By Chuks Oyema-Aziken
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), has called on terrorists and all others involved in criminality in the country to surrender in their own interest.
The Coordinator Defence Media Operations, DMO, Major General John Enenche handed down the warning in Abuja during the weekly media briefing on the military operations across the country.
The briefing covered the six geo-political of the country from 18th March to December 30, 2020.
The Coordinator said “the doors are still open to the repentant criminals to handover themselves immediately to the security forces in their own interest As for us in the military, we have signed to fight on and to protect the lives and properties of innocent citizens and foreigners alike.
Gen Enenche said that the Military would devise more tougher measures against terrorists and bandits in the corning new year
According to him, “the efforts and sacrifices of the gallant officers and men of the Military as well as other security agencies that conduct these operations have been progressive. Within the period under review, troops engaged in a series of land, maritime and air operations, involving both kinetic and non-kinetic activities across the country.
“The land operations conducted among others across the various theatres of operation include; clearance, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments and aggressive patrols. Others were maritime operations involving anti-piracy, anti-illegal bunkering, anti-crude oil theft and anti-pipeline vandalism operations as well as other duties such as anti-smuggling operations.
“Furthermore, comprehensive air operations including air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support and air cover for ground troops.”
He said that during the period under review the gallant Troops across the various theatres of operation killed 2,403 bandits and rescued 864 kidnapped victims while they also recovered a large cache of firearms from the criminals.
According to him, “in summary, the Armed Forces of Nigeria from 18 March to 30 December 2020 neutralized 2,403 criminal elements across the Country. This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during airstrikes.
“In addition, a total of 9,684,797 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,000 litres of DPK were recovered. Equally, 1,910 criminal elements were arrested and a large cache of arms, ammunition and equipment were recovered during the period. Furthermore, a total of 46,581.8 barrels of stolen crude oil and 22,881,257 litres of stolen PMS were recovered by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
“Although some of our troops paid the supreme prize in the course of the operations, our dogged troops have consistently exhibited gallantry and resilience in the various operations. Within the timeframe in focus, troops neutralized scores of terrorists and bandits, while many others were incapacitated and their camps destroyed.
“Our operations also inhibited activities of economic saboteurs as well as exposed and obviated other criminal activities. In addition, several other criminal elements, including high profile ones were either killed in action or arrested, sometimes together with their families as well as informants and gunrunners.
“Besides, there are records of scores of criminals surrendering due to troops’ overwhelming superior firepower and intelligence activities. Other feats recorded in the course of our operations were the rescue of kidnapped victims, prominent among which, is the recent rescue of 344 schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, as well as the Islamiya children, all in Katsina State. Others were repelling and forestallment of terrorists and bandits’ attacks on civilians and troops.”
Gen Enenche further revealed that; “troops also recovered caches of arms and ammunition, equipment, vehicles and oodles of livestock within the period. You may as well recall that, in the maritime environment, troops in major and subsidiary operations were able to disrupt smuggling activities, immobilize illegal refining sites, arrest perpetrators, seize foreign parboiled rice and recover tons of petroleum products.”
Giving a further breakdown of operations in the zones within the time under review, Enenche, explained that, “in the North-West zone of the country, between March 18 and December 31, 2020, a cumulative total of 5,281 livestock, 6,951 rounds of ammunition and 120 assorted rifles were recovered from the armed bandits by the gallant troops in the Zone. Furthermore, a total of 455 kidnapped victims were rescued and 473 armed bandits were killed in action.
“In the same vein, a total of 461 arrests were made in the Zone including high profile armed bandits, gun runners and bandit’s collaborators, while total cash of N6,365,550 was recovered from armed bandits and their informants in the Zone.
“Progressively, in the North-East zone of the country within the period, 200 kidnapped victims were rescued by the gallant troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. A total of 1,385 rounds of ammunition, 45 grenades as well as 95 assorted rifles were recovered from BHT/ISWAP fighters.
He added that “In addition, several gun trucks were captured, while some others were destroyed during airstrikes. Equally, 1,805 insurgents/terrorists including commanders were killed by the troops aside scores killed by air raids/attacks. Additionally, within the period, a total of 79 arrests were made including high-value targets.”
According to him, “in the North-Central zone of the Country, within the period, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN, WHIRL STROKE and THUNDER STRIKE have achieved appreciable successes. A total of 130 kidnapped victims were rescued and 105 assorted rifles, as well as 513 rounds of ammunition and 1,055 rustled cattle, were recovered from armed bandits and other criminal elements in the Zone. In the same vein, a total of 1,250 criminals including family members of the Darul Salam sect were arrested within the period. Furthermore, troops neutralised a total of 125 armed bandits including militia gang leaders.
Speaking further, he said “In the South-South Zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria working with other security agencies recorded remarkable results in their efforts against economic sabotage and other sundry crimes in the Zone. Within the period under review, a cumulative total of 8,890,300 litres of stolen AGO and 33,516,00 litres of DPK were impounded by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE. In the same vein, the gallant troops immobilised a total of 185 illegal refining sites, 85 dugout pits and 163 metal storage tanks within the period.
“Additionally, troops impounded a cumulative total of 31,236.8 barrels of stolen crude oil as well as 12,272,652 litres of stolen PMS from oil thieves in the Zone. Also, a total of 47 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 72 vandals and criminals were arrested. Furthermore, a total of 4,250 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice were impounded and 45 boats engaged in illegal activities were arrested. Troops also arrested a total of 53 pirates and 25 trucks as well as recovered 23 rifles, 65,330 rounds of ammunition and destroyed 23 sea pirate camps.
Gen Eneche explained further that“ similarly, troops of Operation AWATSE in the South-West Zone between 18 March and 30 December 2020, impounded a total of 10,458,600 litres of PMS; 15,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 345,000 litres of stolen AGO. Additionally, troops recovered a total of 3,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles.
“Also, within the period, a total of 23 illegal refining sites were immobilized, while 15 boats and 23 trucks engaged in illegal activities were arrested. In the same vein, within the period 35 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 48 arrests were made.
“In addition to the kinetic operations, the Armed Forces of Nigeria carried out non-kinetic operations in form of Civil-Military Cooperation Activities (CIMIC). A total of 92 boreholes were sunk for host communities and 16 schools and worship centres were renovated across the country.
“Additionally, 16 clinics and dispensaries were constructed and donated, including buses to host communities. Moreover, the Armed Forces of Nigeria constructed roads installed transformers and solar power equipment in some host communities. The military also fostered several stakeholders and reconciliation meetings between hostile communities and carried out medical outreaches.”