit in the North Central zone which include arrest of some criminal elements and recovery of arms and ammunition during raid, clearance and ambush operations.
According to him, within the period, a total of 22 arms, including AK-47 rifles, MGs, and locally-made pistols and 461 rounds of ammunition were recovered, while 15 criminals including armed bandits, herders and drug peddlers were arrested and 4 kidnapped civilians were rescued in the course of the operations.
He further said that troops held peace and security meetings with community/youth leaders as well as other critical stakeholders and security agencies at the Local Government Secretariat at Igumale Town in Benue State and Lau Police Division in Lau LGA of Taraba State.
Speaking further he said troops of Operation Delta Safe have sustained operations to forestall the activities of economic saboteurs and other criminal elements in the South-South Zone.
Accotding to him, within the period in focus, troops continued to track illegal oil operations in the Zone by conducting land, maritime and air patrols as well as raid operations on criminal enclaves, adding that some of these operations within the period yielded results at different locations.
He said troops discovered and deactivated illegal oil refining/bunkering sites; impounded vessels as well as other equipment and items used for illegal bunkering activities and in some occasions arrested criminal elements.
He noted that dignificant results were recorded at different villages in Nembe and Ekeremor LGAs of Bayelsa State as well as Oron River and Calabar Metropolis in Cross River State.
He added some incidents were recorded around some beaches in Akwa-Ibom State; some villages in Ohaji/Ogbema LGA of Imo State and Ukwa West LGA of Abia State.
“Similarly, attendant successes were recorded in some communities and areas in Degema LGA, Port Harcourt City and environs; Akuku-Toru LGA and Bonny LGA of Rivers State.
“Furthermore, in Delta State, substantial results were recorded in Warri South, Warri South West and Ethiop North LGAs.
“In the course of the operations, troops discovered and deactivated a total of 51 illegal refining sites. The sites cumulatively had a total of 76 ovens, 52 cooking pots/boilers, 22 cooling systems, 102 reservoirs, 16 large dugout pits and 513 storage tanks as well as drums and sacks laden with illegally refined oil products.
“Additionally, 23 criminal elements were arrested and 73 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 5 cartridges, 2 AK-47 rifles, one double-barrel gun, one pump action gun and 3 locally-made pistols among other items were recovered in the course of the operations in the Zone.
“Consequently, a total of 317,450 litres of illegally refined AGO, 8,000 litres of DPK and 159,000 litres of stolen crude were recovered in the course of the operations.
“These were in addition to several other vehicles and boats loaded with sacks/polythene bags and jerry cans of illegally refined oil products and equipment used for illegal oil production as well as illicit drugs; impounded by troops within the period,” he said.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko therefore said from the forging, that there is no gain saying the operational efforts of the military and other security agencies have considerably reduced the spate of criminal activities across the theatres.
He however stressed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will not relent nor rest on its oars in the fight against criminalities in all parts of the Country.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko said the Military High Command commended the continued sacrifices of its troops and salutes their courage and resilience towards achieving sustainable peace in the country.
“We as always, appreciates the general public and the entire press community for their continuous support and further encourage all to avail security forces with credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements across all theatres of operation in the country,” he appealed.