In continuation of military offensives by the Nigerian Army to rid the North West of armed banditry, troops on Operation Sahel Sanity have rescued 32 Kidnapped victims, arrested 26 bandits, their collaborators, arms and drugs suppliers while two bandits met their waterloo in gunfights.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko who made the disclosure, also noted that over 150 rustled cattle were recovered from bandits during several shootouts.
He said, “On 30 August 2020, following credible information on bandits’ movement with 40 cattle rustled at Kwanar Maje area, the gallant troops quickly moved in and intercepted the bandits along Anka – Gummi road.
“However, on sighting the advancing troops from afar, the criminals abandoned the cattle and fled into the forest.
“All the rustled cattle were successfully recovered and handed back to the rightful owners.
“Similarly, on 31 August 2020, troops on patrol foiled another cattle rustling incident and recovered several cattle from suspected cattle rustlers that invaded Zango village in Jibia LGA of Katsina State.
“The criminals had earlier stormed the village and rustled a large number of cattle belonging to the locals but the timely arrival of the troops reversed their heinous intent leading to abandoning their loot and fleeing into the forested area.
“All recovered animals were equally returned to their rightful owners.
“In another development, on 1 September 2020, troops deployed at Faskari in Katsina State on routine patrol came in contact with some bandits in company of 2 women suspected to have been kidnapped.
“While troops closed in on the suspects, the bandits fled into a rocky area.
“Nevertheless, the resilient troops mounted a hot pursuit forcing them to abandon the 2 kidnapped women.
“The victims were safely rescued and reunited with their families.
“Relatedly, on 2 September 2020 troops on patrol around Mararaban Kawaye received information that armed bandits have kidnapped 3 commuters.
“The troops swiftly tracked the bandits through their withdrawal route and engaged them in a firefight which forced the bandits to abandon the kidnapped victims and flee into the bush.
“Troops exploited the area and recovered one motorcycle abandoned by the fleeing bandits.
“Relatedly, on 2 September 2020, resulting from the intensity of Operation Sahel Sanity, a bandit leader name Sada willingly surrendered to troops at Forward Operation Base Dansadau and submitted 3 AK 47 rifles, one Sub Machine Gun and 2 Magazines.
“He is however being profiled for further necessary action by the Civil authority.
“Also, on 6 September 2020, troops conducting stop and search along Bingi road intercepted a suspected bandit name Isah Shehu.
“The suspect was arrested with camouflage uniform concealed in a bag.
“Information from his phone reveals that the suspect is a notorious bandit addressed as “Commander” by members of his group.
“He is currently in custody providing troops with vital information.
“Similarly, troops acting on reliable intelligence arrested one Abubakar Ibrahim, who is suspected to be an informant working for a wanted notorious bandit leader named Ado Alieru.
“The suspect admitted during interrogation that Mr Alieru bought him a motorbike which he uses in carrying out assignments for him.
“Furthermore, on 6 September 2020, troops on patrol responded to a distress call over a kidnap activity at an estate along Dandume road as they quickly mobilized to the area, however, the suspects who were believed to have been hinted through their informants abandoned 9 kidnapped victims and fled the area before the troops’ arrival.
“On the same day, troops on patrol arrested one Ibrahim Sule at Koha village under Batsari LGA of Katsina State.
“Suspect was identified by locals to be a member of a syndicate terrorizing the general area and is currently undergoing interrogation in custody.
“Also, on 7 September 2020, troops at Forward Operation Base Kekuwuje while on routine patrol arrested 2 suspected bandits.
“The arrest was made following credible intelligence that the suspects are members of a bandit group terrorizing the area.
“Items recovered from them include the sum of One Million Five Hundred and Sixty-Five Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty Naira (N1,565,550.00) suspected to be acquired from one of their criminal activities, one Motorcycle, 2 mobile phones and clothes concealed in a bag.
“The Suspects confessed during interrogation to be involved in selling rustled cattle for bandits.
“In another development, on 8 September 2020, troops deployed at Daki Takwas intercepted and arrested 17 armed Yansakai members on 7 motorcycles at Danmarke village in Bukkuyum LGA of Zamfara State.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that suspects are from Maga in Kebbi State.
“Items recovered from them include 12 locally fabricated Dane guns, 7 motorcycles and assorted charms.
“Suspects are in custody undergoing further interrogations.
“Relatedly, on 9 September 2020, troops on patrol rescued 14 persons kidnapped by suspected bandits along Dutsinma-Yantumaki road.
“The victims who were travelling along the route in a commercial vehicle ran into the bandits who diverted their vehicle in an attempt to take them hostage.
“However, following prompt information by an eyewitness, troops quickly mobilized and pursuit the bandits forcing them to abandon the vehicle laden with passengers.
“All 14 victims were safely rescued.
“Relatedly, on 10 September 2020, troops acting on actionable intelligence arrested one illegal arms supplier named Usman Ibrahim from Ryom in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State.
“The suspect was arrested with 890 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition carefully concealed in his vehicle.
“Other items recovered from him include 1 Jackknife, 1 Pistol Grip, a Nigerian Police ID card and the sum of Two Million Two Hundred and Thirty Naira (#2,230,000).
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect is a major illegal arms dealer supplying bandits in the North-West.
“Furthermore, on 10 September 2020, troops conducting clearance operation at Shekewa general area destroyed several bandits camps and arrested 3 suspected bandits named Adamu Musa, Hassan Bello and Rabiu Salisu.
“Also, one bandit was neutralized while trying to escape on a motorcycle.
“Additionally, on 11 September 2020, troops responding to distress call foiled an attempt by bandits to attack and loot locals at Magami village.
“On arrival to the village, the bandits engaged the troops but the resilient troops responded with superior firepower forcing the bandits to flee in disarray.
“During exploitation, one suspected bandit named Abubakar Umaru was apprehended.
“Furthermore, on 11 September 2020, following information from locals, troops arrested one Yahaya Abubakar identified to be a bandit collaborator at Ungwan Kardorako village.
“The suspect is in custody undergoing interrogations.
“Relatedly, troops while on patrol came in contact with suspected bandits along Bindim-Magami road, troops instinctively pursued the criminals forcing them to abandon 3 kidnapped victims as they managed to escape into the nearby bush.
“Additionally, on 12 September 2020, troops conducting stop and search operation in Gusau, Zamfara State based on reliable intelligence arrested one male and one female suspects namely Kabiru Dauda and Hafsat Musa with 9 parcels containing substances suspected to be Cannabis and other illicit hard drugs.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that suspects are suppliers of hard drugs to bandits.
“Similarly, troops acting on credible intelligence arrested a wanted suspected bandit named Usman Gorjo at Ungwar Alhaji Danbuzu and a suspected bandit informant named Isah Bala at Daudawa village.
“Suspects were arrested in connection with the killing of the head of Daudawa vigilante group recently.
“To this end, the gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity are commended for the successes achieved and their commitment to duty. They are further urged not to rest on their oars until Northwest is rid of all criminals.
“While the good people of the Northwest are once again assured of troops committed to the safety of lives and property within the zone, they are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist them in the operations.”