Troops of the Nigerian Army yesterday killed 14 bandits, rustlers and kidnappers.
They also rescued 31 persons and recovered 18 AK47 rifles during its ongoing ‘Operation 777.’
The acting director, Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim, disclosed this while briefing military correspondents on the achievements of the ongoing ‘Operation 777’ at the headquarters, 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Kaduna.
He added that two vigilantes lost their lives in the process, while two soldiers were wounded and are currently receiving treatment at the military hospital, Kaduna.
According to Agim, a total of 31 persons, comprising 18 children and 13 adults, were rescued from kidnappers while 522 cows and 42 sheep were recovered from rustlers within the area of operation.
He said: “Since the commencement of ‘Operation 777’ on October 8, 2018, significant and modest operational successes have been recorded across the nation.
“Under operation Whirl Punch, 1 Division NA is tasked with providing security and restoring normalcy along Kaduna – Abuja highway and Birnin Gwari and its environs, as well as Niger State, which were hitherto devastated by the activities of bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers and cattle rustlers.
“In preparation for the conduct of the operations, additional platforms, establishment of new military/police formations/units and injection of more troops were carried out by the Defence Headquarters to ensure the success of this operation.
“There is Nigerian Army Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Birnin Gwari, which will soon metamorphose into 98 Bn in line with 2016 NA Order of Battle (ORBAT). The Nigerian Air Force also plans to establish FOB to support Operation Whirl Punch in Birnin Gwari general area, Niger State, and the entire operation Whirl Punch area of responsibility.
“The troops of 1 Division NA, Nigerian Air Force aircraft, police and other security agencies are conducting series of raids, ambushes, patrols, road blocks and air strikes against the identified camps/hideouts of bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements within the operational areas.
“So far, in this operation, 14 notorious bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers have been neutralised. Likewise, several assorted sophisticated arms, ammunition and large herds of cattle have been recovered from the bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers.”
He listed items recovered from the bandits to include 18 AK47 rifles, two pistols, four mobile phones and a large cache of ammunition as well as 32 motorcycles.
The troops also recovered over 331 cows from rustlers in Birnin Gwari and 132 cows in Birnin Yero area, just they recovered 49 cows and 42 sheep along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, all of which, the acting director said, had been handed over to their owners.
Brigadier-General Agim further stated that a total of 31 persons (18 children and 13 adults) were rescued from kidnappers within the area of operation, during which five bandits and two informants were arrested and undergoing interrogation.
He asserted that through these special operations, relative peace had been restored, thereby creating a safe and conducive atmosphere for socio-economic activities to thrive.
“It is evident that, now, the local traders, motorists, residents of villages/settlements in these general areas are conducting their businesses mostly unmolested. The return of relative peace and security was made possible through joint operations and synergy of efforts by the security agencies and cooperative posture of the locals and vigilante groups,” he concluded.