The Nigeria Army on Sunday said none of its soldiers was killed during any gun battle stemming from a disagreement over gold nuggets in Magama Village in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.
In a statement, army spokesman, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, urged members of the public to disregard reports suggesting that two soldiers and seven miners were killed during a gun duel arising from rifts over gold.
General Onyema described the publications as “baseless, unfounded, untrue and a mere figment of the writer’s imagination, aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the Nigerian Army”.
He stressed that no Nigerian soldier was killed nor involved in any skirmish with illegal miners in Magama village on January 5 as was reported.
Reports had claimed that the incident occurred when the soldiers turned down an initially agreed offer of N500,000 per pit from the miners, but afterward, turned around to demand more money on discovering the large quantum of gold nuggets found by the illegal miners in one of the pits.
However, General Onyema while debunking the reports said the troops deployed in the North West were committed and engrossed in the fight against banditry and other criminalities bedevilling the region.
He added that soldiers deployed to fight insurgents were never permitted to participate in any form of mining, whether legitimate or illegitimate.
“This is certainly not what the troops require at this critical time,” he said. “We assure the general public of the unrelenting commitment of our troops to decisively tackling the banditry menace in the North West.”
Ukraine said Saturday one of its soldiers was killed in fighting with pro-Moscow separatists, as the US again warned Russia against any attacks on the country.
US President Joe Biden was due to speak to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, after warning Russian President Vladimir Putin for the second time of a tough response should he invade Ukraine.
In his New Year’s Eve address, Zelensky said ending the war in the east remains his “main goal”.
“One serviceman of the Joint Forces was fatally wounded,” the army said in a statement, adding that separatists had launched three attacks within 24 hours, using grenade launchers and small arms.
The police have arrested a 28-year-old man for impersonating an officer of the Nigerian Army in Lafia, Nasarawa State.
Timothy Emmanuel, an indigene of Plateau State, was paraded on Friday alongside 60 other suspects arrested for various crimes at the Police Headquarters in the state capital.
He was said to have been apprehended with an AK-49 rifle and two magazines while travelling on Sunday evening along the B.A.D Road in a vehicle suspected to have been stolen.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect who parades himself in military camouflage was never enlisted into the army but got the uniform from his uncle who is a military officer serving in Borno State,” the Commissioner of Police in Nasarawa, Adesina Soyemi, told reporters.
“He (Emmanuel) thereafter moved to Jos, Plateau State under the guise of being a military officer and went away with an AK-49 rifle and two magazines of a Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps official serving in Jos, when the rifle was left in his custody by the NSCDC officer who went to help him with his registration for the national identity card.”
Soyemi explained that the suspect later returned to Nasarawa and got involved in unlawful activities in Karu and Lafia before he was arrested.
According to him, Emmanuel is being investigated at the State Criminal Investigation Department in Lafia and he has provided some useful information to the police.
Among the other suspects paraded were seven rail vandals, 16 kidnappers, 18 cultists, seven internet fraudsters, and 13 armed robbers nabbed at various locations in the state.
During these arrests, the police recovered five firearms, five mobile phones, two magazines, four ammunition, a laptop, four trucks, and over N400,000 from the suspects.
“I want to seize this opportunity to appeal to all the good people of the state to be more supportive to us in the discharge of our statutory duty, by availing us credible information that will help to proactively neutralise or deal with matters of security in the state,” the police commissioner appealed.
“I want to assert that the Nasarawa State Police Command will not rest on its oars or revel in its accomplishments so far. Rather, this achievement has galvanised our tempo to clamp down heavily in a consistent and sustained manner on criminals until they are roundly subjugated, and their industry completely liquidated in Nasarawa State.”
According to Sani, soldiers attached to the area responded to a distress call from the residents and swiftly moved to the scene.
He explained that on sighting the security operatives, the bandits immediately engaged them in a fierce gun battle.
One of the soldiers, who advanced to the residence of the lecturer, was said to have been shot by the gunmen who already laid an ambush around the compound.
The security operative was later rushed to a hospital where he was reported to have died.
On the other hand, the body of one of the bandits who died from bullet wounds was later discovered by soldiers.
Sani stated that the soldiers were able to stop the bandits from kidnapping the lecturer.
He said the gunmen later moved to another location within the community where they took away the woman and her three children.
The attack on Milgoma took place a day after gunmen killed 12 locals in Peigyim village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of the state.
Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, revealed that the village came under attack on Sunday night as the assailants opened fire on the residents.
Two other residents injured during the attack were taken to the hospital for treatment, while the security agencies in the state said they were already combing the area with a view to arresting the perpetrators.
The Nigerian Army has confirmed the death of a soldier as troops kill scores of bandits during an attack on Kabasa village in Zamfara State.
Troops of Sector 3 Operation Hadarin Daji engaged the bandits and thwarted a deadly kidnap, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, said in a statement on Friday.
He noted that the soldiers stormed the village in Magami Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara following a credible tip-off on Tuesday while the criminals were attacking the villagers.
Yerima stated that the timely arrival of the troops disrupted the attack by the bandits who swiftly engaged them.
He added that the troops “Successfully neutralised scores (of the bandits) while others escaped into the forest with bullet wounds.
“Unfortunately, one soldier paid the supreme sacrifice and three others who sustained various degrees of injuries during the encounter are currently receiving medical treatment.”
Freedom After 22 Days
The army spokesman said the soldiers have dominated the general area with aggressive patrols and have continued further exploitation and pursuit of the bandits into the forest.
Similarly, he said troops responded to a distress call that bandits were attacking Gidan Goga village in Maradun LGA.
According to the brigadier general, troops swiftly mobilised to the area and engaged the bandits with superior firepower, killing three of them while others fled in disarray – some with gunshot wounds.
Elsewhere, troops rescued two female kidnapped victims in Birnin Gwari LGA in Kaduna State.
Preliminary investigation, Yerima stated, revealed that the victims were kidnapped 22 days ago from Kuyallo village in Birnin Gwari.
He noted that the victims have been given medical treatment while waiting to be reunited with their families.
In his reaction, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, congratulated the gallant troops and asked them to keep up the momentum until the entire North West zone was rid of bandits, cattle rustlers, and kidnappers, among other criminals.
He also thanked the villagers for the credible and timely information they provided to the troops which made their operations successful.
Attahiru said the patriotic action of the villagers should be emulated by others so that the activities of bandits would be nipped in the bud.
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.