No fewer than 67 bandits have been killed and several others injured in a series of airstrikes in Katsina State.
The Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, who disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday, said the operation was executed by the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji at Birnin Kogo Forest.
He also confirmed the killing of about 15 armed bandits at Ajjah Forest in Zamfara State, adding that both airstrikes were carried out on November 23.
“No fewer than 67 bandits, armed with very high calibre weapons, including Anti-Aircraft (AA) Guns, have been neutralised and several others injured in air interdiction missions executed by the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI at Birnin Kogo Forest in Katsina State,” the statement partly read.
“In the same vein, about 15 armed bandits were eliminated in airstrikes conducted by the Air Component at Ajjah Forest in Zamfara State.
“Both airstrikes were carried out yesterday, 23 November 2020, sequel to credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports as well as aerial surveillance missions that led to the identification of the two forest hideouts, which housed scores of the armed bandits along with hundreds of rustled cattle.”
Enenche explained that the “Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets and helicopter gunships dispatched by the Air Component to attack the two locations took turns in engaging the target areas, scoring accurate hits on the caves, which are used by the armed bandits to shield themselves from airstrikes.”
Meanwhile, the Military High Command has commended “the troops and other security agencies operating in the northwest zone for their professionalism,” urging them to remain resolute in order to eradicate all armed bandits.
The Command also called on members of the public within the affected areas to promptly report any persons with suspicious injuries to the nearest security or law enforcement agency post.
At least two people have been killed after bandits attacked Maiginginya village in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The bandits, according to the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, attacked the community in the early hours of Monday, November 21, killing two people while two others were injured.
He disclosed that troops of the Operation Thunder Strike (OPTS) late Monday night successfully repelled armed bandits attack on the Kaduna-Abuja Road.
Aruwa explained that the bandits appeared along the pipeline axis of Kakau general area in an attempt to strike when the troops engaged and repelled them with superior firepower.
He said that many of the bandits escaped into the forest with gunshot wounds, having been denied freedom of action.
Channels Television learned that when the troops cleared the road for traffic, a driver was hit by the bandits who were fleeing the location, while two commercial buses ran into a ditch resulting in some passengers sustaining injuries.
The Commissioner also said that security agencies foiled a similar bandits attack in the early hours of Tuesday along the Zaria-Funtua Road in Giwa local government, adding that security operatives were still carrying out aggressive patrols in the general area.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai has commiserated with the families of the deceased, praying for the repose of their souls and wishing the injured speedy recovery.
While praising the troops for the bravery and courage exhibited in repelling the bandits, El-Rufai said the Kaduna State Government is in constant touch with the Federal Government, Military, Police, Department of State Services and relevant security agencies towards enhancing security of life and property in the state.
Troops of the Nigerian Army have foiled an attack by some bandits on Sabon Birni community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State
This is according to the State Commissioner of Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr. Samuel Aruwan who said the foiled attack was based on information obtained from the military.
Speaking when he led heads of security agencies to Sabon Birni on a confidence-building meeting with the locals on Sunday, Aruwan commended the troops for successfully foiling the coordinated attacks by bandits on Saturday night.
Last week, no fewer than 11 people were killed in the Sabon Birnin community of Igabi local government area of Kaduna state.
Having had a field day in the first attack, the bandits staged a comeback on Saturday night, but this time, they were repelled by troops of the Nigerian Army, some of them escaping with bullet wounds from the troops’ superior firepower.
However, despite the foiled attack by soldiers, residents of the area are yet to overcome the shock and are therefore demanding more security personnel to the community.
During the meeting with the community leaders drawn from the Sabon Birnin general area, the commissioner solicited their support and cooperation for troops and all the personnel working in the fight against banditry and kidnapping, noting that it is only through such collaboration with security agencies that the war will be won.
The police spokesperson said two people died on Friday while the third person was confirmed dead on Saturday.
The police have since commenced an investigation to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous act.
In reaction to the incident, the Senator representing Kaduna Central, Uba Sani has condemned the killing, describing it as inhuman.
Senator Sani condoled with the families of the deceased and vowed that the days of the bandits and kidnappers in Kaduna State are numbered.
He assured that the State Government has redoubled its efforts to ensure the safety and security of the people of Rigasa and the entire Kaduna State.
