BY: Joy Odor/Abuja
The Nigerian Army has observed that the current threat assessments have revealed the migration of bandits from their epicenter to other areas in Kaduna, Kano and Niger States.
The Chief of Army Staff-COAS, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai made the observation in his speech in a press briefing in Abuja, Army Headquarters on the re-organization of Exercise HARBIN KUNAMA III occasioned by fleeing bandits that have resorted to attacking soft targets while relocating to other safe havens within contiguous States of Katsina and Sokoto.
Represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Major-General Lamidi Adeosun, the COAS recall that Exercise HARBIN KUNAMA III was launched on 1 April 2019 after the Chief of Army staff’s Press Conference in Gusau, Zamfara State on 31 March 2019.
“I am pleased to inform you all that the exercise has so far achieved tremendous successes within the past one month. Several bandits and criminal elements have been captured and killed while some camps, hideouts and equipment of the criminals have been destroyed.
“It has however been observed that there appear to be a resurgence of their activities in other contiguous States to Zamfara. This is occasioned by fleeing bandits that have resorted to attacking soft targets while relocating to other safe havens within contiguous States of KATSINA and SOKOTO. Current threat assessments revealed the migration of the bandits from their epicenter to other areas in KADUNA, KANO and NIGER States” He stressed.
According to him, it is against this backdrop that Exercise HARBIN KUNAMA III is being re-organized and its mandate expanded to effectively ensure the complete defeat of the fleeing bandits.
Lieutenant General Buratai was of the opinion that the Exercise is to restore public confidence and enhance safety while also ensuring socio-economic activities continue without fear or intimidation.
He therefore pleaded with the general public to persevere in the face of seeming inconveniences due to restrictions that may be imposed in these areas while the Nigerian Army is conducting the exercise.
“The Nigerian Army mandate is aimed at building confidence and ensuring our country is rid of criminal elements that are poised to destabilize the normal life, rights and freedom of the people across the country as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
“I want to assure the general public that the Nigerian Army will carry out its constitutional mandate professionally and within the ambit of the law while adhering to the ROE.
“Consequently, I urge the general public to claim ownership of the security of the country and willfully avail us with credible information that will assist in flushing out subversive and criminal elements from their hideouts and safe haven.
“Be rest assured that the Nigerian Army will continue to support the non-kinetic efforts of the civil authority to combat criminality and banditry as well as prevent it from gaining traction and spreading to other relatively peaceful regions of the country.
He commended the traditional rulers and religious leaders and enjoined them to continue to support the Nigerian Army with credible information that will assist in the professional conduct of the exercises and operations to rid the area of banditry and criminality.
The COAS encouraged them to continue to galvanize their subjects and followers to tow the path of peaceful resolution of conflicts rather than resulting to violence which does nobody any good.
“I use this medium to once again call on all religious leaders to pray for the success of our exercise and operations as well as pray for the total eradication of insecurity in our country.
“I must also commend officers and men of the NA for their display of courage and gallantry in dealing with the myriad of security challenges confronting the nation especially the insurgency in the North East, banditry in the North West and other forms of criminality in other parts of the country in a most professional manner.
“I want to re-assure you that the Nigerian Army leadership will continue to provide troops with all the equipment and necessary support to combat all of these menaces within available resources.
“I will also want to acknowledge and appreciate the support of the Nigeria Police and other security agencies for your excellent collaboration and cooperation with our troops.
“It is our hope that this synergy towards leveraging our collective security efforts would continue” He ended.