Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji have rescued 12 kidnapped persons in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
The victims who have been united with their families include the District Head of Wuya, said to have been kidnapped a week earlier.
In a statement issued on Sunday by the Acting Director Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, the troops also killed nine bandits, arrested 14 others.
According to Onyeuko, 13 houses of the bandits were cleared and set ablaze by troops during clearance operations conducted at Gidan Usman, Gidan Babagoji, Gadauna, Gidan Janari, Kekuwaje, Gidan Sarki, Gardi and Bingi areas of the state.
“Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI in Zamfara State closed up on bandits in a subsidiary operation CHINGABA in the past week. During the operation, troops successfully released 12 kidnapped Civilians by the bandits, including the District Head of Wuya, who was kidnapped a week earlier.
“The victims have been united with their families. Also, in other clearance operations conducted at Gidan Usman, Gidan Babagoji, Gadauna, Gidan Janari, Kekuwaje, Gidan Sarki, Gardi and Bingi all in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara State, troops killed in contact 9 Bandits and arrested 14 as well as 13 houses of the bandits were cleared and set ablaze by troops.
“A total of 67 cattle rustled by the bandits were recovered and handed over to the district heads of the communities,” the statement read in part.
Similarly, troops on patrol at Nasarrawa Village, close to Tunga Haki in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State intercepted nine suspected bandits and recovered 600 cows and 300 Sheep.
During interrogation, the “bandits confessed to have rustled the animals and were proceeding to Zaria to avert possible arrest by the troops.
“The recovered animals are currently in the custody of troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI. The proper handover will be done after an investigation in conjunction with local authorities to confirm the owners.”
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed “profound grief and sorrow’’ over loss of soldiers who were ambushed by terrorists in Gorgi Village, Borno State.
At least 47 soldiers were killed by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group in Borno State.
The Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, disclosed this on Tuesday in Abuja and said that the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole were on clearance and fighting patrol operation to Gorgi in Borno between March 21 and 23.
While reacting to the incident, Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, condoled with the families of the deceased.
Buhari also assured that the “sacrifices of our gallant patriots cannot be quantified, and their sacrifices cannot go in vain.”
According to the President, the death of every soldier causes deep pains as he knows what it means to be a soldier, and fully understands the extreme risks associated with the profession.
This is as he said “despite the tragedies and incidents, we cannot allow anarchists and mass murderers to hold the country hostage.’’
He, therefore, appealed to the military “not to allow the incident to affect their morale’’ and assured that his administration will continue to motivate and equip them adequately to cope with the complex challenges of unconventional warfare.
The Nigerian Army has dispatched a team to assess the situation and report back to the government.
Troops of the Operation Hadarin Daji have rescued nine victims kidnapped by bandits in Bindim and Koli towns, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
The victims – seven males and two females – have been handed over to their respective families by the military authorities.
In a statement on Saturday by the spokesman of the Defence Headquarters, Benard Onyeuko, the rescued was made possible based on credible intelligence.
“Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI acting on credible intelligence invalidates 2 bandits in Bindim and Koli towns of Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
“The successful operation led to the recovery of 17 Rounds of 7.62 mm of AK 47 and 1 Motorcycle. In the same vein, Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI while on patrol at Gando rescued 7 males and 2 females kidnapped by bandits,” the statement read in part.
The African Union on Thursday that it expected to send a temporary deployment of 3,000 troops to West Africa’s Sahel region, where regional forces are struggling to respond to a nearly eight-year-old insurgency by armed Islamists.
The decision was made at the African Union summit earlier this month, Smail Chergui, head of the AU’s Peace and Security Commission said, but the announcement was not made until a press conference Thursday.
“On the decision of the summit to work on deploying a force of 3,000 troops to help the Sahel countries degrade terrorist groups, I think this is a decision that we’ll be working on together with the G5 Sahel and ECOWAS,” Chergui said.
“I think this decision has been taken because as we see, as you can recognise yourself, the threat is expanding, it’s becoming more complex,” Chergui added.
G5 Sahel is a 5,000-member joint force already on the ground in the Sahel, and ECOWAS is the West African regional bloc.
A localised revolt that began in northern Mali in 2012 has spread to the centre of the country and to neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger.
