**Warns Remaining Criminal Elements to surrender before they are smoked out.
**Dislodge-ment of Darul Salam shows no terrorist group will be allowed to operate in Nigeria
**Navy dismantles Illegal Refinery Site, arrest 9 suspects for siphoning 120 drums of PMS in 5 wooden boats
By Kingsley Omonobi
The Military High Command has given troops and other security agencies a thumbs up for the valiant successes so far achieved in the decimation and neutralization of criminal elements across the country particularly armed bandits in the North West and terrorists groups in the North East and North Central, citing the dislodgement of the Darulsalam/Boko Haram group in Kogi and Nasarawa states.
Major General John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations who made the disclosure in Abuja, noted that as a result of the relentless assault on the criminal elements from all angles, the bandits are thinning out (withering out) saying, “We are dealing with them now in trickles. When we started, were dealing with them and wiping them out in droves. Today it is 150, tomorrow it is 100, another day it is 80. But now it has reduced to 8 0o 7 or 5 killed.
“We are sending out a message that those of them still remaining should come out and surrender before we smoke them out because we will not stop until they are all neutralized and allow peace in our country.
Enenche expressed the commendation of the military high command for the cooperation troops are getting from Vigilante groups and Local by way of information, which has resulted in fruitful offensives and achievements.
He described the dislodgment of the Darulsalam terrorist group and the capture of over 700 Boko Haram adherents mostly women and children who were being indoctrinated as a pointer to the fact that no terrorist group would be allowed to spring out in any part to threaten its peace and security.
It was gathered that when troops stormed the camps of Darulsalam in Toto, Nasarawa state and Koton Karfe in Kogi state, several of the male terrorists were neutralized in the gunfights that ensued with troops while many escaped with gunshot wounds into the bushes.
“Our aim is to ensure that no terrorist operates in any part of Nigeria. They should not operate either as a hibernating unit of sleeper cell anywhere”, Gen. Enenche said
An account of one of the women captured, on how they are forced into the sect, showed that the terrorist kidnapped she, her husband and two children, killed the husband in her presence and later got her impregnated.
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Enenche warned against parents allowing their teenagers and children joining religious groups not recognized by government, who preach heresy and other anti-religious teachings.
Commenting on how safe it was for internally displaced persons in the North East, to return to their homes, following efforts by the Borno state government to return IDPs to their communities, the Coordinator said, “Safety to return home is not purely a military matter. It involves stakeholders including traditional rulers and other civil institutions. The Chief Security Officer of the state is making efforts to return the people back home, as security agencies; we are ready to support them”
Giving further details of operations across the country, Enenche said, “In the North-East zone, gallant troops working together with other security agencies conducted several clearance operations and repelled BHT/ISWAP attacks on own troops and civilian locations in Yobe State. The operations led to the neutralization of 3 BHT/ISWAP fighters and recovery of caches of arms and ammunition.
“In the same vein, 6 terrorists and armed bandits were arrested and currently being profiled for necessary action. Meanwhile, as the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole intensifies airstrikes against terrorists’ targets in Borno State, some compounds housing BHT/ISWAP fighters were destroyed leading to the elimination of scores at Kaza along GulumbaGana – Kumshe axis in Borno State on 1 September 2020.
“Borno State Government has remained resolute in its efforts to resettle the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the State back to their home communities. In spite of the Boko Haram/ISWAP criminal elements’ attempts to thwart its efforts, the State Government is determined to resettle more of the IDPs to their home communities.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria, as always, will support the State Government in its effort to resettle its citizens back to their various communities and ensure they go about their businesses unperturbed. This is considerably evidence of gradual restoration of normalcy in some parts of the North-East zone of Nigeria.
“In the North-Central zone, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke, within the period under review, following aggressive intensive kinetic operations at identified bandits’ enclaves at Uttu in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. The successful operation resulted in the neutralization of several bandits, not less than 410 members of the Darul Salam terrorist group, surrendered to the gallant troops and other security agencies deployed.
“This was followed by a robust clearance patrol around the same area which resulted in a raid on a Darul Salam terrorists’ bomb-making factory. In the course of the operation, troops recovered several Improvised Explosive Device making materials, 6 rocket launcher bombs, 10 locally made hand grenades and one Rocket Propelled Grenade bomb fuse.
