A French soldier deployed to Mali as part of the Barkhane force fighting jihadist insurgents has wounded two comrades with a pistol while drunk, the army headquarters said Saturday.
The confrontation under the influence happened overnight from December 24 to 25 at a base in Gao in eastern Mali.
“Two soldiers from the same unit were getting on each other’s nerves. One soldier wounded two of his comrades with his service weapon,” an automatic pistol, army spokesman Frederic Barbry told AFP.
One of the two men was wounded very lightly, while the other’s injury was more serious although not life-threatening.
Both were flown out following the shooting and brought to the hospital in France.
Military police are investigating the incident and “once the probe is finished, (the shooter) will be flown home,” Barbry said.
France’s Barkhane force numbers 5,100 troops spread across the arid Sahel region and has been fighting jihadist groups alongside soldiers from Mauritania, Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, who together make up the G5 Sahel group.
Paris is weighing cuts in the number of soldiers deployed in the region ahead of a summit planned for mid-February.
Fadeyi explained that the victim was abducted at the entrance of the farm by yet-to-be-identified armed men who shot sporadically before taking him away into the forest.
He noted that a distress call to the Divisional Police Officer in Oke Alaro led to a chase after the abductors who fled with their victim into the forest.
“A team of Operation Burst which was invited by the company arrived at the area and proceeded on a hot chase into the forest.
“Not too long, one army lieutenant sustained gunshot injury on his right lap and immediately taken to the hospital while the personal assistant to the victim who was also abducted escaped during an exchange of gunfire,” the statement said.
It added, “On 13/12/2020, two corpses of one soldier and a civilian were recovered from the forest while a civil defence personnel also sustained gunshot injury after a search of the forest.”
The command spokesman decried that some foreign nationals do not involve the police in their movement and as a result, it would be difficult for the police to give advice appropriately.
He was also worried that negotiation with the abductors of the victim has been concealed from the police.
Fadeyi, however, appealed to residents of the state to support the police with useful and credible information on the whereabouts of the fleeing armed men.
A group of Boko Haram terrorists embarked on a failed mission on Saturday in an attempt to attack Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State in north-east Nigeria, the military has said.
The Deputy Director of Public Relations 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Colonel Ado Isa, confirmed this incident in a statement on Sunday.
He noted that the terrorists who were suspected to have come from the Sambisa Forest approached the town from different directions simultaneously on over 15 gun trucks.
They were, however, prevented from entering the town by the troops of 28 Task Force Brigade of Sector 1 of Operation Lafiya Dole who engaged the criminals with superior firepower.
During the fierce battle, a soldier died with two others injured while the terrorists suffered huge losses in men, materials, and equipment.
Colonel Isa disclosed that the troops captured four gun trucks from them while some additional gun trucks were also destroyed by the Air Task Force of the operation.
“Scores of the terrorists were killed and over 20 terrorists’ dead bodies were counted.
“Additionally, three boxer motorcycles, three anti-aircraft guns, two PKT machine guns, 10 AK47 rifles, and 13 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) bombs, as well as a large cache of ammunition and other weapons were captured from the terrorists among others,” the statement said.
It added, “Unfortunately, one soldier paid the supreme sacrifice, and two others were wounded during the encounter and are stable and responding to treatment.
“May God grant repose to the soul of the dead soldier and quick recovery to the two wounded in action soldiers.”
Colonel Isa gave an assurance that the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole would continue to sustain the aggressive, offensive posture to rid the North East of remnants of Boko Haram and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) insurgents, rapists, and marauders, among other criminals.
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.
A Nigerian soldier serving with 27 Taskforce Brigade Buni-Yadi in Yobe State has reportedly committed suicide.
A source from the military, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told Channels Television that the soldier, a Lance Corporal committed suicide on Thursday, September 17 at his duty post in Buni-Yadi.
The corpse of the late soldier has been deposited at Specialist Hospital in Damaturu the state capital.
When contacted, the Acting Assistant Director Army Public Relation, Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole Damaturu, Lieutenant Chinonso Polycarp Oteh promised to get back to Channels Television.
He however failed to return the call as at the time of filing this report.
The police have arrested seven suspects involved in the robbery attack on a bullion van and the killing of four policemen in Ebonyi State.
According to a report obtained by Channels Television on Tuesday, the arrests were made barely five days after the incident.
Among those apprehended for the attack were two soldiers – one in active service and the other dismissed.
Channels Television had reported that the bullion van was being escorted by policemen to one of the first-generation banks along Ogoja Road in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital on Wednesday last week before it came under attack.
