Suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have fled upon sighting troops of the 34 Brigade during a clearance operation in Imo State.
The troops who were on an operation to clear the separatists in hideouts were however met with resistance as the gunmen engaged them in a gun duel.
In a statement on Thursday, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the incident happened along Amaifeke-Akkatta Road in the Orlu Local Government Area of the state.
Although he did not state the exact time, he said a cache of arms and ammunition belonging to elements of the dissident group were captured.
The army spokesman maintained that the outlawed IPOB members were forced to flee the scene after being overpowered by the troops.
“Troops uncovered the weapons concealed in a black Toyota Camry, after they successfully surmounted ambushes staged by members of the outlawed dissident group, who, having been overpowered by the gallant troops, abandoned their vehicle and weapons in the heat of the combat and fled the scene,” the statement read in part.
Items recovered from them included 10 pump-action shotguns, seven locally fabricated guns, one locally-made revolver pistol, 80 live cartridges, one Baofeng radio, and a substance suspected to be gun powder.
Others include a sachet of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and a Toyota Camry Saloon car.
Nwachukwu also commended members of the public for their continued support to the military and security agencies as they “protect the citizens from atrocious activities of the outlawed dissident groups, who in defiance of law and good order have annihilated innocent Ndigbo and other Nigerians, in their enforcement of an illegal sit at home order, foisted on the good people of the South-East”.
This is even as he asked for timely and credible information to be provided to support the military’s ongoing operations to restore peace and security in the region and other troubled parts of the country.
Troops of the Nigerian military have neutralized 18 terrorists and 115 bandits in various operations in the Northeast, Northwest, and North Central regions of the country.
The Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko, disclosed this during the bi-weekly media briefing at the Defence Headquarters in Abuja, where he highlighted some of the achievements of the military within the last two weeks.
He said troops of Operation Hadin Kai sustained an aggressive posture by conducting clearance operations in the fight against Boko Haram terrorist/Islam State West Africa (ISWAP) province terrorists and other criminal elements in the theatre of operations in Borno State during which significant results were recorded including the neutralization of twelve terrorists and the recovery of guns as well as ammunitions were made.
“The troops’ operational efforts yielded significant results in some locations in the northeast such as Mandara Mountain, Kwatara Hill, Fadagwe Village in Gwoza local government area, Timbuktu Triangle, Buk Village in Damboa Local Government Area, Hawul Village, and Mallam Fatori in Biu Local Government Area all in Borno State.
“Notably, own troops during a robust clearance operation engaged ISWAP terrorists at Mandara mountain in Gwoza Local Government Area and Timbuktu Triangle in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno; during the encounter, 10 terrorists were neutralized.
“Troops also recovered four aa-guns, 2,000 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, 10 bicycles, 1 unexploded improvised explosive device, one mowag apc, one truck mounted with 122 artillery gun, one machine gun, four AK 47 rifles, one 60mm mortar tube with five bombs,” General Onyeuko stated.
In a similar vein, Onyeuko revealed that the troops “had an encounter with Islamic State West Africa Province terrorists along with Debiro-Shaffa village in Hawul local government area, and there, two terrorists were neutralized and the troops recovered one AK 47 rifle, three magazines, 143 rounds of 7.62mm special, one Dane gun, one pump action rifle, and six cartridges.”
He said a total of 174 terrorists, mainly members of ISWAP, have also surrendered to the military in the last two weeks.
According to him, “the Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province have continued to surrendered to own troops at different locations in the theatre, a total of 174 Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic State West Africa province terrorists and their families comprising of 43 adult males, 58 females and 73 children from villages around Bama and Dikwa local government area of Borno state surrendered to own troops. All surrendered terrorists and their families have been profiled.”
In the northwest, troops of Operation Hadarin Daji neutralized 96 bandits in Zamfara, Katsina, and Kebbi states during clearance patrol, rescuing eight kidnapped victims.
Major General Onyeuko said the troops also recovered 574 rustled cattle, 22 motorcycles, three AK-47 rifles, 21 rounds of ammunition, 2 locally fabricated rifles, two pump action guns, one locally-made pistol, and five rounds of 7.62mm special, and four phones.
He further explained that “in the last two weeks’ operation whirl stroke carried out kinetic and non-kinetic operations in its theatre.
“Some of the areas in which the operations were conducted are; Akula, Alijo, Hillega, Ihuwakaa, Akirga, Tse Mela in Yooyo Council Ward, Tyodoo in Mayongo Council Ward of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, Kwanta Sule Village, Gbekyor in Guma Local Government Area, Tse Ogo Village in Ugbaam Council Ward, Tse Jundo in Mbamema Council Ward of Ukum Local Government Area and Tse Kyegh Ugondo in Logo Local Government Area All in Benue State.
