From Molly Kilete, Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) Abuja has said that military operations conducted across the country in the last two weeks has led to the killing of 42 terrorists, bandits and other criminals.
The operations conducted between July 16 and 29 according to the Acting Director, Defence Media Operation, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, also led to the arrest of 129 suspected terrorists, bandits, crude oil thieves, kidnappers while 105 kidnapped victims were rescued from their abductors.
Gen Onyeuko, updating the media on military operations conducted across the country, said soldiers working in conjunction with other security agencies in the county recovered several arms and ammunitions, IED making materials, motorcycles, wooden boats and other logistics used by criminals to protesters their evil acts in the week under review.
He said troops conducted various operations ranging from clearance, search and rescue, extensive air operations to dominate the airspace and provided close air support for ground troops.
Onyeuko, while noting that the operations yielded positive results, assured the public that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are seriously committed and are working assiduously to fight all forms of criminality for the unity of this Nation and will not relent in their efforts to achieve sustainable peace in the Country.
Giving an update of the operations, Gen Onyeuko said:
The Armed Forces of Nigeria have continued to maintain increased vigour and aggressive posture throughout all its operations in the various theatres. This is coupled with the Chief of Defence Staff’s non-kinetic engagements across the Country between 16 and 29 July 2021. Consequently, today’s brief will entail a summary of our kinetic and non-kinetic activities in the various theatres across the Country that yielded attendant results within the period under review.
OPERATION HADARIN DAJI
The operational engagements of Operation HADARIN DAJI within the period in focus include clearance, search and rescue as well as extensive air operations to dominate the airspace and provide of close air support for ground troops. These operations were conducted concurrently in different locations of the North West Zone; only incidents with significant results are highlighted.
Within the period, own troops responded to distress calls of bandits and armed militia groups’ attacks on civilians at Hanutaru and Dansadau villages in Maru LGA of Zamfara State; along Gusau – Sokoto Road. Troops also carried out rescue operations within the period at Bakori LGA of Katsina State; Eldabala village in Tangaza LGA and along Lamba Bakura – Dogo Karfe Road in Sokoto State.
Consequently, no fewer than 14 armed bandits were neutralised. Also, a total of 36 kidnapped victims were rescued within the period and troops assisted one of the victims to safe delivery of a baby during one of the encounters. A total of 7 AK-47 rifles, 6 motorcycles, assorted military and police uniforms, 6 vehicles and 4 machetes among other items were recovered within the period. Also, a total of 24 criminal elements were intercepted and arrested, including 16 bandits’ informants/collaborators and an impostor by name Faisal Saidu who paraded himself as Lance Corporal Saidu Abubakar. Furthermore, a total of 223 rustled livestock were recovered during the period.
OPERATION HADIN KAI
Within the period, troops of Operation HADIN KAI conducted several land and air operations at different locations of the theatre. These include robust clearance, ambush and road piquet operations as well as comprehensive air patrols to dominate the general area and neutralise terrorists as well as frustrate other criminal elements. Cumulatively, the operations led to the neutralisation of 16 BHT/ISWAPs as well as arrest of 29 of them, while 40 civilians were rescued. BHT and their families 5 female Adults and 12 children were arrested at FOB Mayanti and Darajamel on 15 Jul. Troops also recovered one General Purpose Machine Gun, 4 AK-47 rifles, 50 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and one belt containing 296 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, accessories for making IED among other items.
OPERATION SAFE HAVEN
In Operation SAFE HAVEN, troops conducted several kinetic and non-kinetic operations concurrently at various locations in Plateau, Bauchi and Kaduna States. Within this period, troops responded to distress calls of armed bandits’ attacks on civilians, as well as incidents of kidnap, armed robbery and farmland destructions by herders’ cattle. These operations were conducted at Ungwan Jabba, Ungwan Rohogo village in Zangon Kataf LGA of Kaduna State; Rafiki village in Bassa LGA as well as Kerang and Panyam villages in Mangu LGA of Plateau State. Other locations where some incidents were recorded are Penjum and Magamiya villages in Zango Kataf LGA of Kaduna State. Other areas include Godogodo District; Kafanchan Town and Kyayya village, all in Jama’a LGA as well as Numbu village in Sanga LGA, Kaduna State.
Raid operations were also conducted on some Sara Suka members’ hideouts and other Village in Wase LGA of Plateau State. Cumulatively, 7 armed bandits and 5 armed robbers were neutralised and several others escaped with gunshot wounds, while 12 were arrested within the period. A total 12 assorted rifles, a truck load of stolen railway tracks and sleepers were also recovered in the course of the operations. More so, a total of 17 kidnap victims were also rescued from their abductors within the period. All arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed-over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further necessary action, while rescued victims have been reunited with their families.
In a related development, peace and security meetings were also held in various parts of the state with community heads, youth leaders and relevant stake holders. Troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operations with aggressive fighting and air patrols to deny criminal elements freedom of action within the operation SAFE HEAVEN theatre of operations.
OPERATION WHIRL STROKE
Troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE within the period simultaneously conducted several operations in different locations in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States. These include foot and clearance patrols in various communities, aimed at denying armed bandits and other criminal elements freedom of action and boosting confidence of locals as they go about their daily activities. Significantly, troops responded to distress calls on bandits’ attacks as well as youths’ clash over land dispute at Kyegba village in Takum LGA of Taraba State and Ogundu village in Guma LGA of Benue State on 15 and 16 July 2021, respectively. Troops also carried out rescue operations at Uttu village in Toto LGA of Nasarawa and Tsegbaka village in Utenge Council Ward of Benue State. Troops’ swift response during the incidents forced the armed bandits to flee in disarray as well as brought the conflict situation under control. Cumulatively, troops recovered a total of 5 motorcycles, 3 pump actions one locally-made mortar tube, 6 Dane guns, 3 machetes and 62 assorted rounds of ammunition within the period. Similarly, 6 kidnappers were arrested and 12 kidnap victims were rescued by troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE within the period under review. Troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operations with standing and fighting patrols to deny armed groups freedom of action.
