By Chimezie Godfrey
No fewer than 85 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were killed, while over 2,783 and their families surrendered as troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria sustain the upscale in the rate of operational efforts across various theatres in the Country.
The Director, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters Abuja, Brig-Gen Benard Onyeuko revealed this on Thursday while briefing journalists on the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s operational activities between 2nd to 30th September, 2021.
He noted that the heightened activities of the Armed Forces yielded significant results in the various theatres.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko said troops of Operation Hadin Kai sustained the operational tempo in land and air offensives against terrorists and other criminal elements in the North East theatre.
He disclosed that dozens of ISWAP/BHT terrorists and their collaborators were neutralized in coordinated air strikes executed by the Air Component of Operation Hadin Kai.
According to him, this feat was achieved at Daban Masara, north of Lake Chad in Kukawa LGA of Borno State, from where the criminal elements launch attacks on own troops’ locations and innocent civilians in the area.
He said,”Cumulatively, a total of 85 BHT/ISWAP terrorists were neutralized and 43 terrorists including their collaborators and logistics suppliers were arrested in the course of the various operations.
“Also, a total of 121 assorted weapons including SMG, HK21 guns, AK-47 and locally-made rifles with magazines, 3,372 rounds of 7.62mm NATO/Special ammunition, locally made pistols and smooth body grenades, RPG-7 bombs as well as 12,250 bags of fertilizers and 178 rustled livestock among several other items were recovered.
“Furthermore, a total of 2,783 terrorists and their families surrendered within the period under review.”
He also said that troops of Operation Hadarin Daji within the period intensified their offensive operations on bandits’ enclaves in the North West Zone.
He noted that the operations have drastically degraded their operational capabilities and denied them freedom of action as well as frustrated movement of arms, ammunition and other illegal items, at the same time built confidence among locals.
According to him, during the period under review, own troops responded to distress calls on bandits’ activities at different locations in Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina States, which include; armed bandits’ attacks on Gidan Kwaru village in Tsafe LGA of Zamfara State, Kaiga general area and Tafoki village in Funtua LGA, among other towns and villages of Katsina State.
“Troops’ swift responses with superior firepower during the incidents led to the repelling of armed bandits who were forced to flee in disarray, neutralization of scores of them and arrest of some others, including their informants and collaborators.
“Also, arms and ammunition among other items were recovered. Additionally, troops neutralized and arrested armed bandits and their arms supplier and informant at Kofar Fada village in Kankara LGA, Shabba village under Jibia LGA, Kaiga general area as well as Ummandau and Gammu villages, all in Katsina State.
“Furthermore, troops conducted clearance/raid operations on bandits’ enclaves at Falaliya, Yan Duwatsu, Kunkare, Jangeme, Mazarko and Kasala villages under Talata Mafara LGA in Zamfara State as well as Yarmariya village in Tudun Wada LGA of Kano State and cleared bandits’ camps.
“During the period under review, a total of 240 armed bandits were neutralized, 125 assorted arms including AK-47 and FN riffles and Dane guns as well as 1,166 rounds of 7.62mm special/NATO ammunition, 1,304 livestock and 54 motorcycles among other items were recovered within the period.
“Also, 47 armed bandits, informants and bandits’ collaborators were arrested within the period.5. In the same vein, the Air Component conducted air bombardments on criminal enclaves in different locations including Magami and Dansadau forests in Zamfara State.
“Also, it carried out coordinated offensive air strikes were also executed on bandits’ hideouts, from where they launched attacks own troops’ locations and innocent civilians between 22 and 26 September 2021.
“The air operations yielded attendant successes at Danmusa, Safana and Dutsinma LGAs as well as Gonar, Sani, Jikan and Malam villages at the Yantumaki forest, Lelet village forest and Yantumaki – Maidabino road in Katsina State.
“The operations resulted in the neutralization of no fewer than 53 armed bandits, while several others escaped with varying degree of gunshot wounds and destruction of several of their structures used as hideouts and logistics facilities.
Speaking on the operational activities of Operation Safe-Haven, he said troops within the period conducted several operations to curb criminalities in their area of responsibility.
According to him, troops’ response to distress call on 4 September 2021 yielded significant result along Ganawuri – Manchok Road, where 2 drug peddlers were arrested with 320 parcels of cannabis sativa worth Nine Million, Six Hundred Thousand Naira, stocked in a vehicle.
“In another development, troops on same day swiftly mobilized to forestall farmers/herders’ clash over farm encroachment and destruction by herders’ cattle at Jebbu Miango village in Bassa LGA of Plateau State. Two of the armed herdsmen were arrested in the process.
“Similarly, on 6 September, troops on Cordon and Search operation arrested 11 armed bandits who were involved in an earlier attack on Angwan Thabo village in Zangon Kataf LGA of Kaduna State.
“Troops also rescued some civilians who were kidnapped at Jakko Gashish District in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State and arrested 2 kidnappers at Antor village in Sanga LGA of Kaduna State on 9 September 2021.
