The presidency yesterday rolled out the result-oriented measures the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had taken in the last five months to address the security challenges facing the country.
While admitting that challenges were daunting, the presidency said that the federal government had risen to the occasion by coming up with prompt solutions to them.
In a statement issued by the special adviser on media to the president, Mr. Femi Adesina, he listed some of the security initiatives taken from January this year till date to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians in all parts of the country as including “Operation Puff Adder” by the Nigeria Police, “Operation HARBIN KUNAMA 3 (Nigerian Army) and Exercise EGWU EKE 111 (Nigerian Army).
He said that they were launched in 2019, to complement the existing “Operations Sharan Daji” (launched in 2016 by the Nigerian Army) and “Diran Mikiya” (launched 2018 by the Nigerian Air Force), adding all of these operations are focused on tackling banditry and criminality in the North West zone.
Adesina said that operation HARBIN KUNAMA 3 was launched on April 1, 2019 to ensure the complete defeat of the bandits fleeing military operations in Zamfara State and escaping into Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Niger and Sokoto States.
He said: “Hundreds of kidnappers and bandits have been arrested or killed since January, several camps/hideouts destroyed; and hundreds of hostages rescued. In a two-week operation in February (lasting from February 4 to February 14), 80 hostages were freed by the Nigerian Army, with 37 bandits killed.
“Aerial bombardments of bandits’ camps have been intensified in recent months. A new Air Force Base – the 271 Nigerian Air Force Detachment (271 NAF Det) – was commissioned at Birinin Gwari in Kaduna State in May 2019 to complement the 207 Quick Response Group (QRG) established in Gusau, Zamfara State in 2017,” Adesina stated.
He said that between January 2019 and the first week of May, 2019, a total of 270 suspected kidnappers, 275 suspected armed robbers were arrested, and 105 assorted weapons plus a large cache of ammunition recovered by the Nigeria Police within the states of the North West and North Central zone.
On April 5, the presidential spokesman recalled that the Nigeria Police launched “Operation Puff Adder”, a multi-agency strategy, in collaboration with the Nigerian armed forces and the Department of State Services (DSS) tailored towards ridding the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway, Kogi, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara States of all forms of crimes and criminality – kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, amongst others.
He said that on April 9, police operatives attached to “Operation Puff Adder” arrested three notorious criminals – Hanniel Patrick, Abdulwahab Isah and Salisu Mohammed – involved in the kidnap of Channels Television staff, Mr. Friday Okeregbe.
According to Adesina, On “April 10, officers of the ‘Operation Puff Adder’ killed nine notorious criminals on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway. Six AK-47 rifles, one Pump Action Gun, 1,206 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, seven magazines, 28 Cartridges and 158 expended shells were recovered from the criminals.
“On April 16, operatives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’ arrested one Mallam Salisu Abubakar, 48, a native of Dutsinma local government area of Katsina State. The mallam is a self-confessed spiritual father of kidnappers terrorising travellers on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway and parts of other North-West/NorthCentral states.
“Following the arrest of the kidnappers’ ‘spiritual father’, police detectives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’ arrested 18 notorious kidnappers and armed robbers at different times and places across the country. A total of 22 AK-47 rifles, five locally-fabricated pistols and a cache of live ammunition were recovered from the bandits.
“On May 5, operatives from ‘Operation Puff Adder’ rescued unhurt 27 kidnap victims including five Chinese nationals. The Chinese citizens who were earlier kidnapped on 15th April, 2019 in Bobi, Niger State were safely and successfully rescued from a forest in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State following painstaking investigative efforts, including both air and ground surveillance. Two of the kidnappers died from the injuries they sustained during the exchange of gun fire with the police in the course of the rescue mission. Twenty-two other kidnap victims were rescued in Zamfara State and other parts of the country, Adesina said.