Following the incident, the police launched a ‘serious manhunt’ of the assailants which led to their arrest in less than one week.
The operation was carried out by police detectives attached to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), with support from the Technical Intelligence Unit (TIU).
While on the operation, the police team arrested one Alfred Robinson on Saturday last week in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
The 45-year-old suspect is said to be a native of Gelegele town in Ovia North Local Government Area of Edo State.
Upon his arrest, the police recovered a Toyota 4 Runner SUV said to have been snatched alongside others for the purpose of the attack.
Also recovered from Robinson included a GPMG rifle with 153 rounds of live ammunition, five AK 47 rifles with 1,402 rounds of live ammunition, a K2 rifle with loaded magazine, and 51 AK 47 magazines.
An intensive follow up operation by the police team also led to the arrest of six more suspected members of the robbery gang within 24 hours.
Those arrested include Sergeant Ayeni Samuel, 43, who is a serving soldier attached to the Command Day Secondary School at the Nigerian Army Cantonment in Ikeja, Lagos and Corporal Emeka Harrison, 33, a dismissed soldier who until his dismissal was attached to 7 Division Garrison in Maiduguri, Borno State.
Others are Sunday Soyemu, 46, and a native of Alegnene in Ekeremor LGA of Bayelsa State; Emeka Illo, 37, and a native of Igwachi community in Orji River LGA of Enugu State; Abuchi Elijah, 27, and a native of Nsalangwa in Nsalangwa LGA of Abia State; and Ibanifiroi Ekiene, 38, and a native of Tombia community in Degema LGA of Rivers State.
According to the police, the six suspects arrested on Sunday came from various parts of the South-South and South-East.
They were said to be perfecting a planned intended bank robbery in Asaba this week before they were apprehended.
A Lexus 350 SUV containing various arms and ammunition were recovered from them.
The items include 136 rounds of K2 ammunition, five K2 magazines, 12 locally made bomb (unexploded), a KPT power tool 230MM angle grinder, and assorted charms, among others.
“All suspects, upon interrogation, confessed to the bullion van robbery in Ebonyi State where four policemen were killed, with many other armed robberies/kidnappings across the South-East and South-South.
“Suspects also confessed that four out of the rifles recovered belong to the policemen they killed during the bullion van robbery in Ebonyi State. Suspects are assisting police to arrest their remaining gang members,” the report said.
The Abia State government has condemned the killing of one of its residents by a soldier in the Umuokereke Ngwa area of the state.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s Chief of Staff, Dr A. Agbazuere, confirmed the incident in a statement on Monday.
He noted that the soldier in question had been dismissed from the Nigerian Army and remanded at a correction facility.
Agbazuere stressed that the prosecution of the erring security operative would serve as a deterrent for other arms-carrying officials involved in such an act.
According to him, the state government is strongly against the unnecessary shooting of residents and the consequent loss of their lives.
The governor’s aide insisted that the recklessness of some security operatives in the state must be nipped in the bud.
He, however, commended the commitment of the heads of security agencies and other diligent security personnel in Abia for their efforts in ensuring the safety of residents and their properties.
Agbazuere assured the residents that anybody caught or arrested for taking the life of another person would be brought to justice.
Read the full statement below:
GOVERNMENT SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
Abia State Government hereby condemns in very strong terms the unwarranted shooting of some Abians and the consequent loss of their lives.
While government appreciates the commitment and industry of heads of Security Agencies and some other Security Personnel in the State, the breeding recklessness of some Security Men in the State must be nipped in the bud forthwith.
Government hereby reassures all Abians that anybody who takes the life of an Abian must definitely face justice.
The soldier who killed an Abian at Umuokereke Ngwa has been dismissed from the army and is in prison awaiting final Justice for murder. All other arm bearers must learn their lessons.
An unknown soldier has reportedly shot an unidentified young man dead in Delta State, south-south Nigeria, the police in the state have said.
The incident occurred on Thursday at Ugbuwangue community in Warri South Local Government Area (LGA) of the state, on the second day of the lockdown directive issued by the state governor, Ifeanyi Okowa.
Police authorities in the state confirmed the killing to Channels Television, saying they have commenced an investigation into the incident.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Onome Onovwakpoyeya, however, noted that the details of the incident were unclear.
She said, “Yes, it is true. It just happened today, as I was told, and there is not much information yet.”
The Chairman of Warri South LGA, Mr Michel Tidi, also told Channels Television that he had reported the case to the appropriate authorities.
He explained that he attended a meeting held at the office of the Police Area Commander in Warri, over the incident.