“In the same vein, a gun runner and impostor named, Saliu Ibriahim, was arrested at Mailafiya village in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State.
“A total of 14 locally fabricated rifles, 27 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 14 cartridges and 44 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition among other items were recovered in the course of our operations within the period,” he said.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko disclosed that troops have continued to flush out armed bandits and other criminal elements to create peaceful atmosphere in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.
He stated that the security situation in the North West Zone has been relatively calm within the period in focus, which is evident in locals being seen carrying out their daily activities peacefully in some quarters.
He however, said pockets of incidents were recorded in some other quarters as troops swiftly responded to distress calls and thwarted bandits’ attacks as well as averted communal clashes in different locations in the Zone, which include; Akwuana village in Logo LGA and Tse-Chula and Tse-Aza villages in Guma LGA of Benue State.
He pointed out that in another development, security operatives arrested a notorious militia leader named Keffas Aondofa aka Azonto at Jalingo Metropolis in Taraba State.
“Azonto who took over leadership of the late Gana’s militia gang has been terrorizing and imposing levies on locals in the State and has been on the wanted list of Operation WHIRL STROKE and other security forces.
“In the course of the operations within the period under review, a total of 15 armed bandits were neutralized, while 23 AK-47 rifles with magazines as well as 66 rounds of 7.62mm special and 39mm ammunition were recovered,” he said.
He disclosed that troops of Operation Thunder Strike/Whirl Punch maintained their highway and fighting patrols to dominate and provide security in major and minor roads as well as deny armed elements freedom of action.
“On 5 September 2021, offensive air strikes were executed, using a force pack of Nigerian Air Force platforms, on a bandits’ camp at Kuza Hills, which led to the destruction of some of the criminals’ hideouts and logistics facilities. No fewer than 43 armed bandits were neutralized in the process.
“In same vein, over 40 armed bandits were neutralized at Fadaman Kanauta in Kidandan forest under Giwa LGA of Kaduna State. This feat was achieved when the Air Component carried a 3 day intensive air offensives on bandits’ enclaves at the location between 13 and 15 September 2021.
“During the operations, several structures that housed the bandits were also destroyed along with their logistics installations and supplies.
“In addition, troops neutralized 3 armed bandits around Kasamari Bridge along Kaduna – Abuja Highway and recovered 3 AK-47 rifles with magazines and 48 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition,” he said.
Brig-Gen Onyeuko further revealed that troops of Operation Delta Safe have continued to sustain the tempo in its anti-illegal oil operations to forestall economic saboteurs in the South-South Zone, adding that some of the operations recorded significant results at different locations in Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States within the period in focus.
He said the locations in which significant successes were recorded in Rivers State include; Banga, Zion, Kumufari and Ataba communities in Andoni LGA; Buguma general area in Buguma LGA; Oduoha community in Emohua LGA, Ogbodo in Ekwere LGA and Olutoru community in Bonny LGA.
Other locations in Rivers State were; Alakri and Ogoloma communities in Okrika LGA; Meinjudukiri axis and Bakana town as well as around Ogbunku and Banigo communities in Degema LGA. In Bayelsa State, troops recorded attendant successes at Okarki, Kalatirama, Bille, Orutoru and Otuesegha communities in Ogbia LGA.
Also in Delta State, he said troops recorded successes at Saghara Creek in Warri South West LGA and Yokri-Ebge Seashore in Burutu LGA. In the course of these operations, troops discovered and deactivated a total of 69 illegal refining sites.
“The sites cumulatively had a total of 79 ovens, 77 cooking pots/boilers and 76 cooling systems, 48 large dugout pits and 246 storage tanks as well as drums and sacks.
“These were cumulatively laden with two million, one hundred and fifty-seven thousand litres of illegally refined AGO as well as 1,300 tons and four million, five hundred and thirty-eight thousand litres of stolen crude oil.
“Troops also discovered and disconnected some illegally connected pipelines and deactivated other illegal bunkering materials at Rumuekpe community as well as Ihuowo – Okoma Pipeline Right of Way in Abua/Odua LGA of Rivers State.
“Additionally, troops arrested 6 militants and recovered 4 locally-made pistols, 22 cartridges and 13 wraps of cannabis sativa among other items at Government Jetty in Creek town, Rivers State during the period.
“In another development troops on maritime patrol intercepted a vessel identified as ‘MT AKEMIJOE BUNKER ONE’ without a Maritime Mobile Service Identity or NIMASA document in the south of Bartholomeo River.
“The vessel which was laden with 150,000 litres of AGO was arrested and handled appropriately,” he said.
Brig- Gen Onyeuko therefore assured that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will not rest on their oars in the fight against criminalities in all parts of the Country.
He said the Military High Command appreciates the continuous sacrifices of its troops in the various theatres of operation across the Country.
“It salutes the courage, resilience and commitment towards achieving sustainable peace in the Country.
“We as always, appreciate the general public and the press community for their continued support and further encourage all to avail the Armed Forces with credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements across the country,” Brig-Gen Onyeuko appealed.