By Joy Odor
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has disclosed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria through kinetic and non-kinetic operations has compelled a total of 5,890 terrorists comprising foot soldiers and their commanders to surrender with their families in the North-East Zone in the last two weeks.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations (DMO), Brigadier-General Benard Onyeuko, who made this known in Abuja on Thursday said within the last few weeks, 565 Boko Haram Terrorists comprising 3 Commanders, 4 Amirs, 5 Nakibs and 5 cattle rustling specialists, out of the surrendered BHTs and their family members were handed over to the Borno State Government in Maiduguri for further management after thorough profiling.
Brigadier-General Onyeuko who was briefing Defence Correspondents on the operational engagements of the Nigerian military between August 12 and September 2, 2021 said the sustained operational engagements by the Armed Forces of Nigeria across the country against all criminal elements across the country during the period yielded significant results notwithstanding some negative incidents of the past week.
This, according to him is evident in the reduction of the spate of incidents recorded; the massive surrendering of terrorists in the North East as well as reduction in IPOB/ESN activities in the South East and economic sabotage in the South-South and South West zones of the Country.
He noted that on 14 June 2021, the Nigerian Military repelled terrorists’ attack in Borno State as troops, with the support of the Air Component through air interdiction missions, inflicting heavy casualties on the terrorists and their equipment. In the encounter, no fewer than 48 of the terrorists, 20 arrested including fighters and commanders were neutralized and their logistic base and facilities including 3 gun trucks were destroyed in the process.
“A cumulative total of 52 assorted arms and 1,977 rounds of 7.62mm assorted calibre ammunition including AK-47 and FN rifles with magazines, hand grenades, commando mortar guns, locally fabricated rifles, Dushka anti-aircraft guns, Dane guns and Nigerian Police rifles among other items were recovered from surrendered terrorists and operations within the period.
Also, a total of 7 terrorists’ collaborators/informants and logistics suppliers were arrested and handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary actions,” he added.
He disclosed that in operation HADARIN DAJI, troops sustained their operations against the bandits, kidnappers and other criminal elements in the North West Geo-political zone during which a total of 15 armed bandits and 2 armed robbers were neutralized, 13 bandits’ informants arrested, 15 motorcycles were recovered, 2 AK 47 rifles recovered, 33 kidnap victims rescued, 66 criminal elements arrested and some vandalized railway sleepers/tracks were recovered within the period in focus
“On 14 August 2021, security forces of Operation SAFE HAVEN arrested 20 persons involved in the attack and killing of 26 travellers at Rukuba Town in Jos North LGA of Plateau State. The arrested persons have been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agency for further necessary action,” he said.
According to him, in the non-kinetic operations, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE carried out repairs on a collapsed bridge that connects Lau Town and Jalingo Road in Taraba State, to enable locals have free passage.
Additionally, troops on 14 and 16 August simultaneously held different security meetings with youths/community leaders as well as other critical stakeholders at Takum Town, Lau Town in Taraba State.
This is just as troops of Operation DELTA SAFE within the period in focus conducted series of anti-illegal oil operations in their area of responsibility, during which 33 illegal refining sites with 46 illegal refining units, 94 boiler ovens and 9 reservoirs were deactivated.
Also, total of 139 metal storage tanks and 63 dugout pits, all laden with 440.2 barrels and 1,637,500litres of illegally refined AGO as well as 62.2 barrels and 572,000litres of stolen crude oil and shelter stations were discovered and treated, he added.
Commenting on Non-kinetic activities, Brigadier-General Onyeuko said the Chief of Defence staff (CDS), General LEO Irabor, in his continued consultations with the Military Veterans of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in the various Geo-political Zones of the country, affirmed that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remained at the forefront in tackling the myriad of security threat confronting the nation.
“He stated this while interacting with the retired senior military officers in the North Central Geo-Political Zone held on 18 August 21 in Makurdi, Benue State.
In the same vein, while in Yola, Adamawa State North East Geo-Political Zone on 24 August 2021, General Irabor hails citizens’ support, allays fears on surrendered insurgents as he engaged senior retired officers on security parley.
“He expressed his appreciation to the citizen and residents of the Zone for genuinely supporting the ongoing intensive clearance operations by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria towards the restoration of permanent peace in the Zone.
He equally allays fears of the general public on the ongoing mass surrender of Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province ex-fighters.”
Similarly, Brigadier-General Onyeuko said the CDS, in his quest to entrench a lasting peace in Plateau State, undertook a working visit to Jos on 1 September 2021 and held a stakeholders meeting with Governor Simon Lalong and all the traditional rulers, religious leaders and community leaders in the State at Government House Jos where discussions were held on the security challenges in Plateau State.
“The discussions largely successful as all stakeholders pledged their support for peace in the state.
Thereafter, the CDS paid a visit to the palace of the traditional rulers of Jebbu Miyango Community the Mbra Ngwe Rt Rev Ronke Aka and that of Anaguta Community HRM Pozo Johnson Jauro Magaji the Uja of Anaguta, where he commiserated with the traditional rulers and the people of those communities on the recent unfortunate incidents in their domains.
Finally, the visit was another success story in the CDS non-kinetic initiatives in achieving peace and stability in the country,” he said.
While stating that the Armed Forces of Nigeria remained steadfast in the fight against all forms of criminality in different parts of the country, Brigadier-General Onyeuko said the Military High Command was appreciative of the continuous sacrifices of the troops in the various theatres of operation across the country and “salutes their courage, resilience and commitment towards achieving sustainable peace in the Country.”