A Police Bell helicopter was attacked on Wednesday when men of the Nigeria Police Force attacked and killed terrorists and bandits during an early morning operation in Kaduna State.
Police say that over 250 terrorists and bandits were killed as tactical forces stormed Ansaru Terrorists’ Camp.
According to Police Spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, the helicopter, which provided aerial and intelligence cover for the ground troops came under attack from the bandits using sophisticated anti-aircraft rifles and GPMG.
Mr Frank Mba however, noted that the pilot and co-pilot who demonstrated uncommon courage and expertise successfully landed the aircraft at the Air Force Base in Kaduna without further incident.
The police image-maker further revealed that the two officials were thereafter evacuated for medical treatment, adding that both officers who sustained non-life threatening injuries are currently receiving treatment and are in stable condition.
He also stated that the police helicopter has since been flown out of the Kaduna Air Force Base by Police Pilots en-route to Abuja.
On Wednesday, Special Operatives of Operation Puff Adder of the Nigeria Police backed by the Special Forces of the Police Airwing, in a daring offensive operation, stormed one of the largest operational camps of the Ansaru Terror Group (also housing other bandits and kidnappers) located in Kuduru Forest, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State.
The security operatives successfully neutralized over 250 high-profile members of the Ansaru Terror Group, police authorities claim.
According to the Force, the operation was necessitated by actionable intelligence linking terror and criminal elements in the super camp to series of terror-related violence, kidnappings, gun-running, cattle rustling and other heinous crimes across the country.
Reacting to Wednesday’s operation, the Inspector General of Police assured citizens of safety and sustained intelligence-led operations against bandits across the length and breadth of the nation.
He equally applauded the unparalleled bravery, commitment, and dedication of the Police operatives currently conducting the special mission.
The police have rescued 26 kidnapped victims at Dungun Mu’azu Forest in Sabuwa Local Government Area of Katsina State.
According to the police, they were kidnapped in January 2020, after over 100 bandits attacked Badna Buruku village of Chukum Local Government Area of Kaduna state.
Briefing journalists at the command headquarters on Wednesday, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Gambo Isah, said the bandits took the victims on 50 motorcycles into a forest in Zamfara state and demanded the sum of N26 million as ransom or they kill all the victims.
“Yesterday at about 1000hours, the command succeeded in rescuing 26 kidnapped victims at Dungun Mu’azu village in Sabuwa Local Government Area of Katsina State.
“On 6th January 2020 at about 0600hours, bandits on 50 motorcycles numbering over a hundred attacked Badna Buruku village of Chukum Local Government Area of Kaduna state and kidnapped 26 persons, eighteen males and eight are females, and took them on motorcycles into a forest in Zamfara state.
“The hoodlums demanded the payment of N1 million per head from their families, totaling the sum of N26 million as ransom or they kill all the victims,” he said.
The Nigeria Police Force says it has killed many terrorists and bandits during an early morning operation in Kaduna State.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, revealed that the operation was carried out by a combined team of operatives of Operation Puff Adder.
They comprise operatives of the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Forces, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS), and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
“Special operatives of Operation Puff Adder of the Nigeria Police backed by the Special Forces of the Police Airwing, in a daring offensive operation, stormed one of the largest operational camps of the Ansaru Terror Group (also housing other bandits and kidnappers) located in Kuduru Forest, Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State and successfully neutralised over 250 high-profile members of the Ansaru Terror Group,” Mba said.
He explained that the operation was necessitated by actionable intelligence linking terror and criminal elements in the camp to a series of terror-related violence, kidnappings, gun-running, cattle rustling, and other heinous crimes in the country.
Unfortunately, the police spokesman regretted that a police bell helicopter, which provided aerial and intelligence cover for the ground troops, came under attack during the operation.
According to him, the bandits attacked the aircraft using sophisticated anti-aircraft rifles and GPMG.
“Commendably, the pilot and the co-pilot who demonstrated uncommon courage and expertise, successfully landed the aircraft at the Nigerian Air Force Base, Kaduna without further incident,” Mba said.
He added, “They were, thereafter, evacuated for medical treatment. Both officers who sustained non-life-threatening injuries are currently receiving treatment and are in stable condition.
The Force public relations officer said the helicopter has since been flown out of the Kaduna Air Force Base by police pilots en-route to Abuja.
In his reaction, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, applauded the bravery, commitment, and dedication of the police operatives conducting the special mission.
He also assured Nigerians of their safety and sustained intelligence-led operations against bandits across the length and breadth of the nation.
Gunmen suspected to be bandits have killed two persons in Dapye village, a suburb in Wukari Local Government Area (LGA) of Taraba State.
The Council Chairman, Adi Grace, who disclosed this to Channels Television noted that the hoodlums carried out the attack in the early hours of Thursday.
He explained that the victims were attacked while they were working on their farmlands.
Grace added that on getting the information, he responded swiftly in company with some security operatives to battle the hoodlums.
He, however, regretted that they met only the lifeless bodies of the victims upon their arrival at the scene.
