By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Defence Headquarters has said Nigerian troops eliminated more than 128 bandits and arrested 64 others in different operations across North West and North Central zones in the past two weeks.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, disclosed this while giving updates of military operations between Nov. 11 and Nov. 25 on Thursday in Abuja.
Onyeuko said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji eliminated 118, arrested 12 criminal elements and rescued five kidnapped victims across the theatre within the period.
He added that 26 assorted arms and 194 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition were recovered within the period in focus.
According to him, troops executed series of land and air operations at Runka and Nasarawa villages in Safana Local Government Area and Kaiga Mallammai village, all in Katsina State.
He said that three men – Alhaji Lawal Auwalu, Ibrahim Tayo and Dahiru Abubakar – suspected to be providers of logistics to bandits s were arrested.
“Within the period in focus, several airstrikes were executed on bandits’ enclaves, which inflicted heavy casualties on the bandits.
“These include a location where a bandit kingpin, Bello Guda Turji, his subordinate commander, Bello Buza and other foot soldiers operating within Sokoto and part of Zamfa State, use as camp.
“The airstrikes resulted in the neutralisation of scores of armed bandits, including their key leaders and foot soldiers as well as destruction of their structures, equipment, weapons and logistic supplies.
“Troops have continued to heighten aerial patrols across the theatre to deny bandits and other criminal elements freedom of action in the zone,” he said.
In the North Central, Onyeuko said that the troops of Operation Safe Haven rescued some kidnapped civilians and arrested criminal elements.
He said one of the arrested elements was John Paul, who deals in weapons and owns a mini factory where he fabricated arms and ammunition.
The defence spokesman added that troops rescued 38 kidnapped victims, arrested 45 criminal elements and eliminated three during the period.
According to him, troops also recovered six assorted arms, 13 rounds of 7.62mm as well as several sacks of cannabis sativa and 200 livestock among other items in parts of Plateau and Kaduna states.
He added that the Headquarters of Whirl Stroke, had continued to engage communities in peace meetings across Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states as part of non-kinetic efforts to tackling insecurity.
Onyeuko said the kinetic effort led to the killing of seven bandits, arrest of seven and rescue of five kidnapped victims during the period.(NAN)