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We’ll sustain onslaught against economic sabotage, terrorism, Military assures

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By Okodili Ndidi, Abuja

The Nigerian Military has assured that it will sustain the ongoing onslaught against sabotage of the nation’s economy and terrorism by those it described as enemies of the nation.

Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Eneche, disclosed that troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have intensified the fight against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering in the South-South zone with significant successes.

Eneche, who spoke during the weekly media interaction with Defence Correspondents at the Defence Headquarters Abuja, stated that, “within the period under review, Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA patrol team located a dugout pit with about 1,257.96 barrels of product suspected to be stolen crude oil at Ogbodede Creek in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State. Also, the team discovered an oven laden with about 18.86 barrels of crude and 5,000 litres of illegally refined AGO. The dugout pit and oven with the products were dismantled”.

He continued that, “similarly, Forward Operating Base BONNY patrol team discovered an illegal refining site in Ataba, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. The site had 2 metal storage tanks laden with about 301.91 barrels of product suspected to be stolen crude oil and one metal tank laden with about 34,000litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO. Also, the team discovered 5 storage facilities made with tarpaulin inside the swamp laden with about 4,717.35 barrels of product suspected to be stolen crude oil. Similarly, 2 large wooden boats laden with about 1,069.26 barrels of product suspected to be stolen crude oil were discovered inside the creek. The storage facilities and wooden boats were dismantled.

“In the same vein, troops of 222 Battalion destroyed an illegal refining site at Eniabedi Community in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State. Furthermore, troops of 16 Brigade Garrison discovered and destroyed an illegal oil refinery containing unspecified amount of illegally refined petroleum products at Abua in Abua/Odua Local Government Area of Rivers State. Relatedly, troops of 146 Battalion on patrol intercepted one wooden boat laden with unspecified amount of stolen crude oil at Berger jetty at Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State.

“In another development, Subsidiary operations CALM WATERS II and SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to record remarkable successes. Within the period under review, Nigerian Navy Ship VICTORY patrol team intercepted and arrested a wooden boat with 4 Nigerian suspects and laden with 1,482 bags of foreign parboiled rice around Tom Shot Island Breakwaters by Agbana-West along Calabar Channel. The bags of rice were smuggled from Dimbola Fishing Port in Limbe in the Republic of Cameroun and destined for Oron in Akwa Ibom State.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will sustain the onslaught against economic sabotage. The general public is hereby enjoined to continue to provide timely and credible information to the troops”.

Giving further breakdown of Military Operations within the time under review, Eneche, informed that, “troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have continued the aggressive clearance operations in the North-West zone of the country. For the period under review, we have witnessed downward trend in the activities of armed bandits and criminal elements in the zone.

“The gallant troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI within the period carried out series of clearance operations, ambushes and other aggressive and confidence building patrols. Also farm and highway patrols were carried out within the zone hence boosting the confidence of the people in carrying out their human activities.

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“These operations have most importantly led to the neutralization of armed bandits, arrest of suspected bandits and their collaborators, rescue of kidnapped victims, recovery of rustled cattle, smashing of illegal arms syndicates and illegal armed miners”.

According to him, “in one of the operations conducted on 3 September 2020, the gallant troops neutralized 2 armed bandits at Samawa village in Bungudu Local Government of Zamfara State. Similarly, on the same day, a bandit named Sada surrendered 3 AK 47 rifles, one SMG and 2 magazines to troops of Forward Operating Base DANSADAU in Zamfara State.

“Also, within the period troops of Operation THUNDER STRIKE acting on credible intelligence successfully ambushed armed bandits at Jeka Da Rabi along Kaduna-Abuja Expressway in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

“During the ambush, troops neutralized 4 armed bandits and recovered one locally fabricated rifle along with 5 rounds of 9mm ammunition. Furthermore, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI on 6 September 2020 arrested a bandit at Koha village in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State. Also, on 7 September 2020, troops of Forward Operating Base KEKUWUJE arrested 2 bandits’ couriers with the sum of One Million Five Hundred and Sixty Five Thousand, Five Hundred and Fifty Naira (N1, 565,550.00) in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Similarly, same day, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI in conjunction with vigilantes arrested a bandit informant in Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State”.

Eneche also added that, “additionally, within this period, the Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE neutralized several armed bandits and disrupted their camps in the Kuduru and Kwaimbana Forest areas of Kaduna State. This was achieved through separate air strikes carried on the heels of credible intelligence reports indicating that the 2 locations were being used as staging areas by the bandits. The attacks on the 2 forests hideout were executed after aerial reconnaissance missions observed significant number of armed bandits around some compounds in a small settlement within the forest.

