The abduction of 276 female students in Chibok, Borno state in April 2014 by Boko Haram insurgents was the first of such abductions in the history of this country. And the outrage that followed the abduction both within and outside the country was such that the Goodluck Jonathan’s administration never recovered from the incident as the ghost of the abduction continued to haunt the government until they were voted out in 2015.
The then opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, led by General Muhammadu Buhari seized the momentum and made tackling insecurity as one of its three-point agenda. In fact, the APC vowed to crush insurgency within three months of assuming office. But seven years after coming into office, the little wound that the APC inherited from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has become so festered that it is now threatening to consume the entire nation.
The terrorists now move from one school to another abducting students and keeping them in their camps located deep inside the forests for months until ransom is paid. The terrorists even killed some abducted students to warn the parents of the remaining students in their custody they meant business. It was that bad.
Commuters are kidnapped from the highways and taken into the forests while some who are unable to pay ransom immediately are killed. The terrorists invade communities at will, killing, looting, setting houses ablaze and abducting the residents.
Few days ago, the terrorists strolled into the runway of Kaduna airport and killed one security man. This was followed by the bombing of Abuja-Kaduna rail track which caused derailment of the train. Eight of the train passengers were shot dead by the terrorists who also abducted a number of them. One of the injured later died in the hospital, raising the death toll to nine.
Apart from attacks, the terrorists also impose taxes and other levies on the locals.
The terrorists have now become very daring. Three weeks ago, they attacked a military base at Polewire in Birnin-Gwari, Kaduna State, killing 17 soldiers and injuring 40 others, after a fierce gun battle. The gunmen also killed three locals, razed four armoured vehicles and went away with military weapons after killing the soldiers. A few days ago 106 innocent people were killed in Plateau, many of their houses raised.
As these mindless killings and abductions of residents by the terrorists were being perpetrated, the response from government was always to commiserate with the families of the victims and an assurance that the president had given a marching order to the troops to rescue the abductees. But the marching orders had always produced nothing as none of the kidnapped victims had ever been rescued by the security operatives unless ransom is paid and the victims are released.
Nigerians had expressed surprise why our military had not been able to take the battle to the terrorists by storming the forests where these terrorists have their camps. These forests are known not only to the residents but the security agencies.
Retired military officers and many security experts had always expressed confidence that our military were capable of crushing the terrorists within a few months if those at the helm of affairs have the political will to do so.
Worried by the unending security challenge in the country, the Retired Army, Navy and Air Force Officers (RANAO) Associations of Nigeria, lamented the Federal Government’s inability to proffer solution to the problem. While urging Nigerians to defend themselves against Boko Haram and incessant herders’ attacks and killings across the country, they argued that insecurity in Nigeria has been turned into a business venture.
Its National President, Major General Alexander Mshelbwala (rtd.), pointed out that Nigerians were turning insecurity into a business. He argued that the Boko Haram terrorists cannot spend more than five days in the bush without food, and wondered why the military should allow supply to the terrorists
Some governors; Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Aminu Masari of Katsina State and Darius Ishaku of Taraba State have resorted to asking the citizens to defend themselves against the bandits. These governors have on different occasions advocated for the citizens to be armed, so they can defend themselves against bandits and other criminal elements.
The Minister of Defence, retired Major General Bashir Magashi had also told Nigerians to rise to their own defence. In March 2018, a former Chief of Army Staff and Defence Minister, T.Y. Danjuma also called for self-defence.
Similarly, the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai had always insisted that the security forces should storm the forests and kill all the bandits. Governor El-Rufai two weeks ago admitted that the Nigerian authorities know the camps of the bandits, their identities and listen to the conversations of the terrorists that are terrorising large swaths of the North-west region.
The governor, who was speaking at an event to update Nigerians on what the government was doing to stem the tide of banditry in the state said “We know where their camps are, we have the maps, we know everything. We listen to their conversation on phone sometimes.
“We know what they (terrorists) are planning. We get the reports. The problem is for the agencies to take action. We should not wait until the terrorists attack before we respond. The Army should go after their enclaves to wipe them out, let the Air Force bomb them,” he said. El Rufai lamented that the SSS has informants all over the place sourcing information for the service, but such attacks still happen. Renewing his call that security forces should bomb bandits out of existence, El-Rufai said he does not believe any innocent person could be in the forests, hence his call for air and ground bombing of the forests, as well as standby ground troops to kill anyone who escapes from the bush.
According to him, “With the declaration by the Federal High Court that these bandits are terrorists, nothing stops the military, the police and other security agencies from taking extreme actions to terminate these bandits without prejudice. This is what we have been pushing for, for the past two years”.
El-Rufai had even threatened to invite mercenaries to take the battle to the terrorists in their fortresses if the Federal Government was not willing to put an end to terrorist activities.
Also, the senator representing Katsina Central in the National Assembly, Kabir Abdullahi Barkiya in February this year declared that the hideouts of the bandits terrorising the people of Katsina state were well known to the government functionaries and security agents. Barkiya who was speaking on the floor of the Senate while contributing to a motion wondered why banditry had not been totally eliminated in the state despite the fact that the locations of the criminals were well known.
