By G9ija

No fewer than twenty kidnap victims, including eleven women and unspecified number of children have been rescued from bandits at different locations in Katsina State, The Nation has learnt.

At Fankama and Sabon Layi area of Faskari Local Government Area of the State, eight abducted persons were rescued following intelligence reports that bandits dressed in military camouflage uniforms were sighted with the victims.

Also, troops of Operation Sahel Sanity who were on patrol at Chabas area of the State, rescued a truck driver, 11 women and children who were on their way to Batsari Market but were abducted by the bandits along Shimfida – Gurbi road, following a distress call.

Addressing Defence Correspondents during the weekly media briefing on the update on military operations, Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, noted further that, “in the North-West zone, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have continued to intensify the operations in their resolve to stamp out banditry and other sundry crimes in the zone. The gallant troops have redoubled their efforts in this regard.”

He added that, “on 17 September 2020, troops responding to a distress call rescued 8 kidnapped victims from suspected bandits at Fankama and Sabon Layi area of Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State. This was as a result of actionable intelligence that bandits dressed in military camouflage uniforms were sighted with kidnapped victims, the troops responded swiftly and made contact with the bandits forcing them to abandon the victims. In the same vein, troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY while on patrol at Chabas, responded to a distress call and rescued a truck driver, 11 women and children who were on their way to Batsari Market but were kidnapped by suspected bandits along Shimfida – Gurbi road.”

According to him, “within this period, troops deployed at Forward Operations Base Dansadau arrested a suspected bandit on a motorcycle on his way to Dandalla village in Dansadau, Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State with one Pump Action rifle and 3 live cartridges carefully concealed in a bag. Similarly, the Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE killed several armed bandits and their meeting venue in air strikes executed at Kwaimbana forest area of Kaduna State.

“Relatedly, 2 gunrunners were arrested in possession of 1,620 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition at Kudaru Hill along Kaduna-Jos Road in Lere Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Preliminary investigation revealed that the ammunition was to be delivered to one bandit leader, at a location in Dansadau Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

“Equally, on 18 September 2020, troops of Forward Operations Base BURUKUSUMA patrol team killed 7 armed bandits at Magira village of Zamfara State. Furthermore, on 19 September 2020, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI in conjunction with vigilantes arrested 2 bandits with One Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira (N1, 300,000.00) at Baworaje village in Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State”.

Meanwhile in the Northeast zone, Eneche disclosed that, “within the period under review, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE conducted series of offensive air and ground operations on terrorists’ enclaves at different locations in Borno, Yobe, Taraba and Adamawa States.

“Notably, a high profile BHT commander, surrendered with 4 of his wives to own troops. The operations also led to the arrest of one BHT fighter at Kamuya in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State and 9 other criminals in Wukari Local Government Area of Taraba State. Caches of arms and ammunition as well as equipment and motorcycles were also recovered. Meanwhile, Troops repelled BHT/ISWAP attacks on civilians and own troops at Wajiroko in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State on 17 and 20 September 2020 and neutralized several of their fighters and recovered arms and ammunition”

He continued that, “in the North-Central zone, troops have continued to sustain intensive clearance operations against armed bandits and other criminals. Within the last one week, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN conducted several raids at various locations in the zone which resulted in appreciable successes. These ongoing kinetic efforts were supported by Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities in the form of medical outreaches and stakeholders’ meetings among the various ethnic groups in the zone.

“Between 17 and 20 September 2020, troops of operation SAFE HAVEN raided suspected SARA SUKA criminals’ hideouts at Jenta Adamu, Rikkos, and Gangare Yan Doya area of Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State. The raids were conducted following distress calls on criminal activities in the general area. Troops stormed the hideouts and arrested 14 suspects while 12 knives, 4 daggers, 4 mobile phones, two swords, assorted charms, a large quantity of substances suspected to be Cannabis Sativa, amongst other illicit drugs were recovered.