The presidential aide added that on 8th January, the Army flagged off ‘Exercise EGWU EKE III’ in 8 Division Nigerian Army’s area of responsibility at 1 Battalion, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.
“On February 2, troops of 8 Division of the Nigerian Army on ‘Exercise EGWU EKE III’ in conjunction with other security agencies recovered dangerous weapons from criminals and political thugs in Sokoto State. This has really contributed immensely to a peaceful security situation in the state.
“On March 15, troops of 72 Special Forces Makurdi deployed in Yelwata, in Guma local government area, which is a border town between Benue and Nasarawa States, while on patrol along Yelwata-Kadarko Road engaged armed robbers in a gun battle, which resulted in the elimination of one of the armed robbers, while others took to their heels. The suspects were dressed in military desert camouflage and robbing motorists along the road.
“On 13th April, troops conducting ‘Operation Sharan Daji’ in Zamfara State killed 23 bandits and arrested 18 suspected informants, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and logistics suppliers to armed criminals in the state,” he said, adding that on 20th April, troops of Operation ‘HABIN KUNAMA III’ based on credible intelligence about bandits’ movements in Kirsa and Sunke in Anka local government area, Zamfara State continued with the clearance operation into the hinterland to clear the brigands, arresting 18 informants and recovering arms and motorcycles.”
Adesina said that on 22nd April, troops of 72 Special Forces (SF) Battalion Makurdi deployed for internal security operation in Katsina-Ala local government area, Benue State, averted a terrible clash between two Tiv clans-Shitile and Ikyora in the early hours of that day. They exterminated five mercenaries, recovered arms and ammunition.
He said: “On May 8, a patrol team of 1 Division of the Nigerian Army raided a bandits’ den at Gonan Bature East of Rijana and Kasarami Farm House in Chikun local government area ofKaduna State. The abandoned Kasarami Farm House was reportedly forcefully occupied by criminals and had been used as a shelter and a place where victims of kidnapping were kept.”
The same day, troops on Exercise “HARBIN KUNAMA III” arrested a notorious logistics supplier to bandits crouching between Jibia-Batsari axis – one Marwana Abubakar was arrested at Kwashabawa village in Jibia local government area of Katsina State.
Also on May 8, troops of 311 Artillery Regiment raided a suspected facility in Kontagora Township, Niger State. During the exercise, some weapons were discovered and recovered.
Adesina also hinted that on “19th January, NAF deployed a fighter aircraft along with support equipment, and a detachment of Special Forces (SF) personnel to Sokoto to f boost anti-banditry operations in the North West zone under ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’. The deployment is aimed at adding value to the efforts to deal with the spate of insecurity in some parts of Sokoto State and the border areas between Zamfara and Sokoto States.
“7th February – The Air Task Force (ATF) of ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ intensified the bombardment of armed bandits’ hideouts in Zamfara State and environs, after several camps being used by the bandits to launch attacks against innocent civilians were identified.
“21st February – NAF provided a mobile Jet A-1 fuelling facility to enable the refuelling of NAF helicopters that would operate out of the 23 Quick Response Wing (23 QRW) Nguroje. This will further enhance security on the Mambilla Plateau.
“12th March – In continuation of efforts to enhance security in Kaduna State and its environs, the NAF working with other security agencies, intensified aerial surveillance over identified hotspots and flashpoints in the state while sustaining its air patrol along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway. Some of the areas covered in the surveillance missions include Gonin Gora, Kajuru, Kujama, Kasuwar Maganin and surrounding settlements.
“31st March – A NAF Special Forces (SF) team operating in Zamfara State repelled attacks by armed bandits who attempted to invade Hayin Mahe and Hayin Kanawa Villages in Gusau local government area.
“8th April – The Air Task Force (ATF) for ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ renewed air offensive against armed bandits in Zamfara State and its environs. The air strikes are aimed at flushing out the bandits from their hideouts in Sububu, Rugu and Kagara Forests, amongst others, whilst ensuring the protection of the life and property of citizens in North West Nigeria.