Around 4,000 people died in the three countries last year, a fivefold increase over 2016, according to UN figures.
The bloodshed has escalated despite the presence of a 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping force in Mali and rattled coastal countries to the south of the Sahel.
Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kabore said this week that the Sahel faced an “unprecedented humanitarian crisis”.
Final decisions from the AU summit have yet to be published, but diplomats have confirmed details of the proposed Sahel deployment.
“The summit decided to deploy about 3,000 troops for a period of six months to work with the countries of the Sahel to deal with the menace that they are facing,” Edward Xolisa Makaya, South Africa’s ambassador to the AU, told AFP.
“It’s just a sign or a show of solidarity with the people of the Sahel.”
South Africa took over as AU chair at the summit and plans and to host an extraordinary AU summit on security issues in May.
Makaya said he hoped the Sahel deployment would take place “during the course of the year”.
‘Not the right answer?’
But many details of the possible deployment have yet to be worked out.
Makaya said no countries had come forward to volunteer troops, and it was also unclear how the deployment would be financed.
“Of course the member states have been called upon to make offers and contributions, and they did, some member states did make offers during the discussions,” he said. “But we are not at liberty to mention their names now.”
Elissa Jobson, director of regional advocacy for the International Crisis Group think tank, was sceptical as to how effective an AU deployment would be.
“While it’s good to see that African Union leaders are showing real concern about the conflict in the Sahel and are moved to do something about it, the deployment of troops isn’t necessarily the right answer,” Jobson said.
The deployment would “have to be part of a well thought through political strategy that should also include dialogue with the jihadist groups in the region,” she added.
Thursday’s press conference took place as part of a meeting of AU and European leaders.
EU foreign minister Josep Borrell said at the press conference that an AU deployment to the Sahel would be “very much welcome”.
“I think we have enough logistical coordination capacity in order to manage all together,” he said.
Troops have killed 13 bandits and arrested eight others in Zamfara, Katsina, and Kebbi States.
The Acting Force Information Officer of Operation Hadari Daji (OPHD), Captain Ayobami Oni-Orisan, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.
He explained that the feat was recorded during clearance operations, ambushes and fighting patrols in several locations across the theatre of operation between February 10 and 20.
Areas where the operations were carried out in Zamfara include Tungar Mata, Tuduki, Kawaye and Mararaban Kawaye villages in Anka Local Government Area.
Others are Moriki town in Shinkafi Local Government Area, as well as Belhi, Ruwar Kura, Kyaram, Gallai and Shirkai villages of Bukkuyum Local Government Area of the state.
The operations were also carried out in Tsauwa, Dankar and Yan Gayya villages of Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State, as well as Gallai, Shirkai and ‘Yarkuka villages in Kebbi State.
According to Oni-Orisan, the operations led to the interception of a large ammunition cache of 4,630 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition around Moriki town in Shinkafi.
The troops recovered some items such as seven AK-47 rifles, eight loaded magazines, 22 motorcycles, two Dane guns, four mobile phones, and 30 jerrycans of petrol.
The army captain revealed that the troops also intercepted suspected drug counterfeiters and drug dealers with 350 cartons of fake ‘PECOL’ drugs and a sizeable consignment of suspected Indian Hemp in Zurmi and Shinkafi Local Government Areas of Zamfara State respectively.
“The fake ‘PECOL’ drugs which were being smuggled from the Niger Republic through Jibia, were carefully concealed behind bags of fresh pepper in a J5 bus with registration number RMY 156 XA Katsina to avoid any suspicion.
“However, careful scrutiny of the vehicle by the troops led to the discovery of the fake drugs,” the statement said.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State says Nigeria needs additional 100,000 troops for the war against insurgency to be won.
The governor stated this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Defence visited him in Maiduguri, the state capital.
“I think there is a need to give the ban on the use of some certain weapons on paramilitary in the north-east for a certain period of time.
“Kindly inform the Speaker as well as the Senate President that they should advise the Federal Government to do massive recruitment of up to 100,000 into the Nigerian Army,” he told the visiting lawmakers.
The governor added, “How? They should come and recruit the locals irrespective of whether they have the western education or not.”
