By Sumaila Ogbaje/Ibrahim Ahmad
The troops of Operation Sahel Sanity destroyed 197 bandits’ hideouts, neutralised 220, arrested 892 suspects and recovered large cache of arms in North West in the second half of 2020, says Defence Headquarters.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, said this at a news conference held at the Army Special Super Camp 4 in Faskari on Wednesday.
Onyeuko said the operations were carried out from July 1 to Dec. 31 2020.
He disclosed that 73 AK47 rifles, one GPMG and 194 Dane guns as well as 5,032 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 568 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition and 156 live cartridges were recovered by the troops.
According to him, 197 bandit’s camps and hideouts including the notorious Dangote Triangle and several bandits’ logistics bases have been destroyed by troops during the period.
“Also, 335 suspected bandits, 326 illegal miners, 147 bandits informants and collaborators, 14 bandits arms suppliers, 24 rustled cattle marketers and 46 bandits logistics suppliers were arrested.
“Similarly, a total of 7,761 cows, 1,867 sheep/rams and four Camels were recovered and given back to the owners by troops within the period.
“It is also heart-warming to note that a total of 642 kidnapped victims were rescued by the valiant troops, and these include the rescued 344 students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara.
“Also within the period, the gallant troops successfully foiled 165 bandits’ attacks and 81 kidnap attempts,” he said.
Onyeuko recalled that Exercise Sahel Sanity was inaugurated by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai on July 6, 2020 to consolidate on the existing Operation Hadarin Daji.
He said the exercise was aimed at effectively flushing out bandits, kidnappers, cattle rustlers and other sundry criminals from the region.
According to him, these acts of criminalities orchestrated by the bandits have hitherto posed danger and threats to the peace and security of the people, thereby, crippling social and economic activities in the region.
He said the exercise which subsequently dovetailed into a real time operation had significantly brought peace and stability to the affected states of Zamfara, Katsina and Sokoto.
According to him, the gallant troops within the period under review carried out series of clearance operations, ambushes, farm and other aggressive confidence building patrols within Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara States.
Onyeuko said the troops also carried out some Civil Military Cooperation projects and activities to support some host communities within the operational area of Op Sahel Sanity.
He said activities involved distribution of palliatives to locals and renovations of medical facilities at Faskari and Kauran Namoda communities in Katsina and Zamfara States.
He added that the troops also conducted medical outreaches and distribution of palliatives to locals and flood victims at Koko-Besse and Bagudo Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
The army personnel said compensation had also been paid to farmers whose farmlands were affected as a result of the ongoing operation and due to the expansion of the Special Army Super Camp IV in Faskari, Katsina State.
The spokesperson, however, said that two officers and four soldiers paid the supreme price in the cause of defending the country during the period under review.
“After diligent review of the numerous successes achieved so far and the need to finally eliminate all the remnant security challenges within the region, the COAS has graciously extended the duration of the operation to last till March in order to consolidate on the gains so far achieved.
“The gallant troops are hereby commended for their gallantry, sacrifices, successes and professionalism exhibited within the period of Operation.
“The people of the North West zone of the country are also appreciated for their cooperation in providing timely information leading to the success of the operations.
“They are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with actionable information that would aid the desired goal of the operation.
“They are further reassured of the Nigerian Army’s commitment to restore total peace in the zone and indeed the country,” he said. (NAN)