“The renewed intensity by own troops in the fight against banditry and other criminal elements resulted in the destruction of many bandits’ camps. Notably on 24 February 2022, while on fighting patrol, own troops responded to a distress call from Tse Mela in Yooyo Council Ward of Katsina-Ala Local Government Area about the criminal activities of Iortyom Wuave aka Janta, a notorious armed militia gang leader on operation whirl stroke wanted list.
“Our troops mobilized and moved to the location and in a subsequent gun battle, Janta was neutralized.
“Relatedly on 25 February 2022 troops raided the hideout of the notorious armed bandits at Tse Jundo in Mbamena council ward in Uukum Local Government area of Benue State. During the shootout with troops, 2 of the notorious armed bandits – Terdoo Kiorga aka Apaapa and Orkulam Mom aka Orbutee were neutralized.
“The duo has been on the wanted list of Operation Whirl Stroke and is known to have unleashed mayhem on Zaki Biam and its environs in the past.
“Furthermore, 5 AK 47 rifles, 1 pimp action rifle, 1 pistol, 1 local made gun, 3 AK 47 magazines, 127 pieces of 5.56mm rounds, 6 pieces of 9mm rounds, 4 rounds of 7.62mm, 12 cartridges, 5 cell phones, and assorted charms were recovered and handed over to the appropriate authorities for necessary actions”.
In another development, troops on patrol and clearance operations encountered bandits in Kutunku, Baban Lamba villages in Wishishi, and Kontagora Local Government Area of Niger state.
In the encounter, seven bandits were neutralized, three AK-47 rifles, five magazines, 71 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 37 motorcycles, and 10 mobile phones were recovered.
Within the period under review, Operation Whirl Stroke has cumulatively neutralized nine bandits and recovered eight AK-47 rifles, eight magazines, 208 special ammunitions, and 15 cell phones.
As the nation battles insurgency in the North-East, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya has charged troops participating in ongoing operations to remain dogged and unrelenting in routing out criminal elements.
Yahaya, who gave the charge on Sunday during a routine operational visit to the headquarters of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State to assess the level of successes recorded thus far, called on troops to be more decisive in routing the criminal elements from their enclaves.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu.
“General Yahaya enjoined troops to continue to decimate the insurgents and deny them freedom of action. This he said, will provide a safe environment and opportunity for other elements of national power to play their statutory roles in the fight against terrorism and insurgency in the theatre,” the statement partly read.
The army chief arrived at the theatre of operations in the company of some principal staff officers, where he was given an update on the ongoing Operation Desert Sanity and Operation Lake Sanity.
He equally expressed satisfaction with the successes so far, urging them to remain vigilant and proactive during the Sallah celebration.
Troops from a West African military force killed some 20 jihadists in three days during an operation in the Lake Chad basin, the coalition said Sunday.
The lake basin, shared by Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger, and its countless islets have become one of the main havens for jihadists from Nigeria’s Boko Haram and its dissident branch, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP).
The four countries’ militaries revived the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) in 2015 to fight the extremists in the basin after its establishment in 1994. The force had been dormant until then.
The forces launched a new offensive in March that aimed to “completely destroy Boko Haram and other terrorist groups which plague the basin”, a senior MJTF official, who wished to remain anonymous, told AFP Sunday.
Aerial support to Nigerien and Nigerian forces from the coalition allowed them to carry out “aggressive patrols… against terrorists’ positions” in the jihadist “bastion” of Tumbun Rago, in the Nigerian state of Borno, the MJTF said in a statement Saturday.
Between Wednesday and Friday, “at least 20 terrorists were neutralised” despite “strong resistance”, the coalition said.
The senior MJTF official confirmed that “neutralised” meant killed, adding that the operation took place in Cameroon and in Nigeria.
The coalition has not provided figures on how many jihadists have been killed since the operation began in March.
But in a statement on April 25, it said “30 terrorists” were “neutralised” by Nigerien forces in the Kaji Jiwa area in Niger by the basin. It did not say when. One soldier died, the MJTF added.
Boko Haram launched an insurgency in northeast Nigeria in 2009 before it spread to neighbouring countries.
More than 36,000 people have been killed since, mainly in Nigeria, and three million were forced to flee their homes, the United Nations says.
According to him, the gunmen opened fire and launched a grenade attack on the troops, noting that the soldiers responded with superior firepower.
“In a hot pursuit that followed the encounter, troops arrested four of the fleeing gunmen and recovered one AK 47 rifle, two magazines, one Police grenade launcher, two Baofeng communication radios and five mobile phones,” the army spokesman said.
“The troops also recovered one IPOB beret, two motorcycles, four SIM cards, five wallets containing different Identity cards, charms and the sum of N16, 460.
“Preliminary investigation on the suspects’ mobile phones reveals gory pictures and videos depicting scenes of cold-blooded murders, corpses displayed in shrines and other heinous atrocities committed by the criminals.”
