By Chimezie Godfrey
The Armed Forces of Nigeria in conjuction with other security agencies have intensified the fight against bandits, terrorists, their sponsors and collaborators, and other criminal elements across the country.
This has led to the decimation of several bandits, terrorists, recovery of arms and ammunition, destruction of criminal hideouts, among other notable successes recorded in the past seven days.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters Abuja, Maj Gen. John Enenche revealed this on Thursday while briefing Defence Correspondents on the activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria from 19 to 25 November, 2020.
Enenche noted that the various operations in the troubled zones of the country have progressed satisfactory with significant results
He said troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI and other subsidiary operations have sustained various aggressive operations in the North-West zone of the country with tremendous successes.
According to him, the gallant troops within the period carried out series of raids, aerial, ambushes, clearance operations and confidence building patrols.
He said,”Notably, on 21 November 2020, troops of Operation ACCORD while on covert operation at Galadi village in Shinkafi Local Government Area of Zamfara State neutralized 2 bandits and recovered 2 AK 47 rifles.
“In another development, still on same 21 November 2020, troops while on routine patrol at Gobirawa village made contact with armed bandits.
“During the encounter, 6 bandits were neutralized while 4 AK 47 rifles, 3 Dane guns and 2 motorcycles were recovered.
“In the same vein, following credible intelligence on activities of illegal miners at Kadauri general area in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State, troops swiftly mobilized to the scene and apprehended 11 suspected illegal miners.
“The suspects have been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting authority for further action.
“Additionally, troops of Forward Operating Base Kwatarkwashi arrested one Shafiu Suleman, a wanted bandit’s informant at Kwatarkwashi Market.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect was the mastermind of recent kidnapping of some Locals within Kwatarkwashi district of Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
“Furthermore, following distress call on presence of suspected bandits at Gidan Ruwa along Rukudawa axis of Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State on 22 November 2020, troops swiftly responded and pursued the bandits as they fled on sighting the approaching troops.
“However, one bandit was neutralized, while one AK 47 rifle and one magazine loaded with 29 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition were recovered. Equally, 2 bandits were arrested in the process.”
Enenche revealed that the operatives of Department of State Service, Katsina State Command arrested a couple Usman Shehu and his wife Aisha Abubakar of Rimi Local Government Area of Katsina State.
According to him, the suspects were intercepted at Abukur village conveying large cache of ammunitions to Katsina Metropolis including 14 magazines, 61 rounds of 9.6mm caliber ammunition and 399 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition.
Enenche disclosed that 82 bandits were eliminated in Katsina and Zamfara states, among other notable successes achieved during the period.
He stressed that the gallant troops have continued to dominate the general area kinetically, to deny bandits freedom of action.
He therefore called on the locals to continue to cooperate with the security agencies and provide necessary information that will be useful to the collective objective of eradicating criminality from the zone.
The Defence Spokesperson also disclosed that in the North-East zone, several land and air operations were conducted by the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies with significant results.
According to him, during the period, troops recorded laudable successes in both land and air operations.
He said,”Between 19 and 25 November 2020, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE maintained their usual aggressive and responsive postures throughout the North East theatre of operation.
“The operations include; aggressive fighting patrols, clearance/ambush operations and artillery bombardments as well as comprehensive air operations involving aerial surveillance and air interdiction missions as well as decisive air strikes.
“These operations resulted in the neutralization of scores of the terrorists in various locations, rescue of kidnapped victims, destruction of terrorists’ enclaves and recovery of arms and ammunition from the terrorists.
“Notably, on 19 November 2020, own troops acted swiftly on the heels of credible intelligence to intercept terrorists who were on the verge of receiving a Two Million Naira ransom from relatives of their kidnapped victims.
“The gallant troops with superior firepower engaged and overwhelmed the criminal elements that eventually aborted the collection of the Two Million Naira ransom and abandoned the victims; including 2 women and 3 children.
“During the encounter, troops neutralized one terrorist, while others escaped with gunshot wounds.
Troops recovered one AK-47 rifle and a motorcycle from the terrorists.”
Enenche said that troops while on aggressive fighting patrol in the general area of Zaye Ngusa in Borno State neutralized one terrorist as others fled with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
In the North Central zone, Enenche disclosed that troops have intensified kinetic operations against armed bandits and other criminals.
He said troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE conducted raids at identified criminals’ hideouts successfully.
He said troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE raided a criminals’ hideout of armed militias at Tor Donga in Katsina – Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
According to him, during the raid, 3 bandits were neutralized with several others fatally injured, adding that one locally made pistol was also recovered during the operation.
He added that a notorious bandit, one Mallam Usaini Mohammed was arrested by troops of Operation Safe Haven among other progress made in the zone.
Enenche stressed that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have sustained the fight against economic sabotage in the South South zone successfully.
He pointed out that within the period in focus, Forward Operating Base IBAKA gunboats while on routine patrol around Ikang waterways, intercepted and arrested one medium size wooden boat laden with 30 drums of 300 litres of product suspected to be PMS with 2 suspects, two 40 HP outboard engines and 2 pumping machines.
“Items and suspects are currently in troop’s custody to be handed over to the relevant security agency.
“Additionally, Nigerian Navy Ship SOROH in conjunction with SECTOR 2, Operation DELTA SAFE carried out a dawn operation on 21 November 2020 around Gbaran Community.
“In the course of the operation, 2 armed pirates, one with an AK 47 and the other with a pump action rifle were sighted as they tried engaging own personnel while escaping.
“However, one of the pirates was neutralized while the one with AK 47 sustained gunshot wounds and jumped into the river. A further search led to the discovery of 2 more locally made guns and cartridges in the apartment where the pirates reside,” he said.
The Defence Spokesperson also said that Operations CALM WATERS II and SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to record more successes.
He noted that within the period under review, about 774 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice as well as 2 suspects were arrested and handed over to Nigerian Customs Service.
He mentioned that a wooden boat laden with 11,375 litres of PMS was also intercepted.
Enenche urged the troops and personnel of other security agencies to remain resolute and sustain the tempo in all the theatres of operation.
He reassured the general public of the military’s unwavering dedication to securing the country for all human activities to strive.
He also enjoined members of the general public to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the nearest military and other security agencies location for prompt and effective action.