He, however, says that overcoming the security challenges requires the support of the people in the area of intelligence gathering, noting that Bandits and kidnappers are not ghosts, but human beings who live in the midst of the people.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Army, Abdulrazak Namdas, has asked the Federal to increase the funding for the Nigerian Army.
Namdas made this call on Friday during a visit to Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri at the Government House in Yenagoa, adding that bandits have more budget when compared to the Army.
He also lamented that the Army is overstretched and the low budgetary allocations are not helping to boost the fight against terrorism and other security challenges in the country.
“I can tell you on record that the appropriation we have been doing at the National Assembly is really too low for the Army,” he said.
“In 2020 budget, only 34 billion was meant for the capital component. Remember out of this 34 billion, only 50 per cent was implemented meaning only N17 billion was made available to the Nigerian Army for capital.
“That is to say N17 billion needed to procure arms, new vehicles, to build infrastructure, build barracks. In fact, even bandits have more budget than the Nigerian Army the way things are happening.
“If we are to prosecute this war and we are serious about it, we are to do more funding than the Army.”
Namdas’ remarks come a week after the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, called for an improved budgetary allocation to the Nigerian Army.
Ndume who visited the 8th Division Nigeria Army Headquarters Sokoto on November 4 said: “If you check the budget, what they have this year is about N120billion which is grossly inadequate at the time of war.”
“You can’t be in a state of war and you are budgeting less than one percent for the capital of the Nigerian Army.
“It is from that money they are supposed to go to their barracks, buy arms, repair their ammunitions. It doesn’t just add up.”
Zamfara State Governor, Bello Matawalle, has secured the release of 26 girls abducted by bandits.
The Special Adviser to the governor on Public Enlightenment, Media, and Communications, Zailani Bappa, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.
Governor Matawalle who received the rescued girls following their release insisted that dialogue with bandits was still very relevant in the fight against banditry.
He stressed that his administration would not abandon the peace dialogue with bandits as firepower alone cannot solve the problem of banditry in Zamfara and other states facing similar challenges.
“This is a testimony to our vision for engaging the bandits in peace dialogue,” the governor was quoted as saying in the statement.
He added, “For those who believe we are wrong to dialogue with the bandits, the securing of these minors who are all girls and unhurt, is indeed, priceless”.
All the girls, who are minors and are indigenes of Katsina State, are said to have regained freedom without the payment of any ransom.
They were kidnapped by bandits in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State and brought into the bushes of Zamfara State.
According to the statement, the victims were miraculously discovered by the Zamfara State government and got released through negotiations.
The negotiations held under the Commissioner Of Police and Commissioner for Security and Home Affairs in Zamfara, who have been in constant dialogue with bandits on behalf of the state government on the need to embrace peace and live a normal life.
The 26 rescued girls, whose ages range between eight and 12, were medically checked and provided with new clothes while Governor Matawalle ordered their safe return to Katsina.
This brings the total number of those released by bandits in Zamfara in the last one week to at least 40.
Troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies are again renewing their commitment to ending insurgency, banditry, and other sundry crimes in the country.
This is according to the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, who briefed reporters on Thursday in Abuja on the activities of the military in the fight against insurgency and banditry.
He disclosed that in the last five days, the land component of Operation Lafiya Dole repelled terrorist attacks on troops’ location at Army Super Camp, Damboa in Borno State.
Enenche noted that this led to the death of 22 insurgents who succumbed to the superior power of the Air Task Force.
He added that troops killed three bandits at Diskuru village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The DHQ spokesperson stated that some other bandits fled in disarray with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
He said during the exploitation phase, the bodies of two more bandits were discovered along their withdrawal route while three abducted women and their infants were rescued.
Enenche regretted that a brave soldier paid the supreme price in an attempt to save one of the rescued nursing mothers in the heat of the encounter.
He stressed the need for residents to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that would assist them in the operations.
The DHQ spokesperson also gave an update on the series of military operations carried out in the north-central and south-southern parts of the country.
Read the full text of the briefing below:
GENERAL UPDATE ON ARMED FORCES OF NIGERIA OPERATIONS FROM 30 OCTOBER – 4 NOVEMBER 2020
The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have continued their major operations across the country with attendant results. This briefing will cover from 30 October – 4 November 2020.
