Terrorists, sympathisers blackmailing military due to intensified airstrikes – DHQ

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The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Abuja says terrorists and their sympathisers have resorted to blackmailing the military as a result of intensified airstrikes that has killed several of their leaders and their cohorts hibernating in enclaves across  the theatres of operation.

Major General Edward Buba disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday while briefing journalists on the ongoing military operations by the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) and progress achieved so far in the month of March, 2024.

Buba stressed that the Nigerian military has always maintained professionalism in their conduct of operations, adding that due diligence by way of Intelligence, Surveillance and Recogniance is painstakingly taken to distinguish the terrorist before air strikes are conducted.

He said,”The prerequisite of ongoing counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations by the military across the country is defeating the terrorist and dismantling their military, administrative and political capabilities. Accordingly, through our operations we are continually boxing in the terrorist and dismantling their resupply routes.

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“The military is working decisively to kill the terrorists, dismantle their networks and create conditions whereby they cannot carry out acts of terror or harm citizens. It is for these reasons that the armed forces would continue to hunt the leadership of these terrorist groups everywhere across these theatres of operations. 

“Being a professional force, due diligence by way of Intelligence, Surveillance and Recogniance is painstakingly taken to distinguish the terrorists before air strikes are conducted. These air strikes have resulted in the death of  several of these terrorist leaders and the cohorts hibernating in enclaves across  the theatres of operation.

“It therefore should not be surprising, that these terrorists and their sympathisers plot on blackmailing the military as a result of these air strikes. The plot is to depict some casualties as innocent citizens rather than cohorts of these terrorists.

“It is therefore important for the media to be wary of the antics of these terrorist groups and their sympathisers. Our operations have prevented these evil elements from accomplishing their strategic objectives.”

Buba revealed that within the past one week, troops  neutralised 192 terrorists and arrested 341 persons, while rescuing 62 kidnapped hostages.

He also troops arrested 37 perpetrators of oil theft, as well as denied oil theft of the estimated sum of Eight Hundred and Twenty One Million Two Hundred and Forty Eight  Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty Naira.

“During the period under review, troops neutralised 192 terrorists and arrested 341 persons, while rescuing 62 kidnapped hostages. A total of  122 ISWAP/JAS combatant terrorist surrendered with their family members. Troops also arrested 37 perpetrators of oil theft. In the SS, troops denied oil theft of the estimated sum of Eight Hundred and Twenty One Million Two Hundred and Forty Eight  Thousand Seven Hundred and Forty Naira (N821,248,740.00) only.

“Furthermore, troops recovered 211 assorted weapons and 6,288 assorted ammunition. The breakdown as follows: 128 AK47 rifles, 26 dane guns among other items.  Others are: 1,301 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 3,260 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo,  1,325 live cartridges, 140 round of 9mm ammo among other items. 

“Troops in the Niger Delta area discovered and destroyed 99 dugout pits, 36 storage tanks and 192 cooking ovens. During the process the troops  recovered 349,970 litres of stolen crude oil, 112,135 litres of illegally refined AGO, 7,560 litres of DPK and 13,000 litres of PMS,” he said.

He added,”The military recognises that there is still a  challenging and tough war campaign still ahead . Overall, our objective is to defeat the terrorist and their cohorts by denying them the ability to continue to fight. 

“The lifeline of these terrorist groups is the people. Winning the war without the support of the people is close to impossible. It is for this reason, we encourage the civil populace and civil societies to galvanise  support in a whole of society approach to facilitate the total defeat of these terrorist. The time is now for citizens to know that they have a responsible to the nation. 

“For instance, a cursory look at our security situation shows that it is unique, in the sense of being self inflicted. Beginning with the Boko Haram Terrorist  in the NE. The illegal mining and kidnapping enterprise  in the NW and NC, these are perpetrated under the guise of terrorism. The agitation of IPOB in the SE have proven to be for self engrandisement. Then, the  call for a Yoruba Nation which is laughable. All these buttress how our security situation is self inflicted in the country. 

“These acts are against the constitution and therefore unacceptable for persons or groups to take up arms against a constituted  govrrnment. Anyone or group that contravenes this provision of the constitution is inviting severe military action and would be dealth with decisively. 

“Above all, the fighting spirit of our men and women in uniform is strong, resilient, focused, proud and committed . We understand that we have no choice but to continue to fight to defeat  the enemy and create a safer environment for citizens.” 

By Chimezie Godfrey

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