By Joy Odor
The Defence Headquarters says, considering Military operational activities in the various theatres of operation, there is a decrease in the criminal activities between 3 and 16 June 2021.
The Acting Director Defence Media Operation, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko made this known while briefing Defence Correspondents in Abuja on operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other Security Agencies in the theatres of operations on Thursday.
Brigadier General Onyeuko said this is a result of troops’ operational efforts to deny criminals freedom of operation and the armed forces of Nigeria remain resolute to take decisive and adequate actions to further abate terrorists and bandits’ activities as well as other vices across the Country.
He added that troops sustained the onslaught against all forms of criminalities by conducting series of operations ranging from aggressive ground operations to comprehensive air operations and exclusive maritime operations against criminal elements and their enclaves.
Giving updates on Operational activities of Operations HADIN KAI; HADARIN DAJI; SAFE HAVEN; WHIRL STROKE; DELTA SAFE; and AWATSE as well as the non-kinetic approach in tackling the security challenges, Onyeuko said in the North East Zone, troops of Operation HADIN KAI between 3rd and 16th June 2021 Troops repelled with extensive airstrikes with NAF platforms on 3 June, and thwarted terrorists’ attacks on Damboa Town in Borno State on the same day, where several fighters of the ISWAP sect, including one of their commander named Umar Tela, were neutralized.
These dislodged several terrorists and inflicted significant damages on their logistics facilities.
Other locations where troops recorded significant results were; Gujba Town in Gujba LGA of Yobe State, Magumeri Town in Borno State and Mubi Town in Mubi LGA of Adamawa State; where troops conducted raid operations on BHT hideouts on 4 and 5 June 2021.
During the course of these operations within the period under review, several terrorists were neutralized, while some escaped with gunshot wounds.
Troops operations in the North-East zone also led to the arrest of some terrorists and kidnappers including the leader of a notorious kidnapping syndicate in the North East Zone, named Mohammed Maki, who is a Chadian.
A large number of their gun trucks and other logistics facilities were as well destroyed in the process.
Troops also recovered large caches of arms and ammunition, large quantities of PMS and AGO in jerry cans in the course of the operations.
The attendant results recorded by troops through their superior operational engagements have continued to degrade the terrorists’ operational capabilities and deny them freedom of operation in the North East theatre within the period under review.
Acting Director Defence Media Operation, Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko added that Troops of HADARIN DAJI theatre of operation during an ambush operation on 3 June, intercepted and neutralized some gunrunners who were in possession of assorted arms and ammunition between Naimaimai Village and Sabon Birni Town in Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State.
Similarly, on 4 June 2021, troops, following credible intelligence report, conducted a cordon and search operation along Gurbin Baure – Jibia Road in Katsina State. During the operation, troops intercepted and neutralized some armed bandits.
In another development on 6 June 2021, the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted air raids on bandits’ enclaves at Jibia area in Katsina State.
The air raid led to the neutralization of several armed bandits and the destruction of structures used as hideouts. In the same vein, troops while on aggressive fighting patrol arrested some kidnappers and rescued some of their victims at Bena Market in Danko Wasagu LGA of Kebbi State.
During the operation, large caches of arms and ammunition, as well as equipment and vehicles, were captured from the criminal elements.
Troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operation with aggressive patrols and sustained air intelligence surveillance to deny bandits freedom of operation.
Onyeuko also revealed that, In Operation SAFE HAVEN theatre of operations, troops between 3 and 16 June 2021, sustained their operational tempo and conducted fighting patrols, ambushes as well as cordon and search operations which resulted in the neutralization of several armed bandits, arrest of armed bandits/cultists and recovery of arms and ammunition while others escaped with gunshot wounds.
These incidents occurred when troops on fighting patrol came in contact and engaged some armed bandits along Bokkos – Gana Rop Road on 4 June 2021.
In another encounter on 5 June, troops on the heels of the credible intelligence report ambushed and arrested some cultists who reportedly belong to a criminal gang that attacks and robs commuters and dispossess’ them of their belongings at Terminus general area of Jos, Plateau State.
Similarly, troops on patrol on the same day arrested a notorious kidnapper, who has been on the wanted list of security agents, by the name Halilu Umaru, who was in possession of assorted arms and ammunition and other dangerous weapons around Mangu Market in Mangu LGA of Plateau State.
All arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to appropriate agencies for further necessary actions.
The troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN also conducted non-kinetic operations.
On 15 June 2021 held stakeholders meetings at different locations the meetings were aimed at building peace, trust and confidence amongst the locals. One of these meetings was held at Wasa Village in Sanga LGA of Kaduna State, where locals were advised against taking laws into their hands.
