The Military High Command has reassured Nigerians of its “untiring” commitment towards securing the country against terrorism and other forms of criminality.
It charged the troops and personnel of other security agencies to remain determined and sustain the tempo in all the Joint Operations Areas, while enjoining 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”.
Giving update on military operations during the weekly media parley with Defence Correspondents, the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, noted the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have continued their major operations across the country with vigour, adding that “the various operations have progressed satisfactorily in all the theatres”.
In the North West zone, Enenche, remarked that “troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI and other subsidiary operations have sustained their operations in the North West zone of the country aggressively. The gallant troops within the period carried out series of clearance operations, ambushes and aerial patrols”.
According to him: “on 15 November 2020, troops of Operation ACCORD while on night patrol at Yar Tasha village made contact with armed bandits and engaged them in firefight. During the encounter, 3 armed bandits were neutralized while others escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds. Three AK 47 rifles were recovered during the operation.
“Same day, troops deployed at Ungwan Doka, rescued one kidnapped victim named Adamu Yahaya. Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim was kidnapped at Unguwar Sa’ida village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State. The victim has been reunited with his family”.
He continued: “in a related development, within the period in focus, following credible intelligence on the presence of kidnappers in Garin Arawa of Tangaza Local Government Area of Sokoto State. Troops immediately mobilized to the village and made contact with kidnappers. In the course of the encounter, one kidnapper was killed in contact while others escaped with gunshot wounds. Items recovered include; one AK47 rifle, one magazine and one motorcycle.
“Equally, troops deployed at Jibia arrested 2 suspected kidnappers named Malam Ismail Isah and Malam Sale Samaila at Tsembe Kolumbo village in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State. Suspects are currently in custody for further investigation. Similarly, one suspected bandit named Bello Ardo from Yargoje town in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State was arrested on 16 November 2020. He is currently in custody undergoing investigation.
“Earlier, on 14 November 2020, based on actionable intelligence that suspected bandits invaded Kura village in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State, troops of Forward Operating Base Kwatarkwashi swiftly mobilized to the area and made contact with them.
“After exchange of fire, the bandits escaped into the bush in disarray and abandoned two kidnapped victims named Hajiya Sakina and Zahru who were rescued by troops.
“Relatedly, three suspected bandits named Abdulmumini Maidoka, Lawal Abdullahi and Sanusi Abdullahi Ja’e were arrested by troops at Majafa village. Same day , based on credible information that a suspected bandit was sighted at Kukar Samu village in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State, troops moblised to the scene and arrested two suspected bandits’ collaborators named Nura Ibrahim and Abdullahi Yusuf while trying to escape with motorcycle belonging to bandits who fled on sighting troops. One Sabe Iliya from Muniya village in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State was also apprehended while pretending to be a farmer but was identified by locals as bandit’s informant”.
Enenche added further that, “for air operations, Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE neutralized several armed bandits in the Kwiambana Forest area of Kaduna State. The operation, which took place on 12 November 2020, was executed sequel to reports that close to a hundred bandits carrying high calibre weapons, mounted on motorcycles rustled a large number of cattle and other livestock from Dankolo and Machitta Villages.
“The bandits and the rustled livestock were subsequently spotted by a Nigerian Air Force aircraft on reconnaissance mission at Kaboru village heading towards Kwiambana Forest. The Air Component therefore dispatched a NAF attack helicopter to the location which engaged the target area, leading to the neutralization of several of the bandits.
“The gallant troops have continued to dominate the general area with aggressive, confidence building and aerial patrols to deny bandits freedom of action. Thus, the locals are requested to cooperate with the security agencies and avail them with the necessary information that will be useful to our collective objective of taking out the criminals from the zone”.
Meanwhile, in the North East zone, Enenche, disclosed that “several land and air operations were conducted by the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies with significant results. Between 12 and 18 November 2020, our gallant troops adopted sustained vigilance and offensive postures through comprehensive ground and air operations, successfully.
“Within this period, our ground troops conducted aggressive clearance operations and fighting patrols while, air operations include; comprehensive aerial surveillance missions, offensive air interdiction missions and air strikes.
“The ground operations resulted in the deletion of some terrorists, apprehension of IED maker and recovery of caches of arms and ammunition as well as equipment. Troops also repelled and foiled several BHT/ISWAP attacks on own locations within the period.
“Notably, within the period, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE under its subsidiary Operation FIRE BALL, while on fighting patrol, came in contact with BHT elements at Ladantar general area in Borno State. During the encounter, the gallant troops with overwhelming firepower cleared the terrorists’ hideout and neutralized 2 of their fighters, while others fled in disarray. In the process, an IED maker was captured alongside some IED making equipment as well as arms and ammunition.
“In another development, troops successfully repelled terrorists’ attack on own troops’ location at Gwoza Town in Borno State, where one of their fighters was neutralized. Similarly, on 12 November 2020, troops successfully foiled terrorists’ attack on own location with superior firepower, also in Gwoza Town, forcing them to escape with various gunshot wounds. Arms and ammunition were captured”.
He also hinted that, “in the same vein, the Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have continued with successful operations. With the use of appropriate force packages of Nigerian Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships, the Air Task Force executed successive bomb and rocket runs, on targeted terrorists’ enclaves at various locations in the North East zone. Some of these were executed at Njimia and Dure village areas in the Sambisa Forest of Borno State on 12 November 2020.
