By Chimezie Godfrey
Another 1,199 terrorists have surrendered to troops as the military sustains onslaught against criminals across troubled zones of the country says Defence Headquarters Abuja.
The Defence Headquarters also said that over 71 armed bandits, and 38 terrorists were neutralized including the new leader of Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP).
The Director Defence Media Operations, Brig-Gen Benard Onyeuko revealed this at the bi-weekly press briefing on the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s operational activities.
He reiterated that the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have continued to sustain the operational tempo in the land, maritime and air operations across the various theatres of operation in the Country.
He said,”The operational activities of our troops across the Country in the past 2 weeks recorded significant results. Therefore, today’s brief will cover summary of our operational activities from 14 to 28 October 2021.
“Troops of Operation HADIN KAI have sustained the aggressive posture with zest in the North East. The Theatre Command conducted series of land and air operations in different locations have not only degraded the enemy’s operational capabilities of insurgents, but have contributed to more terrorists surrendering with their families. In the course of the operations within the period, a total of 38 terrorist elements were neutralized, including the ISWAP’s new leader, Bako.
“Also, a total of 11 criminal elements including terrorists and their informants and their logistics suppliers were arrested in the course of these operations. Additionally, a total of 29 assorted weapons, 166 rounds of assorted ammunition, among other items were recovered.
“Others are; 2 gun trucks and 622 bags of fertilizer, used for production of IEDs; while 5 kidnapped civilians were rescued. Some of these feats were recorded at; Dar, Kumshe, Wulgo, Chabbol and Kijmatari villages in Borno State as well as locations along Ngala – Wulgo and Nguru – Kano roads.
“Other locations were; Dikwa and Mafa villages as well as Ngama village in Yobe State. Furthermore, between 15 and 28 October 2021, a total of 1,199 terrorists and their families, comprising 114 adult males, 312 adult females and 773 children, surrendered to own troops at different locations in the North East.”
Brig-Gen Onyeuko added that the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai scored another devastating hit on BHT/ISWAP terrorist elements at Malam Fatori on the fringes of the Lake Chad.
According to him, this feat was achieved on the heels of credible intelligence report and after series of aerial surveillance, which confirmed the convergence of terrorist elements in 20 boats at the location.
“Consequently, air strikes were executed on the target with various NAF platforms, which led to the destruction of the boats and neutralization of scores of the terrorists, while few of them flee in disarray with varying degrees of wounds.
“Similarly, on 21 October 2021, following report of ISWAP elements’ attack on own troops at Katarko area in Yobe State, the Air Component engaged the terrorists in successive air strikes and neutralized scores of them.
“Furthermore, the Maritime Component of Operation HADINK KAI has remained committed in efforts to end the insurgency in the North East Zone.
“To further enhance its operational efforts in the Zone, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo paid operational visit to Baga on Tuesday 19 October 2021,” he said.
He assured officers and ratings of the Naval Base Baga of his commitment to ensure necessary assets and logistics needed for effective execution of operations in the North East are provided to achieve the joint operational objectives of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko also said within the period, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji dominated the operations theatre with aggressive fighting patrols and other kinetic operations with the support of intensive air operations executed.
He in the course of these operations, significant achievements were recorded in some locations. These include; Gwandu LGA in Kebbi State where some cattle rustlers were arrested.
“Also, some armed bandits were arrested at Wanzamai village in Zamfara State; while some others neutralized at Gimi village in Katsina State. Relatedly, armed bandits were arrested at Safana LGA in Katsina State and Ruwan Godiya village as well as along Alikere – Yarmalamai road in Zamfara State, where some livestock were recovered.
“Cumulatively, a total of 15 kidnapped civilians were rescued; 9 armed bandits neutralized; 11 AK 47 rifles, 43 rounds of ammunition and 86 livestock were recovered as well as 34 armed bandits and other criminal elements were arrested within the period.
“The arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary action,” he said.
Similarly, he disclosed that Operation Safe Haven, troops continually maintained vigilance and dominated the operations theatre with constant land and air patrols to deny criminal elements freedom of action.
According to him, this has brought about relative calm in the area of responsibility. Some kinetic operations within the period led to the arrest of 8 criminal elements.
He said,”The operations also led to the recovery of 13 assorted arms, 291 ammunition and 28 livestock among other items.
“Troops’ response to distress calls also helped in repelling and forestalling criminal activities; leading to the rescue of 5 victims kidnapped by armed bandits’ and the arrest of 5 criminal elements within the period.