OPERATION WHIRL PUNCH/THUNDER STRIKE
Troops of Operation WHIRL PUNCH/THUNDER STRIKE have continued to sustain piquet operations as well as highway, clearance, fighting and confidence building patrols within its area of responsibility. Within the period in focus, troops provided security on Kaduna-Abuja and Kaduna-Birnin Gwari highways and vulnerable routes to deny armed militiamen and herdsmen freedom of action as well as deter criminal elements in the theatre of operation. Effectively, on 18 July 2021, own troops tracked and arrested a notorious criminal named Mr Simon Unande, who supplies military uniforms and accoutrements to militia gangs in parts of Benue and Taraba States. Troops also carried out operations at Unguwan Mashaya in Mararaban Gassol, in Gassol LGA of Taraba State and around Sabon Gayan Village in Chikun LGA of Katsina State. Within the period, a total of 2 Dane guns, 3 AK-47 rifles, 2 locally fabricated rifles, 3 motorcycles and 23 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition as well as 16 livestock were recovered during the operations. The arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary action, while rescued persons have been reunited with their families. Troops have continued to sustain their operational tempo with its area of responsibility.
OPERATION DELTA SAFE
Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE conducted series of anti-crude oil theft, anti-illegal bunkering, anti-illegal oil refining, anti-smuggling and anti-militancy operations. These operations recorded significant successes in some locations. These include Isaka Community in Okrika LGA; along Oyenda Creek in Andoni LGA; Alagba Community and Cawthorne Channel all in Rivers State. Other locations include; Hununu Creek in Akasa Community, Bayelsa State; Madagh Creek in Warri South LGA and Opugbene Community in Warri South/West LGA of Delta State. During the operations, troops discovered and immobilised illegal refining sites with a total of 24 ovens, 37 storage tanks laden with a total of 120,000 litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit, 80,000 litres of illegally Automotive Gas Oil and 1,100 barrels of stolen crude oil. Troops also arrested a large wooden boat laden with 22,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosine or (Kerosine), five 45HP boat engines and 2 pumping machines. Troops have remained on high alert and sustained intensive land, maritime and air patrols to provide security for critical maritime infrastructure in the Operation DELTA SAFE area of responsibility.
Troops of Operation AWATSE within the period in focus sustained their operational tempo against economic saboteurs and other criminal elements within the South West Zone of the Country. On 20 July 2021, troops of Operation AWATSE, acting on credible atintelligence carried out raid operation on criminals engaged in illegal oil bunkering activity at NNPC Pipeline Right of Way Sagamu by Toll Gate, Ogun State. During the raid operation on the location, troops arrested 3 bunkerers with 8 vehicles containing over 56 jerry cans of stolen Premium Motor Spirit and other oil products. Similarly, on 24 and 25 July, troops simultaneously conducted routine patrols and sting operations at Arepo and Majidun Communities in Lagos State to forestall pipeline vandals’ activities and other economic saboteurs. During the operations troops arrested 3 vandals including their spy named Mr Bamidele from Ikotun, Lagos State. Troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operation with land, maritime and air patrols to protect Nigeria’s economic infrastructures in the Zone.
In a renewed effort by the Armed Forces to end the menace of Indigenous People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network in the South East Zone of the Country, own troops based on credible intelligence conducted a raid operation on a notorious camp of the group at Akpawfu Community in Nkanu East LGA of Enugu State. A combined team of security operatives raided the camp and neutralised some of their members and recovered some arms and ammunition in the process. In a another development a new ESN hideout at Ihiala in Anambra State used in the production of explosives was discovered and destroyed by the security forces within the period under review. Troops have continued to maintain vigilance and dominate the Zone with patrols to deter intending criminal activities.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General LEO Irabor has continued consultations with retired senior military officers of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the various geopolitical zones of the Country as a way of leveraging on their experience and feel their pulse on the security challenges in their local communities. Consequently, on 19 July 2021 the Chief of Defence Staff had a no-holds bared interaction with retired senior officers from the North West Zone in Kaduna. Furthermore, on 22 July 2021, he took the security parley to the South East which was held at Owerri, Imo State. During both interactions with retired senior officers the CDS assured the people of the Zones of his commitment towards improved security in the Country. He maintained that the retired senior officers are the most qualified in the matrix of peace and security of the nation. He also noted that having served and now live in the various communities, they know the misperception on the security challenges in the Country. He encouraged the military veterans to see it as their responsibility to make stakeholders understand what is at stake in the quest for security, peace and unity of our dear Country. The CDS re-emphasised the dynamic synergy between the Nigerian military and other security agencies to address the security challenges in the Country
Gentlemen of the press, from the updates so far, there is no gain saying, as it is obvious that members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies are seriously committed and are working assiduously to fight all forms criminality for the unity of this Nation and will not relent in their efforts to achieve sustainable peace in the Country. The Military High Command commends the enormous sacrifices of our troops in the various theatres of operations across the Country. The general public and the press community are highly appreciated and also encouraged to continue to support our efforts by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements.