With the 2019 Yuletide Season fast approaching, the Nigerian Army has stepped up the tempo of its operations across the country. Consequently, it is becoming evident that unscrupulous elements such as the Criminal Insurgents in the North East as well as Bandits, Cultists, Kidnappers, Armed Robbers and Smugglers amongst others are effectively denied freedom of action as troops continue to tighten the noose on them.
Between 25th – 28th September 2019, Nigerian Army troops on Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Operation MESA and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE continued to relentlessly combat the activities of criminals with remarkable successes. The following notable achievements were recorded during the period.
Operation LAFIYA DOLE
Within the period under review, the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army deployed in the North East for Operation LAFIYA DOLE continued to dominate the entire area of operations with aggressive fighting patrols and ambush operations to find, fix and neutralise the fleeing BOKO HARAM Criminals/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) elements including their marauding informants and logistics suppliers who are currently in disarray as a result of the troops’ unrelenting aggressive posture. For instance, troops of 25 Task Force Brigade in conjunction with some vigilantes arrested one Abubakar Musa, a suspected logistics supplier of the criminal insurgent sect at Kumsem village in Damboa LGA of Borno State. Items recovered from the suspect include 12 yards of black fabric suspected to be used for making of Boko Haram flags, large quantity of drugs and some groceries.
In a similar operation, the gallant troops of 27 Task Force Brigade acting on a timely intelligence arrested another logistics supplier of the criminal insurgents by name Mohammed Isa at a check point in Maina Hari. During preliminary investigation, the suspect confessed to his membership of criminal gang of insurgents operating within Kimba village in Biu LGA of Borno State.
Similarly, the vigilant troops of 231 Battalion in conjunction with troops of 331 Artillery Regiment deployed on at a check point along Yola road arrested a commercial driver (Musa Ibrahim), and 7 other passengers believed to be illegal immigrants from a neighbouring country. Suspects are believed to have links with ISWAP. Additionally, troops of 7 Division Garrison in a joint operation with the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA)’s Tactical Team arrested one notorious logistics supplier of the criminal insurgent group by name Alhaji Kolomi Modu at Ndollori area of Ajilari in Maiduguri Municipal Country (MMC). Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect has been supplying premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and other lubricants to ISWAP. In the same vein, troops of Headquarters Sector 2 Operation LAFIYA DOLE intercepted a truck with Registration Number KA 462 YK conveying 800 bags of fertilizer along Damaturu – Potiskum road without permit.
The suspected cargo is believed to be used by Boko Haram criminals/ISWAP for the making of Improvised Explosive Devices.
Other arrest of logistics suppliers of the criminal terrorists group within the period include, one Mohammed Abba AKA Barde arrested at Maina Hari check point, Mr. Goni Ibrahim Kanumba also arrested at Unguwar Shuwari Ward in Maiduguri. Preliminary investigations reveal that the arrested suspect has been having regular telephone conversations with some Boko Haram/ISWAP’s criminal leadership whom he feeds with information on troop’s activities.
The Nigerian Army has equally stepped up the operational activities of Operation MESA which is being conducted in most of the 36 States of the Federation to checkmate the activities of Armed Bandits, cattle rustlers, Kidnappers and other sundry criminals. In the North Central States of Kaduna and Niger States for instance, the resilience and doggedness of troops continue to deny bandits the freedom to perpetrate their criminal activities across the Region. During the period, troops of 1 Division Garrison Tactical Headquarters responded to a distress call on banditry activity at Labi General Area of Birnin Gwari LGA Kaduna State. The gallant troops intercepted a group of bandits who already kidnapped 7 victims. As troops engaged the bandits in a fire fight, they abandoned their victims and fled to the bush in disarray with some of them believed to escape with gunshot wounds. All 7 victims were rescued and reunited with their families. Similarly, troops of 4 Demo Battalion conducted operations in various villages within Igabi LGA of Kaduna State where reliable information revealed the presence of some bandit’s informants. During the operation, one suspect (Isa Adamu) was arrested at Dallatu village. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect is an informant to bandits operating within the area. In a similar operation, troops of 31 Artillery Brigade while on aggressive patrol in the forest along Sarkin Pawa – Mangoro road in Munya LGA of Niger State rescued 2 adult males who were kidnapped on 21st September 2019. The kidnappers instantly abandoned their victims and fled on sighting the patrol team. Troops continue to dominate the general area of the forest to deny the criminals freedom of action. Similarly, a joint operation comprising the troops of 31 Artillery Brigade, the Nigerian Air force, Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps raided an illegal mining site at a river bank bordering the College of Education Minna, Niger State. During the operation, 98 suspects were arrested while 2 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 2 Dane guns and other digging implements including 1 generating set and a Toyota Corolla car were recovered.
Furthermore, troops of 1 Division Garrison Tactical HQ during a Search and Rescue operation within the Birnin Gwari general area rescued one Mohammed Mubarak and 16 other victims comprising of 11 women and 5 children all from Niger State who were kidnapped earlier by bandits. The victims were later escorted to Pole wire village in Birnin Gwari LGA where they continued with their journey. In the same vein, the gallant troops also responded to a distress call of a kidnap incident at Rikau in Birnin Gwari LGA. In a hot pursuit, the bandits abandoned their victims and fled into Rikau forest.
Nevertheless, the 3 male victims were rescued and safely reunited with their families.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt Gen Tukur Yusuf Buratai wishes to restate the commitment of the Nigerian Army towards providing a safe and conducive environment for all citizens to legitimately pursue their economic endeavours. Members of the public are therefore requested to kindly oblige the Nigerian Army with any information that will assist Nigerian Army in conducting operations to rid the society of criminal elements.