Meanwhile, there were insinuations that the body language of the President Buhari does not encourage the military commanders to go all out against the terrorists. Reference was made to Buhari’s warning before he came to power that the Goodluck Jonathan government should stop killing Book Haram members. And even when Buhari assumed office, his government has refused to prosecute sponsors of terrorism in the country who have been publicly identified.
The hideouts or forests in several states across the country where these terrorists attack from and run back to after operations are well known. But the surprise is that our military forces know these places as confirmed by Governor Nadir El-Rufai of Kaduna state but they have been very reluctant to invade these forests to smoke out the terrorists or for rescue operations, they only react after every operation.
Col Hassan Stan-Labo (retd), former Army Intelligence Officer, speaking on Arise News television on political interventions in the anti-terror war said “I know what the Nigerian armed forces can do but unfortunately for one reason or the other, we are not measuring up to expectations. We’ve got what it takes to crush the terrorists. As a country, with a strong defence force, having actually equipped your infantry, you go out there and crush the enemy. That is what I expect from Nigeria, we did it in Liberia, we did it in Sierra Leone. What is happening with us? Is this Nigeria? Our sovereignty is threatened, bandits have taken over this country and we’re watching? This is the only country we have and only the military can salvage it”.
With the spate of killings and kidnappings for ransom that occur almost every day, the terrorists have demonstrated that wreaking havoc and unleashing mayhem on the populace has become their way of life. And if it’s only the military that can salvage the situation, the question Nigerians are asking is, when will these savages that have taken over our forests be brought to their knees by our military?
The forests which these bandits have taken over are located in virtually all the states of the federation. Our special investigations have identified them for out military and the government in case they claim they don’t. It is part of our contribution to the fight against terror in Nigeria.
By Musa Na Annabi Sokoto
Bandits’ attacks started in Sokoto state in 2017 and the attacks have continued unabated.
The attack was first reported in Gandi District of Rabah local government where 32 people were killed and over 2000 households displaced with another set of 30 killed in less two months.
The state has a number of forests located in different parts of the state where the bandits are hiding and from where they launch attacks on the residents. These forests include the notorious Gundumi forest along Sokoto/Isa road; Katuru; Gebe and Kamarawa forests all in Isa local government. There are also Gongono Forest in Tangaza local government; Kuruwa forest in Tureta local government, Burkusuma forest in Sabon Birni local government, Ungushi and Sabon Birni forests in Kebbi local government and Satiru forest in Dance/Shuni local government area.
The Gongono forest in Tangaza local government area first served as hide out for members of Islamic State of West Africa Provence (ISWAP) who according to reports migrated to the area from Mali. Members of the group were said to have migrated from Mali to find refuge in the forest which shares border with the Niger Republic.
Gebe, Katuru, Kamarawa, Gundumi
Gebe, Katuru, Kamarawa and Gundumi are areas where criminal gangs take refuge after launching attacks on their victims in broad daylight and the areas are well known to many in Sokoto state.
Ungushi is another forest taken over by the terrorists which linked the area with Sabon Birni a vast forest in Kebbe Local Government Area of the state. The forest which stretches over 1000 hecters of vast uninhabited land had served as safe heaven for terrorists who carried out attacks on market days of Wednesdays and Sundays. During the 2019 general election, the terrorists prevented the supply of election materials by INEC officials to the area.
By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Benue state no doubt has been an epicentre of armed Fulani bandits’ attacks in the last four years.
The bandits within the said period have brutally decimated Benue communities and the inhabitants, forcing close to two million of them out of their ancestral homes while thousands of the victims lost their lives in the attacks. In one of those instances the bandits, a year ago, made a failed attempt on the life of Governor Samuel Ortom in his farm on Makurdi-Gboko road.
Just like other attacks in various communities across the state, the attack on the governor was launched from a forested area located between Makurdi and Abinsi, across River Benue along the Tyo-Mu area on Makurdi-Gboko road. Similar attacks in several communities around the state were all launched from neighbouring Nasarawa state or forested areas where the bandits operate from and retreat into after each strike.
Some of such forests in the same Benue North West district exit in Gwer West Local Government Area of the state at Gbaji and Anguhar, an area bordering Nasawara state. In fact that axis of the local government has become the stronghold of the bandits and only recently the traditional ruler of Gwer West, the Ter Tyochin, Chief Daniel Abomste raised the alarm and appealed to the military to mount a blockade on that axis to stop the marauders from gaining access into his domain. The royal father had warned that the bandits were unleashing mayhem in his domain from that axis lamenting that Naka Local Government Headquarters was at the verge of being attacked by the marauders. And few weeks after that warning, the bandits launched an attack on the Local Government Headquarters killing and injuring several persons.
Yelwata, Mbabai, Nzorov
Guma Local Government Area which also shares common borders with Nasarawa state on several fronts has over the years witnessed the worst attacks by the marauders. These attacks are usually launched from the neighbouring state and forests in Yelwata as well as Mbabai and Nzorov Council Wards.