In continuation of intensive clearance operations in the North-West zone of the country, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have continued to record serial successes against armed bandits with significant results. The period in focus witnessed a decline in criminal activities in the zone.
However, within the period under review, troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY reacted swiftly to a distress call about bandit’s activities that attacked Diskuru village in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State.
The gallant troops engaged the criminals in a fierce firefight forcing them to withdraw in disarray while three bandits were neutralised by the troops as several others escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
During the exploitation phase, two additional bandits’ bodies were discovered along their withdrawal route. Equally, three women and their infants earlier kidnapped by the bandits were rescued.
Regrettably, one brave soldier paid the supreme price in an attempt to save one of the rescued nursing mothers in the heat of the encounter.
In the same vein, troops deployed at Dan Ali village arrested two suspected bandits’ collaborators namely Samaila Usman and Idi Bello.
Similarly, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI arrested two suspected bandits’ collaborators at Yarkirya village and Kankara Market in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.
On 31 October 2020, Forward Operating Base KANGO patrol team arrested two suspected bandits at Kango village in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Deducing from the above successes, it is clear that troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies are committed in their endeavour to end banditry and other sundry crimes in the country.
While the good people of the North West are once again assured of Armed Forces of Nigeria’s commitment to the safety of lives and property within the zone, they are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist them in the operations.
In the North-East zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria working together with other security agencies have continued to sustain the onslaught against the insurgents.
Within the period under review, troops recorded appreciable successes as several terrorists were neutralised, while many were arrested with caches of arms and ammunition.
Between 30 October and 4 November 2020, troops conducted comprehensive ground and air operations.
Within the period, the Land Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE under its subsidiary Operation FIREBALL exhibited its operational readiness and repelled terrorists’ attacks on troops’ location at Army Super Camp, Damboa in Borno State.
Scores Of Fighters Neutralised
With superior firepower and support from the Air Task Force, troops neutralised 22 insurgents while several others escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
During the encounter, troops recovered caches of arms and ammunition as well as of their equipment.
Equally, troops of Operation FIREBALL in conjunction with local vigilante arrested a BHT/ISWAP member identified as Mohammed Bello at Damaturu Town in Yobe State.
The terrorist was arrested while trying to purchase arms and ammunition, while he was in possession of one AK-47 rifle and a magazine.
The criminal element has been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for necessary action.
Meanwhile, within the period under review, the Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE conducted several air operations involving both offensive and support missions.
With the use of a force package of Nigerian Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships, the Air Task Force conducted Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions over various locations in the North East.
The air surveillance missions revealed terrorists’ activities and their hideout which enabled the Air Task Force to execute air interdictions and strikes on the identified locations, causing devastating hits on the terrorists’ hideouts at Mudu and Garin Maloma Villages in Borno State.
Scores of their fighters were neutralised and their structures and logistics facilities destroyed.
From the records of these operations, it is glaring that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security operatives are resolute in their determination to end the insurgency and achieve sustainable peace in the North-East zone of the Country.
In the North-Central zone, troops have continued to intensify aggressive clearance operations amongst others, to decisively curtail activities of armed bandits and other criminals.
This has led to a gradual reduction in the activities of criminality in the zone. Notably, within the period, troops of Sector 2 Operation WHIRL PUNCH while on patrol at Bassa village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State repelled armed bandits’ attack.
In the course of the encounter, several bandits were neutralised. Also, within the period in focus, troops of Headquarters Command Army Records, Lokoja in conjunction with Defence Intelligence Agency operatives arrested four suspected criminals with three locally made guns at Auko village along Lokoja- Abuja Highway in Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
In another development, between 29 October and 3 November 2020, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN conducted extensive Civil-Military Cooperation activities to cultivate cordial relations with the various ethnic groups in Plateau State.
Notably, on 29 October 2020, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN fostered security meetings with stakeholders from Kibadu, Foka and Ungwar Doruwa villages in Kauru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
This was followed by another round of meetings on 30 October 2020 at Gero village in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Furthermore, meetings were held with Heads of Security Agencies and Local Government Chairmen on 31 October 2020.