More than 100 US troops sustained “mild” traumatic brain injury, far more than originally announced when Iran launched missiles at their base in Iraq last month, the Department of Defense said Monday.
“As of today, 109 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI, an increase of 45 since the previous report,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
Of them, 76 have returned to duty while most of the rest are still undergoing evaluation and treatment.
President Donald Trump had initially said that no Americans were injured in the strike on the Ain al-Asad base in western Iraq on the night of January 7-8, although authorities later reported that 11 troops were injured.
Iran fired ballistic missiles at the base to retaliate for the January 3 US drone strike that killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani while he was in Baghdad.
Trump was understood to downplay the impact on US troops to help ratchet down tensions between the two countries, amid concerns that a full war could break out.
It was only a week later that reports surfaced that US troops had experienced concussions and other brain injuries.
But the US leader then dismissed the reported injuries as “headaches” and “not very serious.”
“We are grateful to the efforts of our medical professionals who have worked diligently to ensure the appropriate level of care for our service members, which has enabled nearly 70 per cent of those diagnosed to return to duty,” said Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement Monday.
“We must continue to address physical and mental health together,” she said.
Troops of operation Hadarin Daji have launched offensive attacks on various hideouts and camps of suspected bandits located in four local government areas of Zamfara and Katsina States.
The troops during the operation, also killed over one hundred bandits, destroyed their camps and recovered assorted dangerous weapons and rescued ten kidnapped victims.
A statement by the acting Force information officer of Operation Hadarin Daji, Captain Ayobami Oni-Orisan, says the kinetic operation was carried out in Anka, Maru, and Bukkuyum in Zamfara while another operation was executed in Jubia in Katsina state following the recent upsurge in activities of unrepentant bandits in both states who have refused to key into the ongoing Peace Initiatives of the Zamfara state government.
According to the statement, between December the 16th 2019 to 9 January 2020, the troops of Operation Haradin Daji, comprising personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Airforce, Nigeria Police, Department of State Services and other security agencies, conducted several clearance operations to smoke out and neutralize the recalcitrant bandits from their enclaves.
The statement further says that during the clearance operations, the troops in collaboration with the Defence Forces of Niger Republic apprehended a high-profile gunrunner named “Kunene”, who is responsible for the inflow of arms, ammunition and other dangerous weapons to the region. In addition, troops also apprehended 3 suspected bandits; Abubakar Kiri Koloma, Abubakar Ibrahim and Haruna Alhaji Yaro, and 2 notorious drug dealers; Kabiru Abubakar Isah and Hamisu Dan-kwanba at various locations in Zamfara state during the period
The statement also adds that troops during the operation, successfully neutralized about 100 bandits, including 6 key commanders, and rescued no less than 10 kidnapped persons.
It also discloses that the troops recovered assorted dangerous weapons including 500 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 15 AK 47 rifles, 4 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), one PKM Machine Gun, one Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) bomb, a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) tube, eleven fully loaded magazines, 600 rustled cows and 23 Motorbikes.
While stating that troops of Operation Haradin Daji have succeeded in ensuring that Gusau-Sokoto, Katsina-Jibia-Zamfara, Gusau-Shinkafi-Sokoto, Kajiji-Gummi-Anka-Gusau roads are safe for travellers, the acting force information officer, notes that the onslaught against unrepentant and recalcitrant bandits will continue until banditry is completely crushed and peace is restored in Zamfara, Katsina, Kebbi and Sokoto states.
Reserve troops fanned out across fire-ravaged regions in three Australian states on Monday after a horror weekend, as the government pledged $1.4 billion over two years to help recover from the devastating months-long crisis.
Catastrophic bushfires have turned swathes of land into smouldering, blackened hellscapes and destroyed an area about the size of the island of Ireland, according to official figures, with authorities warning the disaster still has weeks or months to run.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose government has been criticised for its slow response to the emergency, pledged Aus$2 billion ($1.4 billion) of taxpayer money for a national recovery fund.
“It’s a long road ahead and we will be with these communities every step of the way as they rebuild,” Morrison said.
Firefighters joined by fresh teams from the US and Canada were taking advantage of rainy and cooler conditions to tackle out-of-control blazes ahead of rising temperatures forecast later this week.