“There is no gainsaying that the hitherto crippled agricultural, social and economic lives of the people of this zone by bandit’s activities have been restored to normalcy. The gallant troops of Operations HADARIN DAJI and THUNDER STRIKE have continued to dominate all the volatile areas with aggressive and confidence building patrols, ambushes and clearance operations to deny the bandits and other criminal elements freedom of action.

“The Military High Command congratulates the troops for the feats recorded and encourages the good people of the zone to continue to provide credible information to the troops”.

Meanwhile in Northeast, General Eneche, stated that, “in continuation of its efforts in the fight against terrorism in the North East zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria will not relent in its kinetic and non-kinetic operations. As usual, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE have been constantly engaged in aggressive clearance operations, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, artillery and aerial bombardments, offensive air strikes and interdiction operations between 3 and 9 September 2020. These are in addition to the non-kinetic activities of Operation”.

On Operation Safe Corridor, he informed that “within the period under review, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE recorded appreciable successes. On 3 September 2020, troops successfully repelled terrorists’ attacks on own troops and villages around Baga in Kukawa Local Government Area as well as Gajigana and Gajiram Towns in Nganzai Local Government Area of Borno State.

“During the encounters, troops neutralized a terrorist and recovered one PKT rifle and 2 AK-47 rifles. Also on same day, troops arrested 2 BHT/ISWAP elements at Kamuya village in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State and another named Usman Almajiri at Damaturu town in Yobe State.

“Relatedly, on 6 September 2020, troops acting on credible intelligence conducted raid operations at Hamdaga Makaranta Town in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State. In the process, 9 different Boko Haram/ISWAP structures identified during ISR missions in the location were cleared.

“Additionally, five of their fighters were killed during the raid; several others were neutralized by mop-up air strikes while escaping with various degrees of gunshot wounds. Interestingly, seven kidnapped victims comprising 2 women and five children were rescued by troops during the operations.

“In another development, on same day, troops of 134 Special Forces Battalion repelled BHTs/ISWAP ambush along Magumeri and Gubio Towns in Borno State. During the encounter, troops killed one terrorist and recovered one gun truck, 2 AK 47 rifles, one Dushka AA Gun, one PKT gun and one MG. Additionally, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE in conjunction with police and vigilantes, on 7 September 2020 raided the residence of suspected armed robbers and kidnappers at Garba Chede in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba State. During the raid, one armed robber was neutralized while one G3 rifle was recovered.

“Meanwhile, in Operation SAFE CORRIDOR, recently graduated clients are being received by their respective State Governments and are in the process of being finally reintegrated to their home communities. The Armed Forces of Nigeria in conjunction with all stakeholders of the Operation; including traditional, religious and community leaders as well as families of graduated Clients, worked out the modalities to ensure this positive outcome.”

In the North Central, Eneche stressed that, “the Armed Forces of Nigeria have continued to sustain the tempo in the fight against all the criminality in the zone with attendant successes. These ongoing kinetic efforts were supported by Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities in the form of stakeholders’ meetings amongst the various ethnic groups in the zone.

“Within the period under review, troops of Operation NUT CRACKER, on 3 September 2020 intercepted 86 persons suspected to be Darul Salam family members along Kpareke-Koton-Karfe Road in Kogi State. During the preliminary investigation, it was revealed that the suspects fled Uttu forest general area due to the ongoing military offensive. Relatedly, on 6 September 2020 troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE deployed at Guma in Benue State, and Keana in Nasarawa State, conducted a dawn raid at an identified armed bandits’ camp at Guma forest along the Benue-Nasarawa border following actionable intelligence reports on the location of the camp. Troops neutralized one bandit while others escaped with gunshot wounds.

“Troops also recovered one AK-47 rifle, one AK-47 rifle magazine, one locally made pistol and 3 mobile phones while the camp was subsequently destroyed.

13. Similarly, troops of Sector 1 deployed at Gagbe in Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State conducted a dawn raid on another suspected armed bandits’ hideout at Tse Agi in the general area.

“The gallant troops stormed the hideout and apprehended 4 suspects while one AK 47 rifle, 2 AK-47 rifle magazines and 46 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition were also recovered at the location. The hideout was subsequently destroyed.”

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