By Chimezie Godfrey
The Military has succeeded in neutralizing several bandits, terrorists, kidnappers, and other criminal elements in the troubled zones of the country within the last seven days.
The most significant achievement made by the military within this period was the rescue of the 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters Abuja, Maj. – Gen. John Enenche disclosed this while briefing Defence correspondents on the Armed Forces of Nigeria operations from 17 to 23 December 2020.
Enenche stressed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have continued their major operations across the country with renewed vigour.
He revealed that in the North East, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji and other subsidiary operations have sustained their operations in the North-West Zone of the country progressively.
According to him, the gallant troops within the period carried out several operations including rescue operations as well as clearance, ambushes and aerial patrols.
He said, “These operations led to the rescue of abducted persons, neutralization of criminal elements and recovery of arms and ammunition. Notably, on 17 December 2020, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI actualized their promise to ensure safe return of abducted students.
“As you are aware, all 344 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara who were abducted by armed bandits were rescued alive. Similarly, troops rescued 39 abducted girls who were Islaimiya children returning from Maulud programme, at Nguwar Al-Kasim inDandume Local Government Area of Katsina State.
“Also, on 20 December 2020, troops in a swift response to a distress call, with overwhelming firepower, rescued 10 kidnap victims from bandits at Yenyewa Village in ZamfaraState. All rescued victims have been successfully reunited with their families.”
The Coordinator also disclosed that in another development, troops of operation Hadarin Daji neutralized an armed bandit and arrested 2 of them while on night patrol at Bakinruwa Riverside in Shinkafi Local Government Area ofZamfara State.
According to him, other bandits were forced to flee in disarray, some with gunshot wounds, abandoning their weapons due to troops overwhelming firepower.
He said that the troops have continued to dominate the North-West theatre of operation with aggressive fighting and aerial patrols to deny the criminal elements freedom of action.
Enenche pointed out that in the North-East Zone, several land and air operations were conducted by the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies within the period under review.
According to him, the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole maintained and sustained continued vigilance and offensive postures through comprehensive ground and air operations, which yielded appreciable results.
“On17 December 2020, troops of Army Supper Camp II Gamboru, neutralized 5 BokoHaram Terrorists (BHT) elements in a fierce fight at Kenuba general area in Borno State.
“During the encounter, troops destroyed one gun truck and captured an anti-aircraft gun as well as recovered 3 AK-47 rifles from the terrorists.
“Relatedly, on 17 December, troops eliminated4 BHT/ISWAP criminal elements and captured 2 gun trucks as well as one anti-aircraft gun with assorted ammunition from the terrorists at Cross-Kauwain Borno State.
“Meanwhile, the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE continued to dominate the theatre of operation with its force package of Nigerian Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships. Within the period, several air operations were conducted with resultant effects.
“Remarkably on 19 December 2020, the Air Task Force eliminated several BHT criminal elements and destroyed their gun trucks in airstrikes executed atAjiri Village in Borno State.
“Subsequently series of air patrols and intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions as well air cover for ground troops have been continuously conducted across the Zone,” he said.
Enenche stressed that in continuation of intensive kinetic operations against bandits and other criminals in the North Central Zone, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke and other subsidiary operations conducted raids at identified criminals’ hideouts.
“These operations resulted in the neutralization and arrest of some criminal elements as well as recovery of arms and ammunition. Particularly, on 16 December 2020, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE neutralized 2 gang members of the late Gana’s militia group and arrested another during a dawn raid at Adangbe Village in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State.
“During the encounter, 3 locally made rifles, 21 rounds of7.62mm Special Ammunition and other items including one motorcycle were recovered from the criminals,” he said.
Enenche also disclosed that on 21 December 2020, troops neutralized one bandit and captured 2 others at Anguwa-Onmbaagbu general area of Benue State.
He added that the bandits who were linked to the recent killing of a Makurdi based lawyer and his wife engaged the troops in a firefight and were overwhelmed by the troop’s superior firepower, among other achievements recorded in the zone.
The Coordinator said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria in conjunction with other security agencies operating in Operation DELTA SAFE area of responsibility have continued to dominate theSouth-South Zone.
He stressed that within the period under review, troops conducted comprehensive anti-illegal refinery and anti-crude oil theft/illegal bunkering operations daily to deter economicsaboteurs freedom of action in the Zone.
He revealed that cumulatively, 7 illegal refining sites with 48 metal tanks, 2 dugout pits, 3 reservoirs, 10 ovens and 6 wooden boats were immobilized, while one 8HP Yamaha engine and 2 pumping machines were recovered.
He also mentioned that a total of 16,984.9 barrels of illegally refined crude oil,1,428,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 10,000 litres of DPK were seized from oil thieves.
Enenche further revealed that in the South-West Zone, troops of operation AWATSE and subsidiary Operations CALM WATER II and SWIFT RESPONSEhave continued to intensify the fight against economic saboteurs and other criminal elements in the Zone.
According to him, troops’ activities have drastically reduced pipeline vandalism and other criminal activities in the South West Zone.
“Within the period under review, a total of 92 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled rice, 1,500 litres of PMS and 79 bales of fairly used clothes were intercepted.
“Also, 2 smugglers were arrested and handed over to appropriate prosecuting agency for further action,” he said.
He encouraged the troops and personnel of other security agencies to remain determined and to sustain the tempo in all the Joint Operations Areas.
Enenche reassured the general public of the untiring dedication of the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards securing the country.
He also enjoined members of the general public to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the military and other security agencies for prompt and effective action.