Another one was held at Tafawa Village in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State with Fulani leaders and herders to discuss measures at tackling insecurity in the area.
Furthermore, a meeting was held in Bokkos LGA of the State with herders to discuss measures at controlling night grazing and the use of minors for grazing as well as the destruction of farmlands.
At the end, all stakeholders were urged to give peace a chance and were encouraged to provide useful information on criminal elements to security agencies.
He also said, Troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE on 3 June, troops arrested some criminal gang members at Ayiin Town in Logo LGA of Benue State. The criminals were among others involved in kidnapping and other related criminal activities in the area. The arrested criminals and weapons recovered have been handed over to appropriate agencies for further action.
Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE between 3 and 16 June 2021 conducted a series of anti-illegal oil bunkering and raid operations that thwarted activities of economic saboteurs.
These operations led to the deactivation of several illegal oil refining sites, disconnection of illegal pipelines, arrest of different criminal elements, interception and confiscation of contraband vessels, recovery of stolen items and resealing of reactivated illegal oil refining sites.
These feats were achieved on 3 and 4 June 2021 as troops conducted anti-illegal oil bunkering operations to deactivate illegal oil refining sites at Ibaa in Emohua LGA and Kumufari and Yalama Towns in Asari-Toru LGA of Rivers State.
During the operations, several barrels of illegally refined PMS and AGO were impounded and storage tanks immobilized.
Relatedly, troops, while on patrol on 4 June, intercepted and impounded several wooden boats; some laden with large quantities of stolen crude oil, others loaded with vandalized pipes at DSC Roundabout in Udu LGA and Opuama Creek in Warri North LGA of Delta State.
Additionally, troops on 5 June disconnected an illegal pipeline laid by criminals connected to SPDC pipeline around Ibaa in Emohua LGA of Rivers State. Troops also re-sealed some illegal oil refining sites reactivated by criminal elements at Koko Community in Warri North LGA of Delta State on 6 June 2021.
In another development the same day, troops arrested some criminals disguised as lunatics, who were in possession of some stolen and illegal items, including several fake military barrack permit ID cards and military uniforms, at Tipper Garage and Navy Scrape Yard in Uvwie LGA of Delta State.
Meanwhile, the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies while conducting operations in the South East Zone of the Country contained several Independent People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) activities in the Zone between 3 and 16 June 2021.
Within the period, troops responded to several distress calls on IPOB/ESN attacks on police stations, maiming and killing of security operatives as well as civilians and destruction of properties in the Zone.
Some of these operations were conducted at Ukpong in Obot Akara LGA of Akwa-Ibom State, in which the hoodlums had a hideout from where they perpetrate illicit acts. On 4 June 2021, troops raided the hoodlums’ hideouts and dislodged them.
Troops also, on the heels of credible actionable intelligence on 4 June, engaged and repelled some IPOB/ESN hoodlums who attacked Okposi Town in Ohaozara LGA of Eboyin State and the Criminal Investigation Department, Abia State Command.
Similarly, troops on 5 June 2021 repelled IPOB hoodlums attack on commuters along Igbo-Ekiti – Nsukka Road in Enugu State.
In another development on the same day, troops tracked and apprehended some hoodlums who vandalized and stole railroad sleepers at Nkwubor Road within Emene in Enugu East LGA of Enugu State.
In the South-West Zone, troops of Operation AWATSE between 3 and 16 June 2021 conducted operations to repel armed herdsmen attack and raided some criminal hideouts.
One of these operations was executed at Igangan Community in Ibarapa North LGA of Oyo State where some armed herdsmen attacked and invaded the Community.
Troops of Operation AWATSE however mobilized to the scene and engaged the herdsmen, during which some of them were neutralized while others fled with gunshot wounds. In another development, troops conducted a raid operation on some criminals’ hideouts at Ona-Ara LGA of Oyo State on 7 June 2021. During the operations, some of the criminals were arrested and handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further action.
In the meantime, the Honourable Minister of Defence (HMOD) Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), on 11 June 2021 led a Federal Government delegation to Enugu for the “HMOD/CDS Security Meeting with Stakeholders in the South-East Geopolitical Zone”.
He explained that the Defence Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola and the Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor as well as representatives of the Service Chiefs.
Onyeuko added that, during the Summit, a whole range of security challenges were discussed with all the Governors of the South East States, religious leaders, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and other stakeholders in attendance.
“The discussions and decisions reached at the end of the Security Summit were far-reaching and would go a long way in tackling and bringing peace to the Region,” he said.
The Military High Command, therefore, lauds the efforts of the troops for their resilience and unrelenting commitment and we wish to encourage the general public to support our efforts by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements.