.military action in Southeast

**Troops deactivate several illegal refinery sites in Rivers, Bayelsa; arrest several illegal oil bunkers in Lagos.

By: Kingsley Omonobi – Abuja.

Following the precision air bombardments of armed bandits assembly points and their arms logistics base in the Sububu Forest in Zamfara state which led to the annihilation of scores of the bandits, hundreds of residents of Magami District in Gusau LGA of Zamfara State “have held a peaceful rally in appreciation of military operations that have ensured relative peace in their environment”.

Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig-Gen Bernard Onyeuko, said the residents disclosed that “the rally was as a result of the locals being able to access their farmlands without harassment or attacks by bandits who hitherto made life unbearable for them”.

Giving an update of security operations in the country, Onyeuko said, “On 12 July 2021, based on credible and timely information on the massing up of bandits around Sububu Forest possibly in preparation for an attack, the Air Component of Op Hadarin Daji dispatched its NAF platforms and engaged the bandits in a precision bombardment.

“Several armed bandits, motorcycles, camps and other equipment were destroyed. This dealt a serious setback to their criminal activities in the area. The Air Component of the operation has continued to dominate the airspace with reconnaissance and in support of ground troops.

Additionally, he said, “Land and Air operations were conducted simultaneously in other locations in Zamfara, Katsina, Niger and Kaduna States.

“These include ambush operations against armed bandits’ at Galadi village in Zamfara State as well as stop and search operations along with Isa – Shinkafi Road in Zamfara State; Sheme – Ruwan Godiya Road and Gurbin Baure, the border between Katsina and the Zamfara States.

“Also, troops responded to the distress call of bandits’ attack at Sabon Garin Yankara, in which troops swiftly mobilized to the location and repelled the attack.

 “Furthermore, troops conducted clearance and cordon and search operations at Chabi village under Marabu District in Maru LGA of Zamfara State as well as at Jarkuka Yangayya, Mazaya and Buku villages in Jibia LGA of Katsina State.

 “Troops also within the period conducted rescue operations at Mararaba Maigora village in Katsina State and Dogon Hako village in Kaduna State.

 “In each encounter, troops engaged and subdued the criminals; and recovered several livestock as well as arms and ammunition, including AK-47 rifles, locally made pistols, Dane guns and several rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.

 ​“Generally, the security situation in some locations within Operation Hadarin Daji theatre is considerably calm which is evident as locals were seen carrying out their daily activities peacefully.

 In the South West, Brig Gen Onyeuko said troops of Operation Awatse conducted operational engagements on anti-crude oil theft, anti-illegal refining and anti-smuggling operations as well as conducted clearance and stop and search operations in such areas as Tomaron Community at Corner Loss Axis in the Atlas Cove NNPC Terminal, Lagos State.

“During the operations, troops arrested some illegal oil bunkers and recovered large quantities of 50 litres Jerry cans filled with PMS siphoned from the NNPC pipeline.

 “Additionally, troops while on patrol within the period discovered and impounded large quantities of PMS and other petroleum products in sacks as well as in 50 litres jerry cans at Ogogoro Village and Ashipa Beach along Badagry – Seme Shoreline in Badagry West LGA of Lagos State as well as at Igbokoda area in Ondo State”.

 For the South-South, troops of Operation Delta Safe engaged in series of anti-crude oil theft, anti-illegal bunkering and anti-illegal oil refining as well as anti-smuggling and anti-militancy operations.

Military operations were conducted, at Egelebie – Jumbo Area in Rivers State, where an illegal refining site was deactivated and several metal storage tanks laden with large quantities of stolen crude oil were recovered.

“Also at Port Harcourt Tourists’ Beach, Borokiri in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, troops intercepted and arrested some smugglers along with several trucks, hoses and pumps used in moving illegally refined oil products. Similarly, troops recovered a large quantity of illegally refined DPK products in a compound at the Macoba area in Rivers State.

“In the same vein, troops identified a breach point on trunk lines and stopped ongoing oil siphoning at Kampala Town in Nembe LGA of Rivers State.

