By Chimezie Godfrey
This was disclosed by the Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig. Gen. Bernard Onyeuko while briefing journalists on the operations of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies from 3rd to 16th June, 2021.
Gen. Onyeuko expressed optimism that the non-kinetic approach will assist the military and other security agencies in their unrelenting effort to achieve lasting peace in the South East region.
He said,”In an extra-ordinary non-kinetic approach to the seemingly intractable security challenges in the South East, on 11 June 2021, the Honourable Minister of Defence (HMOD) Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), led a Federal Government delegation to Enugu for the “HMOD/CDS Security Meeting with Stakeholders in the South East Geopolitical Zone”.
“The HMOD was accompanied by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola and the Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor as well as representatives of the Service Chiefs.
“During the Summit, a whole range of security challenges were discussed with all the Governors of the South East States, religious leaders, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and other stakeholders in attendance.
“The discussions and decisions reached at the end of the Security Summit were far reaching and would go a long way in tackling and bringing peace to the Region.”
Meanwhile, the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies while conducting operations in the South East Zone of the Country contained several Independent People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) activities in the Zone between 3 and 16 June 2021.
Gen. Onyeuko said within the period, troops responded to several distress calls on IPOB/ESN attacks on police stations, maiming and killing of security operatives as well as civilians and destruction of properties in the Zone.
According to him, some of these operations were conducted at Ukpong in Obot Akara LGA of Akwa-Ibom State, in which the hoodlums had a hideout from where they perpetrate illicit acts. On 4 June 2021, troops raided the hoodlums’ hideouts and dislodged them.
He revealed that troops also, on the heels of credible actionable intelligence on 4 June, engaged and repelled some IPOB/ESN hoodlums who attacked Okposi Town in Ohaozara LGA of Eboyin State and the Criminal Investigation Department, Abia State Command.
“Similarly, troops on 5 June 2021 repelled IPOB hoodlums attack on commuters along Igbo-Ekiti – Nsukka Road in Enugu State.
“In another development on same day, troops tracked and apprehended some hoodlums who vandalized and stole railroad sleepers at Nkwubor Road within Emene in Enugu East LGA of Enugu State,” he said.
Highlighting the operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in the theatres of operations within the period under focus, Gen. Onyeuko said troops sustained the onslaught against all forms of criminalities by conducting series of operations ranging from aggressive ground operations to comprehensive air operations and exclusive maritime operations against criminal elements and their enclaves.
According to him, these operations recorded attendant successes as scores of criminal elements were decimated and neutralized with their hideouts destroyed and large caches of arms and ammunition as well as equipment recovered.
“In other cases, some kidnapped victims were rescued and rustled cattle recovered; and economic saboteurs arrested.
“Between 3 and 16 June 2021, troops of Operation HADIN KAI conducted several raid operations and extensive air strikes, responded to distress calls as well as repelled and thwarted terrorists’ attacks.
“These operations were conducted concurrently in different locations in the North East Zone of the Country. These include Damboa Town in Borno State where air strikes executed with NAF platforms on 3 June, dislodged several terrorists and inflicted significant damages on their logistics facilities.
“Troops also repelled terrorists’ attacks on Damboa Town in Borno State on same day, where several fighters of the ISWAP sect, including one of their commander named Umar Tela, were neutralized.
“Other locations where troops recorded significant results were; Gujba Town in Gujba LGA of Yobe State, Magumeri Town in Borno State and Mubi Town in Mubi LGA of Adamawa State; where troops conducted raid operations on BHT hideouts on 4 and 5 June 2021.
“Furthermore, in the course of these operations within the period under review, several of terrorists were neutralized, while some escaped with gunshot wounds.
“Large number of their gun trucks and other logistics facilities were as well destroyed in the process.
“Troops operations also led to the arrest of some terrorists and kidnappers including the leader of a notorious kidnapping syndicate in the North East Zone, named Mohammed Maki, who is a Chadian.
“Troops also recovered large caches of arms and ammunition, large quantities of PMS and AGO in jerry cans in the course of the operations.
“The attendant results recorded by troops through their superior operational engagements have continued to degrade the terrorists’ operational capabilities and deny them freedom of operation in the North East theatre within the period under review.”
Gen. Onyeuko said troops operational activities in Operation Hadarin Daji theatre of operation between these period were characterized with ambush operations, aggressive fighting patrols, air raids, sustained air Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance patrols as well as cordon and search operations.
According to him, these operations yielded attendant successes as troops, during an ambush operation on 3 June, intercepted and neutralized some gunrunners who were in possession of assorted arms and ammunition between Naimaimai Village and Sabon Birni Town in Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State.
“Similarly, on 4 June 2021, troops, following credible intelligence report, conducted cordon and search operation along Gurbin Baure – Jibia Road in Katsina State. During the operation, troops intercepted and neutralized some armed bandits.
“In another development on 6 June 2021, the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji conducted air raids on bandits’ enclaves at Jibia area in Katsina State.
“The air raid led to the neutralization of several armed bandits and destruction of structures used as hideouts. In same vein, troops while on aggressive fighting patrol arrested some kidnappers and rescued some of their victims at Bena Market in Danko Wasagu LGA of Kebbi State.
“During the operation, large caches of arms and ammunition as well as equipment and vehicles were captured from the criminal elements.
“Troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operation with aggressive patrols and sustained air intelligence surveillance to deny bandits freedom of operation,” he said.
The General also stressed that troops of Operation Safe Haven, Operation Whirl Stroke, and Operation Awatse in their theatres of operations have sustained their operational tempo and conducted fighting patrols, ambushes as well as cordon and search operations.
These operations resulted in the neutralization of several armed bandits, arrest of armed bandits/cultists, kidnappers and recovery of arms and ammunition.
He further disclosed that troops of Operation Delta Safe conducted series of anti-illegal oil bunkering and raid operations that thwarted activities of economic saboteurs.
He said these operations led to the deactivation of several illegal oil refining sites, disconnection of illegal pipelines, arrest of different criminal elements, interception and confiscation of contraband vessels, recovery of stolen items and resealing of reactivated illegal oil refining sites.
He added that several barrels of illegally refined PMS and AGO were impounded and storage tanks immobilized, among others
The Defence Spokeman noted that there is a decrease in criminal activities within the period under review as a result of troops’ operational efforts to deny criminals freedom of operation.
He stressed that the military will remain resolute to take decisive and adequate actions to further abate terrorists and bandits’ activities as well as other vices across the Country.
He said the Military High Command also lauded the efforts of the troops for their resilience and unrelenting commitment.
Gen. Onyeuko encouraged the general public to support the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate their proactive engagements.