Defence/Security

Troops eliminate 858 bandits, arrest 2,318 – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters says troops eliminated a total of 858 bandits, arrested 2,318 and rescued 554 kidnapped victims in different operations across North-west and North-central between May 2021 and January 2022.

The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Bernard Onyeuko, a major general, disclosed this when he briefed journalists on the operations of the armed forces across the country on Thursday in Abuja.

Mr Onyeuko said the military achieved the feat through operations Hadarin Daji in North-west, Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke in North-central as well as Thunder Strike/Whirl Punch in North-west and Central.

Under Operation Hadarin Daji, he said the operational efforts of the gallant troops resulted in the killing of 537 bandits and other criminal elements and arrest of 374 criminal elements including bandits and their collaborators as well as criminal herdsmen and robbers.

Mr Onyeuko added that troops also rescued 452 kidnapped victims and recovered 227 assorted arms, including AK-47 rifles, PKT machine guns and GPMGs as well as 4,443 rounds of different calibres of ammunition.

According to him, 3,250 rustled livestock, 238 motorcycles and 118 extra rifle magazines were recovered by the troops in the course of the operations.

He said the Air Component recorded another feat on January 3 when it executed air offensives on bandits’ enclaves at Gusami Forest and West Tsamre village in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara, which led to the neutralisation of scores of bandits.

He said the locations were the operational base of two key bandits’ leaders, Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga, who were killed alongside their followers.

According to him, no fewer than 100 bandits were neutralised in the encounter.

Under Operation Safe Haven, Mr Onyeuko disclosed that troops arrested a total of 1,771 criminal elements including bandits, armed herdsmen and livestock rustlers; while 109 bandits were killed in action within the period.

He added that troops also rescued 75 kidnapped victims and recovered 1,306 livestock, 108 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles and locally produced guns as well as 493 rounds of different calibres of ammunition among other items.

According to him, troops carried out various non-kinetic activities in different locations within the theatre to contain security challenges in its area of responsibility.

“Some of these include; peace and security meetings with critical security stakeholders to discuss and proffer actionable solutions to security concerns as well as organized sporting activities for youths with a view to dissuade them from criminal activities,” he said.

In Operation Whirl Stroke, Mr Onyeuko said the troops eliminated a total of 168 criminal elements and arrested 127, including migrant bandits as well as recovered 118 different types of arms and 381 different calibres of ammunition.

He further disclosed that 391 livestock were recovered, while 33 kidnapped victims were rescued within the period in the North-central.

The Defence spokesperson also disclosed that troops of Operation Thunder Stroke/Whirl Punch, eliminated a total of 44 criminals and arrested 46 within the period.

According to him, the operations also led to the recovery of 59 assorted arms, 12 extra AK-47 rifles magazines, 113 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 16 motorcycles among other items in the course of the operations.

“Additionally, a total of 14 kidnapped civilians were rescued and reunited with their families within the period under review,” he said. (NAN)

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