By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Armed Forces of Nigeria on Thursday pleaded with Nigerians to wait for outcome of the investigative panel set up by the Lagos State Government to probe alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos.
Major General John Enenche
Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters stated this in reply to various questions on the role of military personnel in the incident.
Gen. Enenche spoke during the weekly media briefing at the DHQ.
The Coordinator expressed reservation on the incident and did not rule out that it was a deliberate attempt to embarrass the government and the armed forces.
According to him “Let us be patient and allow appropriate segment of the society to handle the issue.
The media briefing covered the period 15 – 21 October 2020.
2. Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have continued to record significant successes against the armed bandits in the North West zone of the country. The gallant troops have continued to exhibit continued resilience in the fight against armed banditry, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes in the zone. In one of the feat recorded, troops repelled bandits attack at Rawayu village in Kurfi Local Government Area of Katsina State on 15 October 2020. In the course of the encounter, 4 armed bandits were neutralized while others escaped with gunshot wounds. In another encounter security operatives in conjunction with vigilantes neutralized one Abubakar Haruna, a suspected arms trafficker and recovered 600 rounds of 7.62mm live ammunition along Tsakiya Road in Dutsinma Local Government Area of Katsina State.
3. Relatedly, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI on 16 October 2020 arrested a suspected bandit collaborator at Sheme Junction in Bakori Local Government Area of Katsina State. Similarly, still on same 16 October, Forward Operating Base MAGAMI patrol team arrested 2 suspected bandits at Magami Market in Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State on their alleged involvement in an attack where one person was killed and 13 others were abducted on 21 September 2020.
4. These successes recorded within the period are evident of the troop’s resolve, doggedness and determination to end the security challenges in the North-West zone. The general public is hereby encouraged to provide timely and actionable intelligence that will assist the troops in the operation.
5. In the North East zone of the country, troops of LAFIYA DOLE have remained resolute in their commitment to sustain the tempo in their operational activities. Between 15 and 21 October 2020, series of ground and air operations were conducted by the gallant troops. These include aggressive clearance operations, cordon and search operations, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions as well as artillery and aerial bombardments on terrorists’ hideouts at different locations in the theatre of operation. The cumulative operations of the troops with superior firepower have drastically denied the terrorists’ freedom of action and reduced their operational capabilities in the zone. Notably, on 16 October 2020, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE while on clearance operations encountered Boko Haram/ ISWAP at Sawa village in Nganzai Local Government Area of Borno State. During the encounter, 4 terrorists were neutralized while 4 AK47 rifles were recovered by the troops.
6. As the Land Component conduct aggressive patrols and dominate the zone, the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE conducted series of air operations with a force package of Nigerian Air Force fighter jets and helicopter gunships as part of the activities of its subsidiary Operation WUTAR TABKI. Several air interdiction and surveillance missions were executed, revealing terrorists’ activities in various locations in the North East. This led to the destruction of terrorists’ hideouts and neutralization of scores of their fighters. On 15 October 2020, air strikes were executed on ISWAP elements’ locations with structures and logistics items, camouflaged under the dense vegetation at TudunWulgo and Tumbun Gini Villages on the fringes of Lake Chad in Borno State. The air strikes led to the neutralization of several ISWAP fighters and destruction of the identified structures with their logistics facilities. Similarly, on 18 October 2020, air interdiction missions executed by the Air Task Force led to the neutralization of scores of ISWAP members and destruction of their hideouts at Tsilala Village near Kaza in the Diwa general area of Borno State. In another development, sustained air strikes executed on 19 October 2020 by the Air Task Force, decimated several ISWAP training camps and their logistics storage facilities at Tumbun Barorowa, also on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State.
7. The downward trend in kinetics from the North East is an indication of own troops superior operational capabilities as well as cooperation from the populace. Thus, as the High Command of the Military appreciates the general public for their support, it further solicits their cooperation towards providing credible and timely information on terrorists’ activities to facilitate proactive engagements in our operations in the North East zone.
NORTH CENTRAL ZONE
8. The Armed Forces of Nigeria have continued to maintain the momentum of the fight against criminality through aggressive clearance patrols, ambushes and raids in the North Central Zone. These successful kinetic efforts were supported by Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities in the form of stakeholders’ meetings amongst the various ethnic groups in the zone.