The same day, peace meetings were also held with representatives of Fulani, Irigwe, Berom, Hausa, Afizere and Rukuba communities in Jos South and Bassa Local Government Areas of Plateau State, and Godo-Godo District of Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
As it is, these meetings were organised in continuation of peace and reconciliation efforts amongst the various ethnic groups in the zone. The meetings focused extensively on farmers/herders clashes, kidnapping, farm encroachment/destruction and other sundry security challenges in the state.
Furthermore, on 2 November 2020, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN commissioned five boreholes at Angwan Rana, Kurmin Masara, Boto, Zikpak, and a solar energy panel project in Sabon Kaura clinic in Kauru, Zangon-Kataf and Jama’a Local Government Areas of Kaduna State respectively.
This was followed by the commissioning of a newly renovated administrative block at Government Secondary School Gidan Waya in Jama’a Local Government Area.
Consequently, the locals are requested to cooperate with the security agencies by availing them with the required information which will be useful to our collective objective of taking out the criminals from the zone.
Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have continued with the aggressive fight against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and economic sabotage in the zone with significant successes.
Illegal Refineries Destroyed, Suspects Arrested
Notably, within the period in focus, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE discovered and immobilised three illegal refineries containing seven boilers, two reservoirs and two tanks loaded with illegally refined oil products around Orutoru in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Additionally, troops in conjunction with local vigilante arrested five suspected cultists at Jesse Community in Ethiope West Local Government Area of Delta State.
Similarly, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE while on patrol arrested a suspected armed robber with a locally made pistol at Igbudu Market in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
In another development, Operation CALM WATERS II and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to record more successes. Between 30 October and 3 November 2020, Forward Operating Base IBAKA gunboats while on routine patrol around Utan Iyata intercepted and arrested two wooden boats laden with 326 of 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled in from Cameroon.
The arrested items have been handed over to the Nigerian Customs Service for further action. On 30 October 2020, Forward Operating Base IBAKA patrol team intercepted and arrested one small size wooden boat laden with product suspected to be Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) along Mbo River, being smuggled to the Republic of Cameroon.
Items recovered from the arrest include one small size wooden boat, 44 300-litre drums of PMS, one pumping machine and two 40 HP Yamaha engines. The arrested items have been handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for necessary action.
The Military High Command commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their commitment, determination and dedication.
They are equally encouraged to remain firm and decisive in curtailing the activities of all criminal elements in the country.
Members of the general public are hereby assured that the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies will continue to tackle the security challenges and will ensure that normalcy is attained in all the geo-political zones of the Country.
However, their support is highly solicited in the area of providing credible information to assist our operations.
Not less than 15 people have died mysteriously within the last two weeks in Ute Okpu and Idumesa communities in Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Mordi Ononye, confirmed this to Channels Television in an interview on Sunday.
Ononye said he already led a team of public health officials including the representative of the World Health Organisation in the state to the affected communities with a view to unravelling the mysterious disease.
Families of the deceased, as well as the hospital in Umunede were also visited to get an assessment on how the strange illness progressed and resulted in death.
A brave soldier paid the supreme price when troops of Operation Sahel Sanity battled bandits, killing three of them and rescuing three nursing mothers along with their infants in Katsina State.
The incident occurred on Thursday when troops, responding to a distress call about the activities of bandits at Diskuru village in Faskari Local Government Area of the state, engaged the criminals in a gunbattle, a statement by the military said on Sunday.
Bandits had attacked the village around 5:30 am on motorcycles, killing several persons in the village.
The troops, however, repelled the attack, killing three of the bandits and forcing the others to flee with many of them believed to have sustained various degrees of gunshot wounds, the statement by the Acting Director of Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko said.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, three women and their infants, earlier kidnapped by the bandits, were rescued from the criminals,” he added.
According to him, two additional bodies of bandits were discovered along their withdrawal route.
The operation had a sad note to it as he announced that one brave soldier paid the supreme price in an attempt to save one of the rescued nursing mothers in the heat of the battle.
After repelling the attack, troops have remained in the village, and the surrounding areas to prevent further attack and track down the fleeing bandits.
When contacted by phone, the Public Relations Officer of the Police Command in Katsina, SP Isah Gambo, told Channels Television that 17 people were killed by the bandits in all. Four of them were members of the vigilante group and 12 were members of the village.
According to him, the remote nature of the village had an impact on the response to the attack, which he said was a reprisal.