“The camp was subsequently destroyed. In the follow-up operations, troops mopped-up additional 290 terrorists’ family members, as well as the destruction of their camps and hideouts between Koton Karfe in Kogi and parts of Nasarawa States.
“It is worthy of mention that, these efforts are evidence of the redoubled efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in securing the territorial integrity of our dear country, most especially following recent alerts by the United States Africa Command on the incursion of armed bandits and terrorists into the country.
“Similarly, troops of Operation Safe Haven conducted a robust night patrol within Angwan Duruwa area in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state. During the patrol 5 suspected drug peddlers were arrested with large quantity of substances suspected to be Cannabis Sativa and other illicit drugs. The suspects were duly profiled and have been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for further action.
“Furthermore, on 28 August 2020, troops in conjunction with personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) Plateau State Command, conducted a raid at Unguwan Chiroma in Wase Local Government Area of Plateau State and arrested 2 kidnappers/gunrunners with various blacksmith tools used in locally fabricating weapons. Both suspects and items recovered have been handed over to the DSS for further action.
“As part Of Civil-Military Cooperation activities within the period, Headquarters Operation Safe Haven held stakeholders meeting with community leaders in various parts of Plateau state. Areas covered include: Bassa, Jos, Barkin Ladi, and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State, and Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“In the South West zone, troops of Operation Awatse have continued to intensify the fight against pipeline vandals, economic saboteurs and other criminal elements. Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft conducted patrols of creeks and discovered 350 litres of Premium Motor Spirit contained in seven jerrycans of 50 litres hidden in the bush at Akimbo and Orita on the Atlas Cove Island. Similarly, the Base discovered 600 litres of PMS contained in 12 jerrycans of 50 litres hidden in a bush at Akaraba.
“In the North-West zone, on 28 August 2020, troops of Operation Sahel Sanity deployed at Mara laid ambush on suspected bandits who attempted to invade Gobirawa village but were repelled by combined effort of troops and local vigilante. During the ambush, troops made contact with the armed bandits and engaged them with superior firepower neutralizing 2 in the process while others escaped with gunshot wounds.
“Additionally, in the course of the exploitation, troops recovered one AK-47 Rifle and one Motorcycle from the fleeing bandits. In the same vein, troops deployed at Zakka acting on credible intelligence arrested 3 suspected armed bandits. Suspects were identified by locals to be members of a syndicate terrorizing the general area. During preliminary investigation, the suspects confessed to their involvements in recent cattle rustling and other criminal activities at Kwaya, SabonBirni and Baure villages.
“All arrested suspects are undergoing interrogation while effort is ongoing to apprehend other criminals in the general area.
“Furthermore, troops carried out several Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities at various communities within the North-West zone. These efforts include Renovation of schools, drilling and completion of boreholes at Zurmi Local Government Area of Zamfara State. Plans are also underway to renovate more schools in the zone.
“In the South-South zone, troops of FOB Ibaka, Operation Delta Safe, under the subsidiary Operation Silent Heat, on 31 August 2020 while on routine patrol around Parrot Island and Ikang creek respectively intercepted and arrested 3 medium sizes wooden boats laden with 796 bags of 50kg of foreign parboiled rice smuggled in from the Republic of Cameroon.
“Relatedly; between 27 and 30 August 2020, the patrol team also intercepted and arrested 5 medium size wooden boats laden with 120 drums of product suspected to be Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) with 9 suspects around Effiat Waterways and James Town respectively. The suspects and items recovered are currently in custody and will soon be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency.
“Similarly, Nigerian Navy Ship Pathfinder patrol team located and dismantled an illegal refining site at Busonomei Kiriyo. The site had a metal reservoir laden with an estimated 578 barrels of crude oil which was impounded.
“In another development, troops of 16 Brigade Garrison on 27 August 2020, discovered and destroyed an illegal refinery at Abbissa in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.
“The Military High Command appreciates the general public for their cooperation in providing credible information which has so far facilitated the successes of these operations. Furthermore, it enjoins the general public to be proactive in the provision of timely information. This is very necessary for the enhancement of operational activities.”