“During the air strikes, terrorists’ hideouts were knocked out and some of their fighters were neutralized. Equally, on 14 November 2020, the Air Task Force inflicted heavy casualties on some BHT elements at Goba village and Sambisa, South of Borno State, where several terrorists were spotted. Multiple air strikes were executed on the locations and the devastating hits from the air strikes led to the killing of scores of the terrorists.
“Several of the terrorists’ logistics facilities were destroyed by the devastating hits from the air strikes, while many of their fighters fled in disarray.
“The Military High Command commends the gallant troops for their resilience, doggedness and commitment during the encounters. The general public is hereby assured of the determination of the High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to rout out the criminal elements from the North East”.
In the North Central Zone, he stated that, “in continuation of intensive kinetic operations against armed bandits and other criminals in the North Central zone, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE conducted raids at identified criminals’ hideouts successfully.
“On 13 November 2020, troops in conjunction with Nigeria Police personnel raided some suspected criminal hideouts in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State. The successful operation led to the arrest of nine members of a robbery syndicate responsible for terrorizing the inhabitants of the Mangu- Panyam general area.
“This was followed by another raid on a suspected kidnappers/armed robbers’ hideout at Daron Gyel community in Jos South Local Government Area on 14 November 2020. Troops stormed the location and apprehended 3 suspects Titus Eliashe, Bahal Manjul and Choji Elisha.
“Additionally, on 16 November 2020, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE, conducted a dawn raid at a suspected militias hideout around Kwaghaondo village in Chachanji council ward of Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State. The raid was conducted following actionable intelligence on the possible regrouping of some criminal elements in the general area.
“The successful dawn raid led to the arrest of one suspect identified as Barnabas Tortsea. He is currently undergoing preliminary investigation after which he will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further action.
“Similarly, acting on credible intelligence report on the whereabout of criminal elements in parts of Tongov council ward of Katsina Ala Local Government Area of Benue State, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE conducted another dawn raid on the suspected criminals’ hideouts. Troops engaged the criminals with superior firepower, forcing them to flee into the surrounding bushes with fatal injuries. Following a careful search of the hideout, troops recovered one locally made Sub-Machine Gun and one locally made pistol.
“Furthermore, on 16 November 2020, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE, responded swiftly to distress calls from locals at Mzu village in Saghev council ward of Guma Local Government Area on the killing of one Mnguga by some hoodlums in the area. Troops mobilized to the scene and pursued the fleeing assailants. Troops successfully apprehended one John Aho and Tericaa Ayiutsa in the process.
“Following preliminary interrogation, the suspects led the troops to a shallow grave where they exhumed the remains of the victim. The two suspects are currently undergoing further interrogation after which they will be handed over to the police for prosecution.
“As part of concerted Civil Military Cooperation activities to cultivate cordial relations with the various ethnic groups in the North-Central zone, the Headquarters of Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE fostered security meetings at various localities in the zone.
“Notably, on 12 November 2020, Headquarters operation SAFE HAVEN fostered peace meetings with heads of security agencies, village heads, and leaders of various groups at Miango in Bassa and Shendam Local Government
Can of Plateau State respectively. This was followed by another round of meetings on 13 November 2020 at Sho village in Barkin Ladi and Ganawuri community in Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State respectively.
“Similarly, Headquarters Operation WHIRL STROKE held stakeholder meetings in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State and Keana Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. These meetings were organized in continuation of peace and reconciliation efforts in the zone. The meetings focused extensively on farmers/herders clashes, kidnapping, farm encroachment/destruction and other security challenges in the zone”.
Meanwhile in the South-South zone, troops have intensified the fight against economic Sabotage, Enenche revealed.
“Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have sustained the fight against economic sabotage in the zone with significant results. Within the period, troops of 29 Battalion discovered and immobilized 2 illegal refining sites and wooden boat loaded with crude oil at Tupsoi general area in Ogu-Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“Equally, troops of 146 Battalion immobilized illegal refining sites containing 6 boilers, one 8 HP engine and 7 storage tanks loaded with crude oil and illegally refined AGO around Orutoru in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State. Similarly, troops of 3 Battalion intercepted a Toyota Sequoia loaded with unspecified quantities of refined AGO along Alele in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
“On 16 November 2020, Forward Operating Base IBAKA gunboats on routine patrol around Mbo River intercepted 2 medium size wooden boats laden with 68 bags of 50 kg parboiled foreign rice suspected to have been smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon. The items are currently in custody to be handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service for necessary action”, Enenche explained.
Eneche also added that, “troops of 146 Battalion discovered and immobilized 2 reactivated illegal refineries containing unspecified quantity of illegally refined AGO at Samkiri in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State. Troops of 29 Battalion also intercepted two locally made boats conveying substance suspected to be crude oil along Ibaa/Rumuji Waterways in Emohua Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“Also, within the period, Operations CALM WATERS II and SWIFT RESPONSE recorded successes. About 321 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice as well as 2 suspects were arrested and handed over to Nigeria Customs Service. Other items intercepted were 2 wooden boats and a speedboat laden with 21,600 litres of petroleum products”.