As part of strengthening and enhancing security in the West African sub-region, the Nigerian Army has deployed 173 officers and soldiers to Guinea Bissau on an ECOWAS peacekeeping Operation.
The Chief of Operations, Army Headquarters, Major General Oluwafemi Akinjobi, announced this on Thursday at the graduation and pre-deployment training of the troops from the Martin Luther Agwai Peacekeeping Centre in Jaji Kaduna State.
The graduation comes ahead of their departure to Bissau, the Guinea Bissau capital as they are expected to leave Nigeria immediately after their induction.
While addressing the troops, the Chief of Operations, represented by Major General Zakari Abubakar, warned the contingent to abide by the rules of engagement, exhibit braveness as professionals, and also respect the cultural sensitivity of the people of Guinea Bissau.
“Nigeria remains the beacon of peace and gatekeeper of the ECOWAS sub-region. Consequently, the Federal Government of Nigeria is committed to the deployment of a contingent to maintain peace in the Republic of Guinea Bissau,” he said.
“The history of peacekeeping in Africa cannot be written without the commitment and sacrifices of Nigeria. The first contingent of Nigerian peacekeepers was deployed in 1960 shortly after our independence.
“Since then, Nigeria has contributed over 100,000 peacekeepers in over 40 peacekeeping missions in Africa and across the globe. I must say with pride that our peacekeepers have had to restore peace in many conflict areas around the globe which has earned Nigeria many national and individual commendations from several nations.”
Abubakar reminded the soldiers of the United Nations’ zero tolerance for drug trafficking and human rights abuse.
He also asked them to avoid indecent characters capable of tarnishing the image of the Nigerian Army and the nation in general.
In his remarks, the Commandant of the Martin Luther Agwai Peacekeeping Centre, Major General Auwal Fagge, also highlighted the importance of the pre-deployment training.
He said the training is in line with the Nigerian Army Headquarters’ desire to ensure that troops receive the needed robust and theatre-specific pre-deployment training prior to their induction into peacekeeping missions.
Fagge expressed confidence that the high level of enthusiasm and cohesion exhibited by the soldiers and officers will reflect on their operational conduct abroad.
Troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force have killed over 27 Boko Haram insurgents and Islamic State of West Africa Province members within the fringes of the Lake Chad basin in Nigeria, Niger Republic, and Cameroon.
The troops in continuation with the Operation Lake Sanity at Forward Operations Base Arege, also rescued six female hostages who were kidnapped by the insurgents from Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, and Yobe states from October 2020 to April 2021.
According to the spokesman of the Multinational Joint Task Force, Colonel Muhammad Dole, about 20 terrorists were neutralised by the Air Task Force who identified intelligence-driven targets which they engaged using multiple sorties in the vicinity of Tumbun Fulani and Tumbun Rago.
Relatedly, the MNJTF Nigerien troops of Sector 4 while on patrol in the general area of Ngagam – Kabalewa and N’guigmi engaged a group of fleeing terrorists, neutralised five BHT/ISWAP insurgents, destroyed two gun trucks, and also recovered a large stock of arms and ammunitions.
Unfortunately, a soldier paid the supreme sacrifice and a few others were wounded in action. They are receiving treatment at a military hospital.
In another encounter, troops of Sector one in Cameroun neutralised two Boko Haram criminals within the vicinity of Toumbuma, Kerenua, and Chikingudu.
At the end of the earlier battle engagement around Tunbun Fulani and Tunbun Rago, six traumatized female hostages were found by the troops who then assisted them and brought them to their location.
The rescued women were later moved to Maiduguri for further processing and handover to the civil authorities before they will re-join their families.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the escapees who hailed from Adamawa, Borno, Gombe, and Yobe states were kidnapped at different places and times by the evil and criminally minded BHTs/ISWAP ranging from October 2020 to April 2021.
Troops of Operation Delta Safe have destroyed thirty-one illegal refining sites and also recovered over twelve million litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) in different operations in Delta, Rivers, and Bayelsa states.
The Director of Defence Media Operations Major General Bernard Onyeuko said this while addressing journalists during a media briefing on Thursday in Abuja.
“Accordingly, troops discovered and destroyed 30 illegal refining sites, 37 reservoirs, 31 ovens, 12 large wooden boats, two cooling systems, three receivers, three storage pits, and metal drums,” he said during the event.
“Cumulatively, troops within the period under review recovered twelve million one hundred and fifty thousand (12,150,000) litres of illegally refined AGO, four thousand (4,000) litres of stolen crude oil, three tankers, three vehicles, 73 galvanized pipes, two motorcycles, one bus, one Toyota Camry, Mercedes Benz car.
“Furthermore, two electricity cable thieves associated with vandalization and stealing of high-tension cables were apprehended.