According to the council chairman, the two bodies have been taken to their respective families for burial.
Authorities at the Taraba State Police Command have also confirmed the incident to Channels Television.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, David Misal, said efforts were ongoing to ensure that the perpetrators were brought to book.
Wukari LGA has been in the eye of the storm since April 2019 for the crises between the people of Jukun and Tiv ethnic groups, a situation which led to the death of many people with properties worth millions of naira destroyed.
The unabated attacks and counter-attacks by the warring tribes have also led to the closure of the Federal University, Wukari last year.
President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday in Abuja said “harder times’’ await bandits whose disruptive activities have brought sorrow to Nigerians, kept many away from their means of livelihood, and heightened insecurity in parts of the country.
The President, who received a delegation of Eminent and Respected Citizens of Niger State led by Governor Abubakar Sani Bello in State House, said the activities of the bandits had forced many to abandon their farms and homes, adding: “we will now be harder on them.’’
“I was taken aback by what is happening in the North West and other parts of the country. During our campaigns, we knew about the Boko Haram. What is coming now is surprising. It is not ethnicity or religion, rather it is one evil plan against the country.
“We have to be harder on them. One of the responsibilities of government is to provide security. If we don’t secure the country, we will not be able to manage the economy properly,’’ he said.
President Buhari said the onslaught of the bandits had also affected agricultural output in some parts of the country, in spite of the favorable weather for farming, because many farmers were attacked, and others had to stay away for safety.
The President said the poverty level in the country will be significantly controlled by diversifying into agriculture, instead of the heavy reliance on oil, urging more Nigerians to take up agriculture.
President Buhari said the discovery of oil and gas reserves in Chad Basin, Benue trough and Bida, and some parts of Bauchi and Gombe, will further bolster current efforts to strengthen the Nigerian economy.
He advised leaders in the Niger Delta to counsel those who blow up pipelines, resulting in spillages that affect farming and farmlands, noting that the loss had always been collective, sometimes turning hard-working farmers to victims.
The Eminent and Respected persons said they needed to show appreciation to the President for his many interventions on infrastructure, security, and appointment of indigenes of the state into key positions of government.
Speaking for the group, the former governor of Niger State, Aliyu Babangida, said activities of bandits had rendered many homeless, while others could no longer go the farms, thanking the President for taking more decisive action by directing aerial protection by the military.
Babangida called on the President to intervene in the completion of some federal roads, like the Mokwa-Birnin Gwari-Kaduna road, Kotongora road, and he also asked for more attention on the Minna airport, which should complement access to the FCT.
In his remarks, the Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, assured the President of continuous support, praying: “May God give you strength and wisdom to handle the affairs of our great country, Nigeria.’’
At least 14 people have been killed after suspected bandits invaded Babban Rafi village in Zamfara State.
The attack, which occurred on Thursday in Gummi Local Government Area of the state, also left many other villagers injured.
The bandits were said to have stormed the village with over forty motorbikes in the early hours of the day and opened fire on residents who were still indoors.
During the invasion, the assailants carted away with several valuables from the villagers, including money, mobile phones, and livestock among others.
When contacted, the police authorities in the state confirmed the attack and casualty figure to Channels Television.
The Public Relations Officer in Zamfara, Mohammed Shehu, revealed that the bandits who were in large numbers invaded Babban Rafi village from neighbouring Kebbi State.
According to him, the bandits opened fire on the residents during the invasion, a situation which he said resulted in the death of 14 people.
Shehu, however, said a combined team of operatives of the Police Mobile Force, Counter-Terrorism Unit, and Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police have been deployed in the village.
He added that the security operatives have been charged to go after the perpetrators and apprehend them in order to bring them to book.
The public relations officer noted that the operatives, attached to “Operation Puff Adder” in conjunction with soldiers from “Operation Hadarin Daji”, were also mobilised to prevent further attack on neighbouring villages.
Mr. Inuwa while warning bandits said that this would be the last meeting the government will have with them to advocate for peaceful co-existence between them and the larger society, stating that the state government will no longer grant an excuse to bandits who breach the peace accord.
“For those repentants who still abide by the dictates of the accord, the government would provide them a piece of land to relocate as no going back the military will soon resume in full force.”
Other stakeholders who attended the meeting include the General Officer Commanding 8th Division of the Nigerian Army, Sokoto, General Aminu Bande, the repentant as well as representatives of some recalcitrant bandits from Katsina and Zamfara States.
These efforts according to him have forced many bandits to seek peace and also led to the neutralization of several others.
“Some armed bandit leaders who have sent messages through emissaries to the Acting General Officer Commanding 8 Division Nigerian Army who oversees operations in Katsina and Zamfara States, have indicated readiness to embrace the peace without any conditions attached,” Owolabi said.
“The military, will continue to remain resolute to ensure complete disarming of bandits before considering the peace deal as earlier announced by the various State Governments in the North West,” he added.
Meanwhile, troops of the Operation have continued with what the Commander calls “Mop Up Ops” in order to clear all areas of bandit camps to ensure the realease of all hostages.