9. Within the period under review, troops of operations WHIRL STROKE and SAFE HAVEN conducted several clearance operations at identified bandit’s camps. Notably, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE neutralized 2 armed bandits in Nasarawa State. The Joint Force while on patrol on 18 October 2020 around Kango and Adumata villages came in contact with a group of armed bandits leading to exchange of fire. The gallant troops overwhelmed the bandits thereby neutralizing 2 while others escaped with gunshots wounds. Troops also recovered one AK47 rifle, one locally made rifle, 6 AK47 magazines, 110 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition and assorted drugs.
10. Furthermore, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE while on raid operations at River Yo-Yo and Tachar villages respectively had contact with armed bandits. Troops responded with superior fire power forcing the armed elements to flee into the surrounding bushes. The gallant troops engaged the bandits in hot pursuit following which 2 were neutralized. In the course of operation, one locally made AK 47 rifle, one magazine, 7 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, one Toyota Corolla car, some substances suspected to be Indian Hemp as well as charms were recovered. Troops subsequently cleared the bandits’ hideout. Currently, the gallant troops have dominated the area with aggressive patrols to deny bandits freedom of action.
11. Similarly, on 16 October 2020, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN deployed at Kuba responded to distress calls about an armed robbery along Road Bokkos- Barkin Ladi in Bokkos LGA of Plateau State. Troops engaged the criminals and neutralized one of them while others fled with gunshot wounds. Additionally, troops recovered one locally fabricated rifle, 2 mobile handsets, one jack knife and 4 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.
12. Additionally, on 20 October 2020, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN in conjunction with personnel of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) conducted a joint raid operation at the residence of suspected drug peddlers at Zamkam, Gamji, Chakwai and Menum villages of Kadarko district in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State. The raid was conducted following actionable intelligence on the activities of the drug kingpins at the location. Troops stormed the residence and arrested 6 suspects with a large quantity of substance suspected to be Cannabis Sativa.
13. As part of CIMIC activities within the period under review, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN on 15 October 2020, delivered drugs to Rim Primary Healthcare Clinic renovated by the Defence Headquarters at Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
SOUTH WEST ZONE
14. In the South West zone, Troops of Operation AWATSE have continued to intensify the fight against pipeline vandals, economic saboteurs and other criminal elements. Troops of Operation AWATSE on routine patrol arrested 2 suspected oil thieves with products suspected to be stolen Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) at Agala 1 and Ilado areas of Atlas Cove in Lagos State. Troops have continued to dominate the general area with clearance and aggressive patrols while maintaining surveillance to rid the area of pipeline vandals and other economic saboteurs.
15. Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have sustained the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the zone with tremendous successes. On 16 October 2020, Nigerian Navy Ship PATHFINDER patrol team discovered and immobilized an illegal refinery containing 321,500 litres of illegally refined oil products at Tuma Creek in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State. Also, on same day, Forward Operating Base Bonny patrol team immobilized an illegal refinery containing 54,000 litres of crude oil at Dabara Creek in Bonny Local Government of the State.
16. In another development, troops of Operation SILENT HEAT III have continued to record tremendous successes. Gunboats of Forward Operating Base IBAKA on 17 October 2020 while on routine patrol along Utan Iyata Creek intercepted and arrested a large wooden boat containing 50kg parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled in from the Republic of Cameroon. A total of 1,637 bags of 50kg parboiled rice were recovered and 2 suspects were arrested. Also, on 20 October 2020, Forward Operating Base IBAKA gunboats while on routine patrol around Mbo River intercepted and arrested a small sized wooden boat laden with 33 drums of products suspected to be Premium Motor Spirit with 2 suspects. Suspects are currently in own custody and will soon be handed over to the prosecuting agency for necessary action. From these successes, it is clear that, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE and other security agencies working together remain resolute and dedicated in their endeavor to end the fight against economic sabotage.
17. Overall, 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 resoluteness, determination and loyalty. They are equally encouraged to remain unwavering and decisive in curtailing the activities of all criminal elements in the country. Members of the general public are hereby reassured that the Nigerian Military will continue to tackle the security challenges to 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. Thank you.