“All recovered items and apprehended criminal elements were handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.”
According to him, Operation Haradin Kai troops also recorded successes in Borno State.
“Also, troops neutralized scores of terrorist arrests, 22 terrorist spies, 11 terrorists, three logistics suppliers, rescued 30 civilians, of significant, is the surrendered of a high-profile terrorist, Commander Sale Mustapha (Ibin Kathir) to own troops in Bama. He was the Qaid of Garin Ba-Abba.
“While a total of 51,114 Boko Haram terrorists and families surrendered to troops comprising 11,398men, 15,381women, and 24,335children as of 5 April 2022,” he said.
He explained that “all surrendered terrorists have been documented, while arrested, rescued civilians and recovered items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.”
Russia has removed about two-thirds of the troops it had around Kyiv, mostly sent back to Belarus with plans to redeploy elsewhere in Ukraine, a senior Pentagon official said Monday.
“They have about a third left of the forces that they had arrayed against Kyiv,” the official said on grounds of anonymity.
“We do begin to see them consolidating in Belarus. What we continue to believe is that they’re going to be refit, resupplied, perhaps maybe even reinforced with additional manpower, and then sent back into Ukraine to continue fighting elsewhere,” the official said.
The redeployment comes after Ukraine forces delivered a strong pushback against the Russians, who invaded Ukraine on February 24 with the apparent intent of quickly capturing Kyiv, the capital, and replacing the government.
Western military analysts have called the failed Kyiv siege a significant defeat for the Russians, but Moscow has suggested it wants to focus its military efforts on the country’s southeast Donbas region, where they have joined hands with pro-Russia secessionist forces.
The Pentagon official said the withdrawn troops had not yet shown signs of moving to Donbas. “We haven’t seen them begin to move,” the official said.
Nevertheless, the official said, the Pentagon believes that the Russians are now going to “become more aggressive” in the Donbas region.
The official did not deny reports that Western allies of Ukraine are planning to supply it with tanks made in the former Soviet Union to continue their counterattack on Russian forces.
“We continue to discuss and talk with allies and partners about security assistance for Ukraine,” the official said.
“But these decisions about what a nation provides to Ukraine are national decisions that they have to make for themselves.”
Nine weeks into the war, Washington has stressed that it was only providing “defensive” arms to Ukraine, like precision weapons to destroy Russian armored vehicles.
Some 14 other countries are providing what are generally more offensive-use weapons, the official said.
The Nigerian Army on Thursday described as misleading the viral video of a soldier who claimed he had been abandoned by his colleages.
“I’ve suffered a lot,” the soldier with the nametag Musa said in the video. “I’m trying to save my life. I’m the only one in the bush. The remaining soldiers have ran and left me. God, help me. God, protect my life.”
In a statement signed by spokesperson Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the army said the video was shot by the soldier after he absconded from his duty.
“Contrary to the claims and impression created by the soldier in the video footage, preliminary investigations have revealed that the video footage was a deliberate attempt to shield himself from being accused of cowardice, having abandoned his colleagues during an ongoing clearance operation in Gurara, Niger State,” the statement said.
“It could be recalled that troops of the NA, recently carried out a clearance operation in Gurara Local Government Area of Niger State. Disappointingly, during an encounter, the said soldier abandoned his colleagues and absconded in an outright display of cowardice and possible sabotage, which negate the precepts of the military profession.
“Sensing the gravity of his action and its consequences, the soldier surreptitiously uploaded the video online in a calculated attempt to whip-up public sentiment and cover up his act of cowardice. The soldier’s action amounts to a betrayal of the esprit de corps and comradery that are synomous with a military unit and fighting formation, particularly during operations. The soldier’s conduct is therefore an aberration and against the ethics and core values of the military profession.
“The video footage is thus, in all intent, and purpose a misrepresentation of what actually transpired between the soldier and his colleagues. The soldier has rejoined his unit and further investigations are currently ongoing to unravel the reasons behind his unprofessional conduct.”
Onyeuko stated that the troops recovered several heavy equipment after a thorough cordon and search of the captured camp.
He listed them to include one main battle tank, one 155mm Bofors gun, one trailer, one 122mm gun, two 105mm gun, one Mines Resistance Ambush Protected (MRAP) fighting vehicle, one MOWAG Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC), and one Mack trailer, as well as a large cache of arms and ammunition left behind by the fleeing terrorists.
“Further exploitation is ongoing,” the major general said. “The capture of the terrorists’ stronghold of Camp Zairo is a major setback to the criminals.
“The military High Command commends the ever-conquering troops of Op Hadin Kai for this immense success. They are enjoined not to rest on their oars but use this as a springboard to finally defeat the insurgents and keep up the fighting spirit.”
The photos below capture some of the highlights of the operation.