By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Nigerian troops have eliminated 42 terrorists and bandits, arrested 41 and rescued 93 kidnapped victims in the Northeast, Northwest and North Central theatres of operation in the last two weeks, Defence Headquarters says.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, announced this while giving updates on the military operations across the country on Thursday in Abuja.
Onyeuko said that the troops of Operation Hadin Kai, had eliminated 16 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and arrested 29 as well as rescued 40 civilians in the Northeast within the period.
He said the successes were achieved through several land and air operations which include robust clearance, ambush and road piquet operations as well as comprehensive air patrol within the theatre.
“Cumulatively, the operations led to the neutralisation of 16 BHT/ISWAPs as well as arrest of 29 of them, while 40 civilians were rescued.
“BHT and their families, five female adults and 12 children were arrested at FOB Mayanti and Darajamel on July 15.
“Troops also recovered one General Purpose Machine Gun, four AK-47 rifles, 50 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and one belt containing 296 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition, accessories for making IED among other items,’’ he said.
Onyeuko also disclosed that the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji in the North West, neutralised no fewer than 14 bandits, arrested 24 and rescued 36 victims in different locations within the theatre.
He added that troops also assisted one of the victims to deliver a baby safely during one of the encounters.
According to him, a total of seven AK-47 rifles, six motorcycles, assorted military and police uniforms, six vehicles and four machetes among other items were recovered within the period.
“Also, a total of 24 criminal elements were intercepted and arrested, including 16 bandits’ informants/collaborators and an impostor by name Faisal Saidu who paraded himself as Lance Corporal Saidu Abubakar.
“Furthermore, a total of 223 rustled livestock were recovered during the period,’’ he added.
The defence spokesperson further disclosed that troops Operation Safe Haven, successfully conducted several kinetic and non-kinetic operations in various locations in Plateau, Bauchi and Kaduna State within the period.
He said that the troops eliminated seven bandits and five armed robbers with several others escaping with gunshot wounds, while 12 were arrested within the period.
He added that a total 12 assorted rifles, a truck load of stolen railway tracks and sleepers were also recovered and 17 kidnap victims rescued in the course of the operations.
According to him, all arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed-over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for further necessary action, while rescued victims have been reunited with their families.
“Peace and security meetings were also held in various parts of the state with community heads, youth leaders and relevant stake holders.
“Troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operations with aggressive fighting and air patrols to deny criminal elements freedom of action within the theatre of operations,’’ he said.
Onyeuko said that troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, Whirl Punch and Thunder Strike, have continued to exert dominance in Benue, Nasarawa State, Kaduna State and along Abuja-Kaduna Highway to deny bandits freedom of action.
He said the troops had on July 18, tracked and arrested a notorious criminal named Mr Simon Unande, who allegedly supplied military uniforms and accoutrements to militia gangs in parts of Benue and Taraba.
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