“Because the place is a remote area and not motorable, before the arrival of the police, the bandits had killed 12 villagers, wounded about five of them. They equally set some houses ablaze in order to revenge the killing of their people because, last week, they came to the village but it didn’t go well as the villagers really dealt with them,” he said.
In the initial attack, the villagers also killed about three of the bandits and action which infuriated the marauding bandits.
“When they regrouped, they came with over 200 of them on motorbikes in possession of dangerous weapons including General Purpose Machine Guns as well as AK-47 Rifles shooting sporadically,” he said.
“The DPO alerted his counterparts from the military operation Sahel Sanity but before they could reach there, the Bandits have already escaped, they followed through cattle routes. So they alerted the people in Faskari to block them. The DPO and the military blocked that place but because of their numbers, they overpowered the security personnel there as a result of which one of the sister security agents, not police lost his life and four members of the vigilante were also killed in Faskari Local Government Area.”
He said the Air Force also sent an aircraft to the village in response to the attack and it helped in the chase after the fleeing bandits with more of them believed to have been killed by the military while fleeing. According to Gambo, security personnel are combing the forest with a view to intercepting the bandits of recovering the corpses of those of them that were killed by the Air Force.
Brigadier General Onyeuko in his statement on Sunday also provided an update on an operation carried out two days earlier and he commended the troops in the region generally for their efforts.
He said, “Relatedly, on 27 October 2020, troops deployed at Dan Ali village acting on reliable Information arrested two suspected bandits collaborators namely Samaila Usman and Idi Bello. The suspects are in our custody undergoing interrogations before handing them over to appropriate prosecuting authorities.”
“To this end, the gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity are commended for the successes achieved and their commitment. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the Northwest zone is rid of all criminal activities.
“Additionally, the good people of the Northwest are once more assured of the troops’ commitment to the safety of lives and properties within the zone. They are also encouraged to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist in the conduct of their operations.”
Four persons have been killed and some others injured in an attack by suspected bandits on Gidan Goga Village in Maradun LGA in Zamfara State.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Mohammed Shehu, confirmed the incident which occurred on Thursday afternoon.
According to Shehu, on receiving the report, some of the officers led by the DPO in Maradun responded to the distress call and arrived at the village to forestall a further attack on the neighbouring villages.
“Bandits fled before the arrival of the joint security operatives. Unfortunately, four people were killed by the bandits while three others were injured. Victims are now responding to treatment at Federal Medical Centre, Gusau,” the statement read in part.
It also noted that security in the area has now been beefed up.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, CP Usman Nagogo, has ordered an investigation and the immediate arrest of perpetrators of the attack.
He condoled with the family, the government and good people of the State for the unwarranted killing and promised that the Command will not relent in its effort to ensure the protection of life and property of the citizens.
Suspected bandits have killed three persons at Tashar Kare in Rafi local government area of Niger State.
The gunmen attacked the community in the early hours of Monday.
Among those killed are the son and younger brother of the village head of Tashan Kare and a local vigilante member who works in the community.
According to eyewitnesses, the bandits had attacked Tashan Kare on Saturday where they rustled some herds of cattle, but the members of the community reinforced themselves and gave a chase to the attackers to rescue the cattle.
They however returned today during the time members of the village were observing their early hour Muslim prayers.
Tashan Kare came under attack in August this year, where at least eight persons were killed including some military personnel.
The latest attack forced some members of the vigilante group from the village to protest to the Police station in Kagara town to express their disenchantment towards what they described as lack of efficiency on the part of the police to secure the people.
A resident of Kagara town who spoke to Channels Television said there was an exchange of gunshot in the process between the vigilante personnel and men of the police at the station which resulted in the killing of one person and three others injured.
Efforts to speak to the police on the attack proved abortive as the Public Relations Officer, ASP Abiodun Wasiu would not pick his calls.
Some members of the vigilante group from Tashan Kare, Disin have been reportedly killed by Tashar Kare by bandits, one person killed at Kagara Divisional Police Station Kagara, while three people wounded have been taken to Minna for treatment.
In the meantime, the District Head of Kagara Town, acting on behalf of the Emir of Kagara and the Local Government Chairman, has ordered the Tashar Kare community to conduct burial rites to the three persons that lost their lives in their community.