Agaju Madugba, Katsina

The Nigerian Army says troops of Operation Sahel Sanity have stepped up operations against bandits and other criminals in the North-West.

‘The troops have continued to push into remote and hitherto inaccessible areas due to unfavourable terrain with devastating effect on the marauding criminals,’ the Army said in a press statement on Sunday.

The statement signed by the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier-General Benard Onyeuko, listed the arrest of a bandits’ leader along with a suspected drug baron who supplies bandits with assorted drugs, as some of the major successes the troops recorded in recent times.

According to the statement:

‘Between 4-9 October 2020, combined troops of Operation Sahel Sanity, elements of 17 Brigade and Sector 9 Operation Hadarin Daji conducted a combined aggressive clearance operation to identified bandits’ enclaves at Dankar, Kandawa, Yau Yau, Hayin Yau Yau, Bugaje, Zandam, Kwari Mai Zurfi, Yar Gamji, Bukuru and Jibiyawa in Batsari and Jibiya local government areas of Katsina State leading to the neutralisation of three bandits, while many others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.

‘Similarly, in a covert operation based on credible intelligence, four suspected bandits were arrested at Kankara and Tudu villages of Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State including a suspected bandit leader named Mujitafa Shehu.

‘In the aftermath of the encounter, the gallant troops captured one AK 47 magazine loaded with 25 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and one dane gun belonging to the fleeing bandits while one bandit’s motorcycle and eight bandits’ hideouts were destroyed.

‘In another development, on 5 October 2020, troops deployed at Forward Operation Base Bena in Wasagu-Danko Local Government Area of Kebbi State, in conjunction with troops of 223 Battalion deployed at Wasagu and Unashi rescued two kidnapped victims during a clearance operation to identified bandits hideout at Dan Umaru, Rancho and Dan Duniya villages.

‘Many of the bandits managed to escape with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.

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‘The rescued victims have since been reunited with their families amid jubilation by locals.

‘Also, on the same day, following a tip-off, troops of Forward Operation Base Jengebe, arrested a suspected drug peddler, one Mubarak Shehu at Jengebe check point in Wanki district of Gusau Local Government Area.

‘The suspect was caught with 20 packets of pentazocine injection concealed in his motorcyle while on transit to deliver the items at Kungurmi village of Bungudu LGA.

‘Preliminary investigation revealed the drug baron is a member of the cartel that supplies hard drugs to bandits in the forest.

‘In a related development, on 6 October 2020, troops deployed at Yar Santa in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State rescued a female Kidnapped victim.

‘The rescued victim has been reunited with her family. Furthermore, troops raided and destroyed bandits’ camps during a clearance operation at Garin Inu, Shekewa forest, Jajaye, Kerewa, Solar, Mallamawa and Gobirawa in Katsina State. Items recovered during the operation include two dane guns and assorted items.

‘The gallant troops of Operation Sahel are commended for the remarkable successes achieved in the intensified operation and their commitment to duty.

‘They are further urged not to rest on their oars until banditry and other sundry crimes are totally eliminated in the North-West.

‘While the people of the North-West are once more assured of troops commitment to the safety of lives and property within the zone, they are equally encouraged to continue to avail the troops with credible information that will assist them in the operation.’