“Some of these incidents were recorded at; Mailafiya Market in Sanbak village under Riyom LGA; Kukawa village in Kanam LGA and Mukushin District and Bokkos – Kuba – Barkin Ladi road in Bokkos LGA of Plateau State. Other locations were; Amper – Langtang road in Kanke LGA; Sabon Gari and surrounding forests in Jos East LGA of plateau State as well as Zankan village and Gidan Waya area in Jama’a LGA and Fadan Karshi in Sanga LGA of Kaduna State.
“Operation SAFE HAVEN also carried out non-kinetic operations by conducting security and peace meetings with community leaders and other critical stakeholders within its area of responsibility. Within the period, one of such meetings was held at Kaduna State Government House in Kaduna.”
Brig-Gen Onyeuko further disclosed that Operation Whirl Punch/Thunder Strike also sustained its operational activities in parts of the North West Zone, adding that within the period in focus, troops with the support of the Air Component stormed some armed bandits’ hideouts during clearance operations at; Chikun LGA, Damba and Kange Kadi villages in Kaduna State.
“The operations dealt heavy blows on the criminal elements as they suffered heavy casualties from troops’ superior firepower. No fewer than 12 armed bandits were neutralized, 11 AK-47 rifles, 64 rounds of ammunition, 24 livestock among other items were recovered in the course of these operations.
“Additionally, Nigerian Air Force helicopter gunships neutralized no fewer than 50 armed bandits at Saulawa – Farin Ruwa axis in Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State.
“This feat was achieved on the heels of credible intelligence which revealed armed bandits laying ambush against own advancing ground troops in the location.
“Consequently, air strikes were executed on the location in successive turns, leading to the neutralization of some of the armed elements while some others escaped with gunshot wounds,” Brig-Gen Onyeuko said.
He also said within the period under review, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke have continued to record more success in its operations in the North Central Zone. Some of these operations yielded significant results at some locations in the Zone.
“Consequently, a total of 35 arms including AK-47 rifles, Machine Guns, teargas launchers, locally-made pistols and rifles, 25 extra rifle magazines and 431 rounds of ammunition were recovered within the period. Also a total of 11 armed bandits were arrested and 2 kidnapped civilians rescued in the course of the operations.
“These feats were recorded at; Ustoma village in Mbadwem Council Ward of Guma LGA, Tungu village in Utange Councl Ward and Gbise community in Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State.
“Other locations were; Sabon Gida in Gassol LGA, Apigwa village in Donga LGA; Gawa and Chachanji villages in Takum LGA of Taraba State as well as Maraba Udege in Nasarawa LGA of Nasarawa State.
“Furthermore, troops held peace and security meetings with community/youth leaders and other critical stakeholders and security agencies at the Lau Town Hall in Lau LGA and Dogon Gawa Town in Takum LGA of Taraba State,” he said.
He added that these meetings were also conducted at; Gbise Market Square and Katsina-Ala LGA Headquarters in Katsina-Ala LGA as well as Zaki-Biam community in Ukum LGA of Benue State.
Speaking further, he troops of Operation Delta Safe have remained steadfast in the execution of land, maritime and air operations in the South-South Zone, to forestall activities of economic saboteurs and other criminal elements.
He said in the course of these operations, 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 some criminal elements and recovered arms and ammunition.
He pointed out that in Bayelsa State, these were recorded in Ekeremor, Ogbia and Southern Ijaw LGAs; while in Delta State, some significant achievements were recorded in Sapele, Warri South and Warri South West LGAs. Also attendant results were recorded in Ahoada, Onne, Elele, Isiokpo, Emoha, Port Harcourt, Bonny, Andoni, Ikwere and Gokhana LGAs of Rivers State.
“Cumulatively, troops discovered and immobilized a total of 27 illegal refining sites, 57 ovens, 17 cooking pots/boilers, 2 cooling systems, 37 reservoirs, 9 large dugout pits and 27 storage tanks, drums and sacks laden with illegally refined oil products.
“Additionally, 9 criminal elements were arrested and one Dane gun, among other items were recovered in the course of the operations in the Zone.
“Consequently, a total of 788,500 litres of illegally refined AGO and 229,000 litres of stolen crude oil were recovered in the course of the operations.
“Furthermore, troops neutralized 3 armed robbers and rescued 2 civilians kidnapped by the hoodlums; while 5 criminals associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period,” he disclosed.
In the light of the foregoing, Brig-Gen Onyeuko therefore stressed that the efforts of Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies, both kinetic and non-kinetic, are yielding significant results.
He assured that the Armed Forces of Nigeria will not relent nor rest on its oars in the fight against all forms of criminalities in the Country.
“As always, the Military High Command commends the continued sacrifices of its troops in the various theatres of operation and continues to appreciate their courage and resilience towards achieving sustainable peace in the Country.
“We also thank the general public and the entire press community for their continuous support and encourage all to avail security forces with credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements across all theatres of operation in the Country,” he said.