By Chimezie Godfrey
The Armed Forces of Nigeria has succeeded in eliminating over 2,403 criminal elements across the country says Defence Headquarters Abuja.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj Gen John Enenche made this disclosure while briefing Defence correspondents on Thursday, on the operations of the Armed Forces of Nigeria from 18 March to 30 December, 2020.
Gen. Enenche stressed that the efforts and sacrifices of the gallant officers and men of the Military as well as other security agencies that conducted these operations have been progressive.
He said that within the period under review, troops engaged in series of land, maritime and air operations, involving both kinetic and non-kinetic activities across the country.
According to him, the land operations conducted among others across the various theatres of operation include; clearance, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments and aggressive patrols.
Others were maritime operations involving anti-piracy, anti-illegal bunkering, anti-crude oil theft and anti-pipeline vandalism operations as well as other duties such as anti-smuggling operations.
He added that comprehensive air operations including air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support and air cover for ground troops, were also conducted.
Gen. Enenche who noted that some officers paid the supreme prize in the fight against insecurity in the country, stressed that about 2,403 criminal elements have cumulatively been neutralized within the period under review.
He said,”Although some of our troops paid the supreme prize in the course of the operations, our dogged troops have consistently exhibited gallantry and resilience in the various operations.
“Within the timeframe in focus, troops neutralized scores of terrorists and bandits, while many others were incapacitated and their camps destroyed.
“Our operations also inhibited activities of economic saboteurs as well as exposed and obviated other criminal activities.
“In summary, the Armed Forces of Nigeria from 18 March to 30 December 2020 neutralized 2,403 criminal elements across the Country.
“This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes.
“Troops also rescued a total of 864 kidnapped victims across the Country. In addition, a total of 9,684,797 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,000 litres of DPK were recovered.
“Equally, 1,910 criminal elements were arrested and large cache of arms, ammunition and equipment were recovered during the period.
“Furthermore, a total of 46,581.8 barrels of stolen crude oil and 22,881,257 litres of stolen PMS were recovered by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.”
Gen. Enenche also mentioned that several other criminal elements, including high profile ones were either killed in action or arrested, sometimes together with their families as well as informants and gunrunners.
According to him, there are records of scores of criminals surrendering due to troops’ overwhelming superior firepower and intelligence activities.
He pointed out that other feats recorded in the course of their operations were the rescue of kidnap victims, prominent among which, is the recent rescue of 344 school boys of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, as well as the Islamiya children, all in Katsina State.
Others were repelling and forestallment of terrorists and bandits’ attacks on civilians and troops.
He said that troops also recovered caches of arms and ammunition, equipment, vehicles and oodles of livestock within the period.
He also recalled that, in the maritime environment, troops in major and subsidiary operations were able to disrupt smuggling activities, immobilize illegal refining sites, arrest perpetrators, seize foreign parboiled rice and recover tons of petroleum products.
Gen. Enenche disclosed that in the North-West zone of the country, between 18 March and 31 December 2020, a cumulative total of 5,281 livestock, 6,951 rounds of ammunition and 120 assorted rifles were recovered from the armed bandits by the gallant troops in the Zone.
He equally mentioned that in the North – East zone, about 200 kidnap victims were rescued, among other laudable achievements made.
“Furthermore, a total of 455 kidnapped victims were rescued and 473 armed bandits were killed in action.
“In the same vein, a total of 461 arrests were made in the Zone including high profile armed bandits, gun runners and bandit’s collaborators, while a total cash of N6,365,550 was recovered from armed bandits and their informants in the Zone.
“Progressively, in the North-East zone of the Country within the period, 200 kidnapped victims were rescued by the gallant troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. A total of 1,385 rounds of ammunition, 45 grenades as well as 95 assorted rifles were recovered from BHT/ISWAP fighters.
“In addition, several gun trucks were captured, while some others were destroyed during airstrikes. Equally, 1,805 insurgents/terrorists including commanders were killed by the troops aside scores killed by air raids/attacks.
“Additionally, within the period, a total of 79 arrests were made including high-value targets,” he revealed.
In the North-Central zone of the Country, Gen. Enenche disclosed that within the period, troops of Operations Safe Haven, Whirl Stroke and Thunder Strike have achieved appreciable successes.
“A total of 130 kidnapped victims were rescued and 105 assorted rifles, as well as 513 rounds of ammunition and 1,055 rustled cattle, were recovered from armed bandits and other criminal elements in the Zone.
“In the same vein, a total of 1,250 criminals including family members of the Darul Salam sect were arrested within the period.
“Furthermore, troops neutralized a total of 125 armed bandits including militia gang leaders,” he said.
Gen. Enenche stressed that in the South-South Zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies recorded remarkable results in their efforts against economic sabotage and other sundry crimes in the Zone.
According to him, within the period under review, a cumulative total of 8,890,300 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,00 litres of DPK were impounded by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE.
“In the same vein, the gallant troops immobilized a total of 185 illegal refining sites, 85 dugout pits and 163 metal storage tanks within the period.
“Additionally, troops impounded a cumulative total of 31,236.8 barrels of stolen crude oil as well as 12,272,652 litres of stolen PMS from oil thieves in the Zone. Also, a total of 47 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 72 vandals and criminals were arrested.
“Furthermore, a total of 4,250 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice were impounded and 45 boats engaged in illegal activities were arrested.
“Troops also arrested a total of 53 pirates and 25 trucks as well as recovered 23 rifles, 65,330 rounds of ammunition and destroyed 23 sea pirate camps,” he disclosed.
The Coordinator further revealed that troops of Operation Awatse in the South-West Zone between 18 March and 30 December 2020, impounded a total of 10,458,600 litres of PMS; 15,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 345,000 litres of stolen AGO.
According to him, troops also recovered a total of 3,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles, while a total of 23 illegal refining sites were immobilized, adding that 15 boats and 23 trucks engaged in illegal activities were arrested.
He also added that within the period 35 kidnap victims were rescued, while 48 arrests were made.
Gen. Enenche said that in addition to the kinetic operations, the Armed Forces of Nigeria carried out non-kinetic operations in form of Civil-Military Cooperation Activities (CIMIC).
According to him, a total of 92 boreholes were sunk for host communities and 16 schools and worship centres were renovated across the Country.
He added that 16 clinics and dispensaries were constructed and donated, including buses to host communities.
He further mentioned that the Armed Forces of Nigeria constructed roads, installed transformers and solar power equipment in some host communities.
He equally stressed that the military fostered several stakeholders and reconciliation meetings between hostile communities and carried out medical outreaches.
Gen Enenche stressed that considering the progress made within the time frame in focus, there is no gainsaying the efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in the Year 2020 yielded appreciable results.
“Our operational performance for the year is a show of our commitment, synergy and determination to lay down our lives to protect our great Nation.
“We will continue to sustain the offensive and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled zone in Nigeria.
“The general public is also assured of our commitment to protect our economic assets anywhere.
“The High Command of the Nigerian Military wishes to thank the general public for their support and further solicit their cooperation towards providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements in our operations,” he said.
Gen. Enenche also said that the Military High Command equally commend all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their resilience, doggedness and commitment.
He said the troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in securing the country.