Anti-banditry: How Intelligence-Led Operations Are Changing the Tides…
These, indeed, are hard times for armed bandits in the country as their ranks are gradually depleting thanks to recent combat operations and aggressive raids launched by security agencies, PRNigeria reports.
The bandits, whom the Federal Government, in a gazette, tagged terrorists, are receiving the ‘heat’ from the streams of intelligence-led operations, conducted by the Nigerian military forces, in particular.
The intelligence-supported military raids, PRNigeria gathered, are ongoing in the country’s North West and Central parts. The operations, prosecuted by joint military-security troops, have led to the killing of hundreds of terrorists, with many of the criminals arrested, in the last few months.
Confirming the latest development, a defence intelligence officer, said precision strikes and combat operations have been sustained in various forests and enclaves hibernated of the terrorists.
“Some top bandits who were high-valued targets on the radar of the Nigerian Military and other security agencies have been eliminated alongside their foot soldiers while suspected foreign bandits nabbed during recent routine patrols in affected communities are being interrogated.”
Leading the pack of the bandits’ casualties in no significant order is ‘Yellow’ – a daredevil warlord in the North West. The notorious bandit leader was responsible for operating several bandit camps in Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states.
PRNigeria had reported that apart from Yellow, scores of his gang members were also neutralized by Nigerian Airforce, NAF airstrikes.
An octogenarian victim of Yellow’s gang, who was held captive for 62 days in the bandit’s camp (had then) told troops who carried out land operations to rescue abducted persons, that Yellow was killed along with several other bandits’ commanders.
Then in early August, another notorious armed bandit, Abdulkareem Lawal, aka Boss, was killed alongside 27 others in aggressive airstrikes by the Nigerian military in Katsina.
Boss was known to regularly invite terrorist groups from other areas and regions to join him in attacks on targets. He was responsible for several terrorist attacks, animal rustling and kidnappings. He was part of the terrorist group that carried out attacks that eventually led to the death of the Nigerian Police Area Commander of Dutsin Ma in July 2022.
The precision airstrikes, then, came barely a week after the Service Chiefs, at the last National Security Council meeting, reassured President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigerians that there would be a change in strategy and momentum in the fight against insurgency and terrorism and the Chief of the Air Staff’s directive to Nigerian Air Force operational and air component commanders to ‘show no mercy’ in decimating terrorists and insurgents in the country.
In a related development, similar bombardments were also conducted on terrorists’ hideouts around Abuja. According to credible intelligence, threats within Abuja were being orchestrated by terrorists from their hideouts within Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara States.
Military aircraft and ground troops under Operation Whirl Punch undertook intensive air interdictions and clearance operations to degrade/neutralize the terrorists within their identified hideouts in Giwa, Birnin Gwari, Kajuru and Chikun LGA in Kaduna State and Kusasu, Kwaki and Kukere communities in Niger State.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan confirmed the arrests of many bandits carried out due to sustained intelligence gathering.
Another positive result of the aggressive intelligence operations, PRNigeria learnt, is the surrender of banditry kingpins and their terrorists. The notorious Bello Turji of Zamfara State has even gone ahead to embrace peace, vowing never to perpetrate ‘evil’ again.
Zamfara’s Deputy Governor, Sen. Hassan Nasiha, in Gusau, the State Capital, recently said that Turji repented and embraced peace overtures by their state government.
He said that Bello’s repentance had resulted in peace in Birnin Magaji, Shinkafi and Zurmi local government areas of Zamfara.
The deputy governor spoke at the opening of a conference on security organised by the Students Union of Medina University, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
He said he had met with bandits in the 14 local government areas of the state.
“The state government through the peace committee entered into a peace deal with the bandits’ leader and he agreed to stop the criminality and to embrace peace.
“Turji is now killing unrepentant bandits who unleashed terror on innocent citizens in Shinkafi, Zurmi and Birnin Magaji local government areas,’’ Nasiha said.
Though the war against banditry is still rearing its ugly head, PRNigeria gathered that the Nigerian military has increased the tempo of both its air and ground operations in the banditry-ravaged geo-political zones, resulting in the decimation of bandit-terrorists and their Commanders.
On his part, Gen. Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, said the military had intensified both air and ground operations to deal with criminals in all parts of the country, adding that several successes had been recorded in recent times.
Irabor stated this during a meeting with editors and media executives in Abuja, recently.
“By the deeds of the surgical air operations that we have conducted, many of the bandits’ leaders have been killed,” Irabor added.
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Report By: PRNigeria.com