“Additionally, troops located and deactivated an illegal oil refining site with some ovens and metal storage tanks laden with large quantities of stolen crude oil as well as some pumping machines at Okrika Town in Okrika LGA of Rivers State.

Regarding operations in the Middle belt part of the country, the Acting Director said, “Troops of Operation Whirl Stroke undertook kinetic and non-kinetic operations, which were simultaneously conducted in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States.

“Troops on 2 and 3 July responded to distress calls on kidnapping and armed robbery incidents along Kente – Chinkai Road in Wukari LGA of Taraba State and along Katsina-Ala – Tukum Road, some perpetrated by the Azonto’s militia group. Several of the victims were rescued, while some of the kidnappers, including an armed robbers’ informant, were arrested during the encounters.

“​Troops also carried out non-kinetic engagements in form of security and peace meetings with critical stakeholders at Lufu Joro Community Primary School, Tukum and Udege Development Area in Nasarawa LGA, and youths of both the Tivs of Katsina-Ala LGA and Fulanis of Takum LGA of Benue and Taraba States.

“​Troops of Operation Whirl Punch and Thunderstrike between 2 and 14 July 2021, troops while on stop and search operation at Barde checkpoint between Jama’a LGA and Wasa in Sanga LGA of Kaduna State intercepted a trailer loaded with railway clips and tracks vandalized from Wasa Village in Sanga LGA.

“Troops apprehended Abdullahi Bello, Ibrahim Jafar and Mohammed Yakubu in the process and handed them over to appropriate prosecuting agency for further necessary action.

“In another development, a raid operation was conducted along Jiginda Kyayya – Fanock Bedde Road in Jama’a LGA of Kaduna State following a distress call on kidnap incident. Several of the kidnapped victims were rescued.

“Similarly, troops responded to a distress call and repelled armed bandits’ attack at Kakau in Chikun LGA of Kaduna State and rescued some victims. These operations successfully rescued some kidnapped victims, arrested some armed bandits and other criminal elements.

In the North East, troops of Operation Hadin Kai, while on clearance and fighting patrols, contacted and engaged some BHT criminal elements with superior firepower and subdued them at Daushe Village along Ngoshe  – Ashigashiya Road as well as Yarchida and Wurrajabbe general areas.

“In the same vein troops repelled BHT/ISWAP attack on security operatives between Jakana and Auno and forced the terrorists to flee in disarray.

“During the encounters, scores of the terrorists were neutralized and large caches of arms and ammunition, including AK-47 rifles, RPG guns and bags of assorted rounds of ammunition as well as other equipment, gun trucks and vehicles were recovered.

“In other developments, troops while on stop and search operations at Damasak, Muna Guarage Check Point and Kukawa Towns in Borno State as well as Bultimari forest in Yobe State, intercepted and arrested several terrorists and their logistics vehicles loaded with large quantities of assorted supplies.

“Additionally, within the period, several of the BHT/ISWAP’s wives and children surrendered to own troops at Banki LGA following the heavy operational activities of the troops within the Operation theatre.

“On 2 July 2021, some elements of BHT/ISWAP terrorist crossing Damaturu – Maiduguri road in 3 Gun trucks attacked innocent civilians along their path. After receiving a distress call on the incident a NAF Mi-35 helicopter was dispatched to the location and engaged terrorists.

“The 3 Gun trucks were destroyed with most of its occupants; other fleeing terrorists were neutralized by the ground troops during mop-up operation and recovered some weapons as well”.

Onyeuko, however, noted that troops suffered casualties in some of the operations saying, “There is no gainsaying there is a relative reduction in the spate of incidents in the various theatres of operations. However, in the course of these operations, some of our troops paid the supreme price and some others sustained varying degrees of injuries”.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will continue to forestall the activities of the enemies of our dear Country. Thus we have intensified our aggressive posture to reduce the activities of criminal elements.

 “We have also intensified intelligence surveillance reconnaissance operations in all theatres of operations and main criminals’ logistics supply routes to frustrate movement of arms and ammunition as well as other unlawful items to criminal elements using various NAF platforms.

“The NAF also dominated the airspace within all theatres and provided close air support for ground troops during their operations.”

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