In the biggest-ever call up of reserves, military teams were deployed across eastern Australia to help emergency services assess the damage, restore power and deliver supplies of food, water and fuel to cut-off communities.
For the first time in Australian history the government also deployed its medical assistance team — normally sent to other nations to lend support in the aftermath of their disasters — to help evacuees.
“There is no room for complacency, especially as we have over 130 fires burning across (New South Wales) state still,” Premier of New South Wales state Gladys Berejiklian said on Monday.
Almost five million hectares (50,000 square kilometres) have been razed across New South Wales and more than 1.2 million hectares in Victoria since late September, officials said.
That took the total amount of land burnt close to eight million hectares — around the size of the island of Ireland or South Carolina.
Twenty-four people have lost their lives so far, with over 1,800 homes damaged.
Two people are missing in New South Wales, the nation’s most populous state.
In Victoria, Premier Daniel Andrews established a bushfire recovery agency to help devastated towns. It will be a permanent body, he said, as intense fires will become commonplace.
“We should just be honest about the fact that we’re going to see more and more fires, more and more damage as each fire season comes… this is the new normal,” Andrews told reporters.
The chair of the newly established Victoria state’s bushfire appeal fund, Pat McNamara, added that this year’s summer bushfire season was a “creeping disaster”.
“We’re still not even into what we would regard as the peak of the fire season,” McNamara told national broadcaster ABC.
In the usually picturesque southeastern town of Eden, Holly Spence said she spent more than 12 hours defending her family’s farm on Saturday, less than a week after saving it on New Year’s Eve.
“We don’t want to go through this for a third time,” the 28-year-old told AFP.
Fiona Kennelly, 50, who evacuated with 24 members of her extended family to a motel outside Eden, said she was relieved the easing conditions allowed them to get some respite from the crisis.
“It’s good to see daylight at the right time again,” she told AFP, adding that the skies had been turning pitch-black in the afternoons.
The impact of the bushfires has spread beyond affected communities, with heavy smoke engulfing the country’s second-largest city Melbourne and the national capital Canberra.
Some government departments were shut in Canberra as the city’s air quality was once-again ranked the world’s poorest, according to independent online air-quality index monitor Air Visual.
The disaster has sparked growing public anger with Morrison. Rallies are planned on Friday to call on his government to step up efforts to tackle climate change, which experts say have helped fuel the fires.
In Los Angeles, Hollywood superstar Russell Crowe said he was back home fighting the fires and that the disaster was “climate change-based”.
“We need to act on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future,” he said in a message read out by Jennifer Aniston.
Australian actress Cate Blanchett praised the volunteer firefighters battling the blazes, adding: “When one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster. We’re in it together.”
Britain will not lament the death of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday, though he warned that reprisals would lead to greater violence.
The United States killed top military leader Soleimani outside Baghdad airport in a drone strike on Friday.
In his first intervention on the escalation of tensions in the Middle East, Johnson said he had spoken Sunday with US President Donald Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
He said he would speak to other leaders in the coming days.
“General Qasem Soleimani posed a threat to all our interests and was responsible for a pattern of disruptive, destabilising behaviour in the region,” Johnson said in a statement.
“Given the leading role he has played in actions that have led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians and Western personnel, we will not lament his death.
“It is clear however that all calls for retaliation or reprisals will simply lead to more violence in the region and they are in no one’s interest.”
Johnson said that following ministerial meetings and further international calls, MPs would be updated on the situation on Tuesday.
Meanwhile London has urged Baghdad to allow international coalition soldiers to stay in Iraq, where the parliament on Sunday pressed the government to oust foreign troops.
The cabinet would have to approve any such decision.
British troops are part of an international coalition of forces stationed in Iraq — invited by the government in Baghdad in 2014 — to help fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.
A British government spokesman said: “The coalition is in Iraq to help protect Iraqis and others from the threat from Daesh (IS), at the request of the Iraqi government.
“We urge the Iraqi government to ensure the coalition is able to continue our vital work countering this shared threat.”
Some 5,200 US soldiers are stationed across Iraqi bases to support local troops preventing an IS resurgence.