Nigerian Army says it has recently stepped up anti-banditry operations in the North Central and western parts of the country, to protect lives and properties.
The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Iliyasu noted that armed bandits, kidnappers and other sundry criminals were finding it difficult to operate in the country due to the increased onslaught of the troops against them.
In the North Central region, he said, the troops had on March 6, responded to information confirming the presence of some bandits in Abinsi and Angbaye Islands in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
He said the troops subsequently conducted robust clearance operation along the axis, discovered and destroyed two makeshift camps where the bandits were hibernating on the Islands.
“The raid forced the armed bandits to flee the general area.
“Nevertheless, troops pursued the bandits until contact was broken along the River line separating Benue and Nassarawa States.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, troops recovered one AK 47 magazine with 22 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition,” he said.
Iliyasu disclosed that on March 8, troops of 8 Division on Operation “MESA” arrested two suspected armed herdsmen (names withheld), while others fled abandoning 110 cattle in Tara village of Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
He added that the same troops neutralised one notorious kidnap kingpin named Juliet in a cordon and search operation at Banji Village of Bodinga Local Government Area.
The spokesman revealed that in the early hours of March 9, troops deployed in Kebe came in contact with some bandits at Jigawa Village in Sokoto State.
Iliyasu added that six bandits were neutralised while three Dane guns and four motorcycles were recovered by the troops in the encounter.
“In the same vein, two other motorcycles were destroyed due to troops’ high volume of fire on the criminals.
“Regrettably, one gallant soldier was wounded in action during the encounter and has been evacuated to a military medical facility and he is in stable condition.
“Earlier on; in the early hours of March 6, troops of 8 Division at Zurmi LGA sprung a successful ambush against bandits at Gidan Jaja village.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, one bandit was neutralised while troops captured one Rocket Propelled Gun Tube, one Rocket Propelled Gun bomb, one AK 47 Rifle, one AK 47 Rifle magazine loaded with 11 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and one motorcycle,” he said.
Iliyasu disclosed further that troops of 1 Division Garrison, while on clearance operation to Maguzawa general area of Igabi LGA of Kaduna State, made contact with some bandits on March 9.
He said one bandit was neutralised in the encounter while others were believed to have fled with gunshot wounds.
In Zamfara, Iliyasu said that the troops of 8 Division deployed at forwarding Operating Base (FOB), Bagega engaged bandits in Kawaye village in Anka LGA on March 10 forcing the bandits to flee.
He added that the troops rescued four kidnapped victims and recovered one cutlass alongside one motorcycle belonging to the bandits.
He also stated that troops of 1 Division Garrison on March 10, rescued two kidnapped victims, Miss Rukaya Bello and her brother Abubakar Bello who were kidnapped from Mahuta Village in Makarfi LGA of Kaduna State.
According to him, troops of 223 Battalion at FOB, Marafa in LGA of Kebbi on March 10, neutralised one bandit.
“Several others were believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds during a meeting engagement in the area.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai wishes to reassure the general public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute our constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better, safe and secure Nigeria.
“He also thank all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army,” he said.