The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said its troops operating across various theatres arrested 51 suspected criminals including terrorists, rescued 69 captives and neutralised 42 terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.
The acting director, Defence Media Operations, Brig Gen Benard Onyeuko, disclosed this during a briefing on the operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria covering July 16-29, 2021.
He said the troops also destroyed secessionist agitators’ hideouts, neutralised some and recovered arms and ammunitions in the South-East, adding that the troops have continued to maintain vigilance and dominate the zone with patrols to deter intending criminal activities.
In the fight against economic saboteurs, he said troops of Operation DELTA SAFE discovered and immobilised illegal refining sites with 24 ovens, 37 storage tanks laden with 120,000 litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 80,000 litres of illegally Automotive Gas Oil and 1,100 barrels of stolen crude oil.
He said the troops also arrested a large wooden boat laden ith 22,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosine or (Kerosine), five 45HP boat engines and two pumping machines.
Brig Gen Onyeuko said the 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.
Furthermore, troops of Operation AWATSE acting on credible intelligence carried out raid operation on criminals engaged in illegal oil bunkering activity at NNPC Pipeline Right of Way Sagamu by Toll Gate, Ogun State.
He said during the raid operation on the location, troops arrested three bunkerers with eight vehicles containing over 56 jerry cans of stolen Premium Motor Spirit and other oil products.
In a similar vein, troops arrested three vandals including their spy named Mr Bamidele from Ikotun, Lagos State.
In the North-East, troops of Operation HADIN KAI conducted several land and air operations at different locations of the theatre leading to the neutralisation of 16 BHT/ISWAPs as well as arrest of 29 of them, while 40 civilians were rescued.
He added that 17 Boko Haram Terrorists and their families comprising five female adults and 12 children were arrested at FOB Mayanti and Darajamel on July 15.
The troops also recovered one General Purpose Machine Gun, four 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.
In the North-West, he said troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI 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.
The 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,” he said
The troops also recovered seven AK-47 rifles, six motorcycles, assorted military and police uniforms, six vehicles and 4 machetes among other items.
The DHQ spokesman said 223 livestock were recovered while 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.
Further more, he said troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN responded to distress calls of armed bandits’ attacks on civilians, as well as incidents of kidnap, armed robbery and farmland destructions by herders’ cattle.
He said, “cumulatively, seven armed bandits and five armed robbers were neutralized and several others escaped with gunshot wounds, while 12 were arrested within the period.”
The troops also recovered 12 assorted rifles, a truck load of stolen railway tracks and sleepers were also recovered in the course of the operations.
Gen Onyeuko said the troops also rescued 17 kidnap victims from their abductors,adding that 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.
The director said troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE 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.
The troops also carried out rescue operations at Uttu village in Toto LGA of Nasarawa and Tsegbaka village in Utenge Council Ward of Benue State. He said the 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 five motorcycles, three pump actions one locally-made mortar tube, six Dane guns, three machetes and 62 assorted rounds of ammunition within the period.
“Similarly, 6 kidnappers were arrested and 12 kidnap victims were rescued by troops,” he said
In another development, troops of Operation WHIRL PUNCH/THUNDER STRIKE 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.
They also recovered two Dane guns, three AK-47 rifles, two locally fabricated rifles, three motorcycles and 23 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition as well as 16 livestock during the operations.
The Military High Command, therefore, commended the sacrifices of it troops in the various theatres of operations across the Country and urged the general public to continue to support military efforts by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements.