158 neutralized, 100 arrested, as Nigeria’s Armed Forces battle terrorists, bandits, kidnappers

General Leo Irabor, CDS

By TOM CHIAHEMEN, Abuja –

The efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies across the country have continued to pay-off, with the neutralization of 158 terrorist elements, armed bandits, kidnappers and criminals, as well as the arrest of 100 others in the past two weeks.

Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier-General Benard Onyeuko, who made this known at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja on Thursday, said the troops of the Armed Forces also recovered 109 assorted arms with a total of 818 rounds of ammunition, 295 rustled livestock, 26 motorcycles, 100 pinches and 825 wraps of heroin cannabis sativa.

Brigadier-General Onyeuko was briefing the press on the operational activities the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies who are conducting operations against all forms of criminalities across the country between 25 November   and 9 December 2021.

He further disclosed that a total of 43 kidnapped civilians and NPF personnel were rescued while 192 terrorists and their families comprising 51 adult males, 67 adult females and 74 children surrounded to the Nigeria troops within the period.

“The surrendered terrorists were properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions,” he added.

According to him, the troops extensively conducted multiple land, maritime and air operations at different locations of the various theatres of operation, with some of the operations resulting in the “decimation of criminals’ enclaves, neutralization and arrest of criminal elements’ as well as recovery of arms, ammunition and illegally refined and stolen petroleum products.”

Highlighting the operational activities of the various theatres, Brigadier-General Onyeuko noted that in Operation HADIN KAI, “troops’ operational activities within the last 2 weeks recorded significant results in the various operations they carried out,” including the fierce battle against BHT/ISWAP terrorists in Kala Balge LGA of Borno State on 3 December 2021 during with the troops subdued the terrorist elements with superior firepower and neutralized no fewer than 26 of them.

Additionally, he said, troops’ kinetic and non-kinetic operations have continued to drive the terrorists out of their camps into surrendering.

The troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI sustained its clearance operations within the last 2 weeks, including  the coordinated clearance operation carried out on 2 December 2021 at Ruwan Dawa, Garin Maza and Marke Yamma villages in Tsafe LGA of Zamfara State, against armed bandits, where some of them were neutralized as well as arms and ammunitions recovered.

He said the troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN within the period in focus conducted various operations, including raid operations on criminal elements’ hideouts as well as repelled kidnappers and gunmen attacks at different locations across the theatre.

“These operations cumulatively resulted in the arrest of a total of 43 armed bandits/collaborators and drug peddlers, rescue of 20 kidnapped civilians as well as recovery of 131 livestock, 12 assorted arms and 36 different calibers of ammunition among other items.

“In Operation WHIRL STROKE, troops’ operational efforts resulted in the neutralization and arrest of armed bandits and other criminal elements, recovery of arms and ammunition as well as rescue of kidnapped civilians. In addition, troops held peace and security meeting with critical stakeholders as non-kinetic means of tackling insecurity. One of these meetings was held at the Force Headquarters of Operation WHIRL STROKE in Makurdi. Issues discussed at the meeting centered on how to find lasting solutions to the security challenges,” he said.

According to Onyeuko, the general security situation in the Operation THUNDER STRIKE/WHIRL PUNCH theatres were relatively calm within the period in focus.

He noted however, that a few incidents of security concern were recorded, explaining that in the course of the operations within the period, troops intercepted and arrested criminal elements as well as recovered arms and ammunitions, notably, “on 3 December 2021, troops arrested a notorious armed bandit at Paka community in Igabi LGA of Kaduna State, who revealed that the Head of vigilantes in Rigasa aids armed banditry and is involved in some attacks and kidnap incidents in the environment. Other incidents with significant results were recorded at; Hayin Gada and Rugan Alhaji Ori villages in Igabi LGA of Kaduna State.”

“Furthermore, the Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE, within the period carried out air strikes against armed bandits at their enclaves. Notably, on 3 December 2021, following credible intelligence report and after careful aerial surveillance revealed activities of armed bandits east of Rijana village along Abuja – Kaduna Highway.

“Consequently, a force package of NAF’s platforms was dispatched to take out the criminal elements. The location, which the bandits use as logistics base and staging point, where they perpetrated their nefarious activities along the Highway, was decimated by successive air strikes that yielded devastating hits with heavy casualties.

“In Operation DELTA SAFE, troops sustained anti-illegal oil production operations and other non-kinetic operations to forestall activities of vandals and other economic saboteurs in the South – South Zone. Some of these operations were executed at different locations in villages, creeks and towns in Port Harcourt, Emouha, Ahoada East, Abua/Odual, Bonny, Onne, Ogba/Egbema/Andoni and Akukutoru LGAs of Rivers State. Other locations are villages, towns and creeks in; Warri South, Warri South-West and Ethiope East LGAs of Delta State,” he said.

Continuing, Brigadier-General Onyeuko said, “in the last 2 weeks, troops discovered and immobilized a total of 39 illegal refining sites, 73 ovens, 25 cooking pots/boilers, 18 cooling systems, 27 reservoirs, 39 large dugout pits and 89 storage tanks. Consequently, a total of One Million, Fourteen Thousand litres (1,014,000 ltrs) of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil; 50,500 litres of Dual-Purpose Kerosene and One Million, Eight Hundred and Eight Thousand, Five Hundred litres (1,808,500 ltrs) of stolen crude oil were recovered in the course of the operations.

“In addition, 18 criminals associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period. Also, troops recovered 6 assorted arms, 586 rounds of different caliber of ammunitions, 12 AK-47 rifle magazines as well as 278 pieces of galvanized pipes and 40 wooden boats used for illegal oil bunkering activities in the course of the operations. All the arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.

While commending the sacrifices of its troops in the various theatres of operation and saluting their courage and resilience towards achieving sustainable peace in the Country, the Military High Command also expressed appreciation to the general public and members of the press community for the cooperation given the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in the course of our operations

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