Military Onslaughts: Any Escape Route for Insurgents, Other Criminals?
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
It seems and appears the Nigerian Military is on a decisive mission. It is not leaving anything to chance in her bid to liberate the country from the stranglehold of bandits, kidnappers and insurgents.
The band of unrepentant and merciless criminals who have not only continued to unleash mayhem on innocent citizens, but also holding the country to ransom, for sometimes now.
The leadership of the country’s Armed Forces, has, in recent times, made it so clear that it will not relent–till the marauding Boko Haram terrorists and other criminal elements meet their waterloo.
However, it is, perhaps now, that many citizens will start taken them serious. The mass annihilation of BHTs and ISWAP fighters, neutralization of bandits, arrest of sea pirates and pipeline vandals, in various parts of the country, clearly indicate that the troops’ mean business as they prosecute ongoing military operations.
In the last two months, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, at press briefing on Wednesday, said troops of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Nigerian Air Force and other security agencies, participated in various military operations, and totally degraded several criminal elements, while also checkmating the illegal activities of vandals in the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
It was gathered that Enenche, Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations (DMO) was speaking to journalists at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ), in Abuja.
He disclosed that the media update covered operational activities of troops from 18 March to 5 May 2020.
According to him, “Within the period under review, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE put in a high professional effort with glaring success. Some villages that were attacked during the period were rescued by our gallant troops and normalcy returned to the affected areas. A number of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions were conducted, which revealed criminal hideouts and their activities. Consequently, air interdictions were conducted, which led to the destruction of several BHT logistics facilities and compounds, housing some of their leaders including Abu Usamah and a number of their fighters who were eliminated.”
He said, a total of 343 BHT/ISWAP fighters were killed and several others suffered various degrees of gunshot wounds with narrow chances of survival.
His words: “This is in addition to several others, including their key leaders, killed by Air bombardments. Furthermore, most of the Boko Haram’s logistics installations and networks have been destroyed, while 16 of their informants and logistics suppliers were arrested. At the call of this duty, some of our troops paid the supreme prize and others were wounded in action.”
Concerning Operation Hadarin Daji, Maj. Gen. Enenche, stated that, “Troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted various clearance operations during the period under review. The combined effort of the Land and Air Components as well as other security operatives of the Operation provided security for lives and property.”
He noted that several bandits locations and hideouts were cleared with Close Air Support (CAS) provided for ground troops, adding that, “In all, a total of 17 kidnapped victims were rescued and united with their families and 146 bandits were neutralized in Katsina and Zamfara States. Within the same period, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI recovered several arms and ammunition among other equipment. Our agile troops also rescued 922 Rustled Cattles and 446 sheep. However, 4 soldiers paid the supreme prize.”
Also, the DMO Coordinator, said troops of Operation WHIRL PUNCH, during the period under review, clamped down on Armed Militia and other bandits in Benue and Taraba States.
He added: “Within the period, troops rescued 7 kidnapped victims and recovered large caches of ammunition and other items. A total of 7 bandits were killed by troops from contacts made at Toto Nasarawa State and Anku Mbagen in Atera-Jange Torov Council Ward of Ukum Local Government Area of Benue State. Non of our Troops was wounded or killed in action.”
Meanwhile, along the Southern Regions, troops operating within the maritime environment covering Operations AWATSE and DELTA SAFE, it was gathered, recorded massive successes in their operations.
At the briefing, Enenche, said, “A total of Sixty One (61) illegal refining sites were discovered during Anti-Crude Oil/Anti-Illegal Bunkering Operations in the Niger delta Region. In all, a total of Four thousand Four Hundred and Sixty-Five barrels (4,464.8) and One Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty-One (1,781,000) Litres of Crude Oil were recovered.”
He said the maritime troops also recovered one million, seven hundred and fifty-six thousand, nine hundred (1,756,900) litres of AGO; one hundred and sixteen thousand, five hundred (116,000) litres of DPK; and eleven thousand, seven hundred and fifty (11,750) litres of PMS.
“During the Swamp Boogie operations, several refining ovens, receivers, surface metal storage tanks/drums, coolers and dugout pits were deactivated and immobilized. Fishing Trawlers were also arrested and handed over to NIMASA. In all, 15 hostages were rescued, a barge and some weapons were recovered and 3 pipeline vandals arrested.
“Also, within the period, the Nigerian Navy rescued 3 Beninoise whose fishing trawler caught fire at Lagos anchorage. In addition, the Nigerian Navy responded to a distress call by Beninoise Navy for assistance, when 11 crew men onboard a Portuguese flagged container ship, MV TOMMI RITSCHER in Benin territorial waters came under attack by pirates. Among those rescued were Ukrainians, Bulgarians and Filipinos. The Nigerian Navy received commendation from the Benin Chief of the Naval Staff, Captain Albert Ezien Badou. Additionally, Eight Hundred and Ninety-Four (894) bags 50kg of parboiled smuggled foreign rice were impounded by the Nigerian Navy at Agbami platform in Akwa-Ibom State,” he added.
In all, it was gathered that troops, between 18 March to 5 May 2020, eliminated 343 BHT/TSWAP criminals in the North East, and also neutralized 153 bandits in the North West and North Central, amongst other successes recorded.
While speaking further, Gen. Enenche, disclosed that, “Human and technical intelligence confirmed that between January and March 2020, 18 BHT/ISWAP leaders were killed due to our ground and air offensives against their settlements and hideouts. Adding to the most recent one killed between 18 March – 5 May 2020, 19 BHT/ISWAP leaders are confirmed killed by our gallant troops.
“From our operations within the period reviewed, it is obvious that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is winning the war against the enemies of our great country. Consequently, the Armed Forces of Nigeria will remain resolute and highly committed to end the insurgency in the country. It will sustain the offensive and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled region of our beloved Country.”
Mahmud, a Staff Writer with PRNigeria and Emergency Digest, writes from Abuja.