By Raphael Jov
The incremental raids, clearance patrols, sting operations, cordon & search operations as well as mortar and artillery bombardment of identified criminal insurgents and bandits’ hideouts within the past one week has yielded tremendous positive outcomes as some of the terrorists surrendered to our gallant troops while several others were neutralised.
The period equally witnessed the interception and arrest of several Boko Haram Logistics Suppliers and informants by the troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE as well as the arrest or neutralisation of some bandits and other criminal elements in the North West and other parts of the nation.
According to a statement signed by Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, AMINU ILIYASU on November 2019 for instance, 16 insurgents along with 8 of their spouses who could no longer bear the heat from the onslaught against them surrendered to the relentless troops of Sector 1, Multinational Joint Task Force at Fotokol. Subsequently, the surrendered insurgents were later handed over to troops of 3 Battalion (Main) at Gamboru Ngala, a border town NE of Borno State.
During preliminary interrogation and profiling, they confessed to have actively participated in attacks conducted against both military and civilian targets at various times. It was further revealed that 14 of them whose names are Ibrahim Bunu, Abba Sale, Baba Lamba Alhaji, Bukar Isa, Bukar Ali, Rawa Abba Gana, Mustapha Abatcha, Umar Abubakar, Hassan Bukar, Malam Abatcha Ali, Abba Umar Abatcha, Hussaini Babagana, Idris Mohammed and Umar Abba Bayoma all belonged to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) led by Al – Barnawi while the remaining 2, Hassan Kawu and Babagana Bukar Adijabe belonged to Boko Haram (Abubakar Shekau Faction). The repentant insurgents however, regretted their participation in the heinous crimes they committed against humanity and are now calling on their former colleagues to retrace their steps and also surrender to troops before it is too late.
In another development, the troops deployed at Gajigana in Magumeri LGA of Borno State intercepted some Boko Haram criminals in the early hours of Tuesday 5th November 2019. It is believed that the insurgents were on their way to attack the community to source for food items and other logistics for their survival. However, the vigilant troops blocked and neutralised 3 of the Boko Haram criminals while several others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds. Unfortunately, one soldier paid the supreme price while 2 others were wounded in action. The wounded soldiers are currently responding to treatment in a military medical facility. Additionally, the troops captured 2 AK 47 Rifles, one Rocket Propelled Gun 7 (RPG 7), 5 AK 47 magazines, 47 Rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition and some quantities of hard drugs during exploitation. In a related incident, another Boko Haram criminal met his waterloo on 4th November 2019 while attempting to cross into the Sambisa Forest at Bama – Banki Road Junction when own troops sighted and neutralized him.
Similarly, troops of 195 Battalion, while on clearance patrol along Gubio Road on 4th November 2019 recovered a kit bag containing 480 Rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition suspected to have been abandoned by escaping terrorists. In another encounter with the Boko Haram criminals on 6 November 2019 at Muchima in Damboa LGA of Borno State, 9 Boko Haram insurgents were neutralized by troops while others escaped with gunshot wounds. Additionally, one insurgent Gun Truck was destroyed, 4 AK 47 Rifles and a cache of ammunition were recovered. Similarly, troops of Sector 2 deployed at Damaturu, Yobe State dealt a decisive blow to the insurgents’ attempt to infiltrate the town on 7 November 2019. The attempted infiltration was thwarted by the combined efforts of ground troops, artillery bombardment and precision air strikes by the Air Task Force of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. The encounter led to the decimation of a number of the insurgents in addition to the destruction of one Boko Haram Gun Truck. Unfortunately, one Officer paid the supreme price during the encounter. Furthermore, during their exploitation, troops discovered and safely detonated 2 Unexploded Ordnance materials planted by the insurgents as well as the charred remains of some of the terrorists that were hurriedly buried by the criminal insurgents while withdrawing in disarray following the superior firepower of our troops.
Outside the North East theatre, troops on Operation MESA continued to increase the momentum of their operations across the nation during the period. For instance, on 4th November 2019, troops of 1 Division Garrison deployed at Damakasuwa in Kauru LGA of Kaduna State arrested one Mustapha Usman Shehu while driving a Honda salon car with Registration number ABUJA BU 70 RBC along Damakasuwa – Kano Road with a Pump Action Gun loaded with 2 cartridges concealed in the vehicle compartment. Relatedly, on 5th November 2019 troops of 82 Division, while on a random Stop and Search Operation, arrested a notorious gun runner, Leonard Asogwa in a commercial bus travelling from Onitsha to Jos. A meticulous search of his baggage revealed 2 neatly concealed Pump Action Guns with 25 live cartridges. Additionally, troops of 1 Division Garrison, while acting on credible information, conducted a successful Cordon and Search operation at the country home of one Alhaji Shehu Abubakar of Yakawada Town in Giwa LGA of Kaduna State on 5th November 2019. Items recovered during the operation include: one AK 47 Rifle with 4 Rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunitions, one locally fabricated Revolver with 3 Rounds of 7.62mm NATO and one Pump Action Gun with 6 live cartridges.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect is one of the suppliers of arms and ammunition to kidnappers and bandits terrorizing the residents of Kaduna and neighbouring States.
Furthermore, troops of Operation MESA in the North Central in conjunction with elements of Special Forces Bikers conducted clearance operation at Dam 1 and Timchan Villages in Kadarko District, Wase LGA of Plateau State as well as Kurmi Village in Ibi LGA of Taraba State. During the operations, 10 suspected militias were arrested while troops also recovered 101 Rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, 71 Rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, one Plastic Explosive and 36 Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) at the residence of one Shehu Jatau, a notorious militia gang leader, who was earlier arrested in a hotel in Central Area, Abuja. Additionally, one locally fabricated Rifle and a live cartridge were also recovered at Timchan Village.
In the Niger Delta region, troops of 146 Battalion (Main) in conjunction with personnel of Nigeria Police Finima Division while acting on information, conducted a swift raid operation against some suspected gunmen at Okobi and Conkiri Long John Abalamabie Communities in Bonny LGA of Rivers State.
The raid led to the arrest of one suspect and recovery of 7 Rounds of 9mm ammunition, a pair of camouflage uniform, one black beret and wraps of substance suspected to be Cannabis Sativa (indian hemp).
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to reassure the general 2public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute our constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better and secured Nigeria.
He also thank all well-meaning Nigerians for their continued support, goodwill and understanding towards officers and men of the Nigerian Army. He therefore enjoins all law-abiding citizens to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation and intimidation and to provide useful information about suspected criminal elements to security agencies.