By Lazarus Zakaa, Abuja.
In furtherance of their operational activities and in line with the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai’s directive extending Operation SAHEL SANITY to March, the gallant troops have increased the momentum of the Operation.
They have continued to dominate the Northwest theatre with confidence building patrols, robust and aggressive ambushes coupled with clearance operations. This is with a view to completely wipe out the remnant bandits and other criminal elements from the region.
This was disclosed in Statement released by the Acting, Defence Media Operations, DMOs, Bridg.Gen. Bernard Onyeuko .
He said, “consequently, on 2 January 2021, based on credible human intelligence about movement of armed bandits sighted crossing Garin Inu in Batsari LGA heading towards Bugaje in Jibiya LGA both in Katsina State, troops deployed at Batsari swiftly mobilized and laid ambush along the bandit’s route at Garin Garus”, he said.
“While at the ambush position, the gallant troops made contact with the marauding armed bandits and engaged them with overwhelming fire power thereby neutralizing 5 bandits while others escaped with varying degrees of injuries as indicated by traces of blood along their escape routes.
Further exploitation of the area by the gallant troops led to the capture of 3 AK-47 rifles and 2 AK 47 Rifle magazines loaded with 18 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition.
Relatedly, on 3 January 2021, troops deployed at Dan Ali village acting on reliable information from reliable sources arrested a suspected bandits’ collaborator named Ya’u Tukur at Sabon Gida village in Kankara LGA of Katsina State.
According to him, during preliminary investigations, suspect confessed to be working for a notorious bandit gang which has been masterminding nefarious crimes including kidnapping for ransom in various places. Troops are on the trail of other members of the notorious gang.
General further said, on 4 January 2021, troops deployed at Maraban Maigora acting on credible information arrested one Yahaya Aliyu while riding on a new motorcycle.
He said, the arrest was executed following reports from reliable sources on the suspect’s alleged involvement in kidnapping and facilitating payment of ransom for kidnap victims in the area.
Onyeuko also said, during preliminary investigations, suspect admitted his involvement in the alleged crimes, adding that the motorcycle he was riding was part of a bounty as ransom from a kidnapped victim.
“Additionally, on 8 January 2020, troops deployed at Yankara while acting on a tip off arrested a suspected bandit’s collaborator named Alhaji Adamu Mamman around Yankara general area in Faskari LGA of Katsina State. Suspect has been at large following his involvement of harbouring bandits in his house.
“In another development, on 10 January 2021, troops deployed at Sabon Layi while clearing bandits enclaves around Maigora general area in Faskari LGA of Katsina State, came in contact with armed bandits at Unguwar Rimi leading to a fierce gun battle.
“The troops were swiftly reinforced by another team from Faskari and supported by Helicopter Gunship delivering a lethal blow to the criminals thereby forcing the bandits to withdraw in disarray into the forest due to troop’s superior fire power.
“During the exploitation phase of the operation, 5 bodies of neutralized bandits were found while several others were suspected to escape with gunshot wounds as indicated by blood stains on their escape route.
” Regrettably, one brave soldier paid the supreme price while 2 others sustained minor injuries during the encounter. The wounded soldiers are in stable condition and currently responding to treatment in a military medical facility.
“To this end, the gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY are commended for the successes and their unequaled commitment. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the Northwest zone is rid of all criminal elements”, he added.
Additionally, the good people of the Northwest are once more assured of the Nigerian Army’s commitment to safety of lives and properties within the zone. They are also encouraged to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist in the conduct of their operations.