“9th April – The ATF’s ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ neutralised dozens of armed bandits in Sector 2 Area of Operation in Zamfara State and also supported surface forces to move into the attacked areas to mop-up the fleeing survivors and recover their weapons. Some of the bandits fled across the border into Niger Republic.
“13th April – The ATF for ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ destroyed some logistics stores belonging to bandits at a location within Kagara Forest, Zamfara State. Some of the armed bandits who had fled their camps as a result of NAF’s earlier air strikes had relocated some logistics items, including fuel, motorcycles and local arms-making equipment to another location within Kagara Forest.
“16th April – In response to reports that high profile armed bandits were gathering around Rafi and Doka villages of Mada District in Gusau local government area of Zamfara State, which is under the Area of Responsibility (AOR) of the 207 Quick Response Group (207 QRG), a NAF Special Forces (SF) team was dispatched to the area to secure the two settlements.
“22nd April – The ATF for ‘Operation DIRAN MIKIYA’ neutralised about 10 armed bandits at Sububu Forest area in Zamfara State. This was achieved while the ATF was responding to a request for close air support by ground troops of Sector 7 Area of Responsibility of Operation SHARAN DAJI, who had come into contact with armed bandits in Shinkafi local government area.
“4th May – NAF commissioned the 271 Nigerian Air Force Detachment (271 NAF Det) at Birinin Gwari in Kaduna State. The detachment was established to serve as support base and a blocking force for troops in Operations DIRAN MIKIYA and SHARAN DAJI,” said.
Adesina noted that it is the constitutional duty and responsibility of the government to safeguard life and property, adding that “the Buhari administration remains committed to this, and despite recent spikes in the spate of crime and criminality, the evildoers will be beaten, and badly, too. The ravening clouds can never be victorious. Soon, they shall no longer possess the sky.”
Troops Kill 4 Terrorists, Recover Weapons In Borno
Meanwhile, troops of 121 and 192 Battalions of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in collaboration with Civilian JTF and local vigilantes in continuation with clearance operations have killed four Boko Haram terrorists and recovered arms and ammunition from them in Borno State.
The troops who cleared Surdewalla, Ranwa, Baladayo, Sabon Gari and Shetimeri villages of Borno State in a simultaneous operation code named “Operation HARD STRIKE” came in contact with the terrorists at Ranwa 11 and killed three in the gun battle that ensued while many escaped with wounds.
In a statement issued by the acting director Army Public Relations, Col Sagir Musa, he said that the troops of 192 Battalion at the same time advanced along Sabon Gari and Shetimeri villages where they cleared a scout of Boko Haram terrorists, adding that a make shift shelter for the suspected insurgents was destroyed.
The statement noted that on the same day, following credible intelligence, troops of 212 Tank Battalion under the operational command of 7 Division Garrison deployed at Forward Operation Base, Gajigana ambushed terrorists attempting to infiltrate Gajigana town/troops’ location.
He said that an unconfirmed number of terrorists were neutralised while two soldiers sustained injuries during the encounter, adding that the wounded soldiers are stable and receiving treatment in a military hospital.
Also, 177 Task Force Battalion in collaboration with the Civilian JTF cleared Mboa, Mboa-Kura, Yarchida, Bombula, Tshata and Bamzir villages.
While at Furfur village, the troops exchanged fire with the terrorists, which led to the death of one insurgents and the recovery of arms and ammunitions.
The recovered items included one AK-47 rifle, three magazines, 50 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and one magazine Bandollier
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Brig- Gen. Abdulmalik Bulama Biu, while on assessment visit to FOB Gajigana, enjoined the troops to remain decisive and intensify their efforts in eliminating the remnants of the terrorists.
He also conveyed the commendation of the Chief of Army Staff to them and the entire troops of the Theatre Command for the latest successes in the fight against terrorism.
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