According to Tidi, representatives of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, as well as the community head and the head of the victim’s family were present.
On what was discussed at the meeting, he said they demanded that the soldier be prosecuted while assurances were given that the security official would be brought to justice.
“They (army authorities) assured the family; they assured me as the council chairman that they are going into the matter swiftly to ensure that the perpetrator of this crime is brought to book and of courses, they also promised to keep the family members posted regularly on how they go about their investigation,” the local government chairman said.
He added, “Everywhere is calm now. The matter is still under investigation and don’t forget there is a ‘stay at home’ order.
“We are just calling on our people to remain calm. The compliance level thus far in the local government has been quite impressive if not for this reported incident.”
Holding candles and writing condolences as monks chanted prayers, hundreds of Thais held an evening vigil Sunday for the 30 victims of an “unprecedented” mass shooting carried out by a soldier.
Sharpshooters killed the gunman on Sunday morning after a 17-hour ordeal, including a night of firefights and terrifying dashes for mall exits by shoppers trapped in the Terminal 21 mall in Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat.
The provincial governor told reporters that the death toll stood at 30 with dozens injured.
The dead include civilians – one of them a 13-year-old boy – and security forces going after the rogue soldier, who was upset over a debt dispute, according to Thailand’s prime minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha.
“It is unprecedented in Thailand, and I want this to be the last time this crisis happens,” he said earlier outside a hospital where victims — some in critical condition — were being treated.
Those who attended the somber vigil scrawled messages on white sheets of paper laid out on the ground, including “Remember Forever” and “I wish you a good afterlife”.
Prayut, a former army chief, blamed a “personal problem” over the sale of a house for the soldier’s rampage, which began on Saturday afternoon near an army barracks and was for several hours relayed by the gunman via Facebook posts.
The attacker, identified as Sergeant-Major Jakrapanth Thomma, used a stolen M60 machine gun and rifles from one of Thailand’s largest barracks as well as a military humvee to carry out the attack.
Prayut said the gunman overpowered security at the barracks’ arsenal and that “carelessness” was not a factor.
“We don’t leave the arsenal depot alone — we had people guarding it.”
Volleys of gunfire rang out as the siege ran into dawn, hours after Thai security services stormed the ground floor and freed scores of terrified shoppers.
They sent cascades of messages to friends and family on social media from storerooms, barricaded in toilets and hidden under tables as the gunman stalked the mall.
With the machine gun slung over his shoulder and in full combat gear, Jakrapanth swaggered through the emptied out floors in haunting footage captured by CCTV cameras.
Evacuees recounted how an ordinary Saturday at the busy shopping centre descended into horror as he entered.
“It was like a dream… I’m grateful I survived,” Sottiyanee Unchalee, 48, told AFP, explaining she hid in the toilet of a gym inside the mall as she heard the gunfire.
Filipino teacher Aldrin Baliquing said he was ushered into a storeroom by staff as the shooting began.
“We were there for six gruelling hours… I’m in shock,” he said.
Scores of people made a dash for it as police and soldiers in masks and wielding assault rifles took control of the ground floor following a gun battle and scoured the fleeing crowds for the assailant.
‘Like a Zombie Movie’
“It was total panic, it was like a zombie movie,” Chanatip Somsakul, 33, said of his escape with his wife and three-year-old daughter.
“People jumped on motorbikes and ran in all directions.”
Several hours later the gunman was shot dead. Photos showed smiling units of elite soldiers and police emerging from the mall.
The gunman relayed his shooting spree through Facebook posts which charted the attack from an army barracks to the city mall.
The bloodshed began Saturday afternoon when he shot three people — among them at least one soldier — at a senior officer’s house and then at the nearby army barracks, before driving a military vehicle to the town centre.
There the gunman used the stolen weapons to unleash carnage in the town centre.
Throughout the day he posted images of himself and wrote several posts on his Facebook page.
In one Facebook video – since deleted – the assailant, wearing an army helmet, filmed from an open-top jeep, saying, “I’m tired… I can’t pull my finger anymore” as he made a trigger symbol with his hand.
There were also photos of a man in a ski mask holding a pistol.
Thailand’s digital economy minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta said he contacted regional executives at the social media giant to report the activity.
“I think this might be the first time that this happened in Thailand and it caused a lot of problems,” he told AFP.
A Facebook spokesperson said the gunman’s accounts were removed and it will “work around the clock to remove any violating content related to this attack as soon as we become aware of it.”
Thailand has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world, and several shootings at courthouses last year renewed concern about gun violence.