“Troops thereafter raided another suspected drug peddlers’ hideout within Barkin Ladi area of Plateau State, where a drug dealer was arrested with a large quantity of substance suspected to be Cannabis Sativa. It is noteworthy that the suspect had been on the wanted list of security agencies. All the arrested suspects and recovered exhibits have been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further action.

“In addition, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN on 17 September 2020, commissioned the Rim Primary Healthcare Centre renovated by the Defence Headquarters in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State as part of Civil Military Cooperation activities in the general area. Same day the Defence Headquarters medical team in conjunction with Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN medical team conducted a 2-day medical outreach at Makuru Primary School in Ikulu chiefdom of Zangon-Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

“Additionally, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN fostered several stakeholders meetings in various parts of Plateau and Kaduna states. Areas covered include: Bokkos, Bassa, Mangu, Jos, Barkin Ladi, and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State, as well as Jama’a and Zangon-Kataf Local Government Areas of Kaduna State”.

In the South-South, Eneche noted that troops continued the clampdown on operators of illegal refineries.

He said, “Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have continued with the aggressive fight against economic sabotage in the zone. Within the period under review Nigerian Navy Ship PATHFINDER on clearance operations discovered an illegal refining site at Tuma Creek. The site had 4 metal reservoirs and 60 jerricans of 25 litres laden with an estimated 320,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 1,500 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK). The illegal refining site was subsequently immobilized.

“Relatedly, within the period, troops of 146 Battalion discovered and destroyed a reactivated illegal refinery containing unspecified quantity of petroleum products at Oputumbi in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State. Also, on same day, troops of 29 Battalion in conjunction with personnel of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and Labarador security workers destroyed 2 illegal refineries at Eleme-Tombia in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“In another development, Forward Operations Base IBAKA gunboats while on routine patrol around Mbo River on 21 September 2020, intercepted and arrested 2 small sized wooden boats laden with 112 drums of products suspected to be Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) with 4 suspects.

“Suspects and items recovered from the arrest are currently in custody and will be handed over to relevant agencies. Additionally, troops of Sector 3 Operation DELTA SAFE in conjunction with Nigerian Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) raided a criminal hideout around Trailer Park in Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State. During the operation, 5 suspected drug dealers were arrested while several illicit drugs were recovered. Suspects are in custody for further action.

“In a related development, Forward Operations Base ESCRAVOS while on clearance operation discovered a reactivated illegal refining site at Ugborodo/Banga Creek phase IV Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State. The site had 16 ovens, 26 storage tanks, 10 gas cylinders and 21 dugout pits. Cumulatively, about 345,000 litres of products suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil and 1,572.3 barrels of stolen crude oil were recovered.

“Furthermore, the patrol team discovered another reactivated illegal refining site at Jones Creek, Warri South West LGA of Delta State. The reactivated site had 14 active ovens and 22 storage metal tanks laden with about 660.4 barrels of crude and 275,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil suspected to be stolen products. The illegal refining site was deactivated during the operation”.

He added further that, “in the South West zone, troops of Operation AWATSE have continued to intensify the fight against pipeline vandals, economic saboteurs and other criminal elements. Within this period, troops of 174 Battalion arrested 6 suspected gunrunners in possession of 3,560 rounds of ammunition at scrap centre in Ikorodu Local Government of Lagos State.

“Furthermore, on 17 September 2020, troops of Operation AWATSE destroyed 350 litres of PMS stored in containers at Igbologun in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.

“Equally, troops of 343 Artillery Regiment in conjunction with Nigeria Police Force and Department of State Service personnel arrested 8 persons with 7 single barrel guns, 2 cartridges, one knife and one Toyota Sienna vehicle at Ifon community in Ose Local Government Area of Ondo State.

“For the period, the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies were committed, resolute and determined to curtail the activities of insurgents, bandits and other criminal elements in the country.

“The Military High Command commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their dexterity. Troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in securing the country. Members of the general public are requested to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the nearest military and other security agencies location for prompt action.”