The forested areas on Makurdi-Yogbo-Udei-Branch Udei road that runs through Makurdi-Guma local government down to Nasawara state are known hideouts for the bandits who on several occasions storm communities on that axis. It was also on that stretch that security personnel were in recent past waylaid and killed by the bandits.
The Adiga forest popularly known as ‘Sambisa Forest’ in Ado local government of the state along the Ado-Okpoga road is another haven for bandits who relentlessly attack communities in Benue South district. The forest is a known fortress of bandits in that axis of the state. In fact there have been several cases of the bandits abducting individuals from communities on that axis and disappearing with the victims into the forest from where they negotiated the ransom for their release. Bothered by the development, the Ado Council Chairman, Chief James Oche had repeatedly appealed to security personnel to comb the forest to dislodge the terrorists who are making life a living hell for the people of the area, but nothing has been done about that till date.
Agatu Local Government Area is a riverine area in the Benue South that has witnessed years of repeated incursions by bandits who attacked from forests located in Loco in Nasarawa state down to communities in Gwer West and Okokolo community in Agatu.
Another stretch of the forest runs from the border communities of Kogi state to Okpanchenyi and the fadama area in Enungba from where they attack Agatu communities. The Benue North East district with its huge land mass which shares common boundary with Taraba state and the Cameroon is also home to forests that habour bandits and terrorists.
Ayibe, Awashua,Tse Dzungwe, Mabaya
In Logo Local Government Area, specifically, the forests in Ayibe, Awashua, Tse Dzungwe and Mabaya are known homes of terrorists who torment the people on that axis of the state.
Also, the forests in communities in Mbamena Council Ward area of Ukum LGA is known to be habouring some of the bandits. In fact troops of the Operation Whirl Stroke only last month carried out an operation in that area where some of them were dislodged and killed during a shootout after which different calibers of fire arms were recovered by the troops.
Yooyo Council Ward of Katsina-Ala LGA among others is said to be another haven for bandits. The military also recently raided that area to flush out some of the bandits who had been on the wanted list of security agencies.
In Moon, a Council Ward in Kwande LGA of the state is today home of bandits who have sacked the inhabitants and taken over their communities from where they launch attacks on several communities within the LGA and neighbouring communities. An indigene of the area and President General of Mzough U Tiv, MUT, worldwide, Chief Iorbee Ihagh had recently cried out over the situation saying, “bandits have completely taken over my community and as I speak with you I cannot visit my hometown because they have sacked everyone and taken over our homes,” he lamented.
By Ozioruva Aliu
The entire forested areas in the three senatorial districts in Edo state have been taken over by criminal herdsmen who are into kidnapping, killing and raping of women and girls. This has made traveling a nightmare in the entire state. But there is a curious dimension to the menace as there is an alleged connivance between the criminal herdsmen and locals who act as informants and negotiators because victims of the attacks had wondered how the bandits were so familiar with the terrain even more than the locals who have dwelt in these same places over the years.
The notorious area for kidnapping in Edo South senatorial district, the largest area and most populated which is home to seven out of the eighteen local government areas in the state, is the Benin–Auchi-Okenne road. The forest at Ahor by the bypass that takes road users to the Ugbowo axis of the Benin – Lagos Road is one of the dangerous spots in the area known for kidnapping. So many lives have been lost in that axis while many victims have also been rescued by security agencies. It is a large forest spanning several kilometers.
Ovia Forest, Ogbemudia farms
Ovia Forests and Ogbemudia farms near Okada along the Benin – Lagos road are also notorious for kidnapping.
The abandoned Benin – Abaraka Road, where there is a vast farmland in Orhionmwon Local Government Area is also notorious for kidnapping and killings. Many farmers in these areas have abandoned their farms and have relocated to the city to stay with family members.
Ugha, Igieduma, Iruekpen forests
Along the Benin – Auchi – Okenne roads, the Ugha, Igieduma and Iruekpen forests have also been taken over by kidnappers.
Ewato, Igbanke forests
In Edo Central senatorial district, the forests in Ewato — Ewohimi road and Igbanke – Ekpon off Agbor Road are a hideout for kidnappers.
Ethonomics, Okpella, Uzebba, Ekperi forests
In Edo north senatorial district, the forest at Ethonomics in Etsako West Local Government Area along the Benin – Okenne – Lokoja Road is a fortress for kidnappers as well as the forest in Okpella, a boundary town between Edo and Kogi States. The Auchi – Warrake – Iruekpen road, Uzebba axis along Ifon – Sobe road, a boundary area between Edo and Ondo states is also home to kidnappers. Also in that area is the bush along the Ekperi – Anegbette road in Etsako Central. Speaking on the forest in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area which shares boundaries with Ondo and Kogi states, a leader of the vigilante group said “It is a terrible situation here, the kidnappers have completely taken over the forests”
Aiyegunle, Eshawa, Imoga forests
The forests in Aiyegunle, Eshawa, Imoga, and the forest between Lampese and Ogori in Kogi state have also been taken over by the terrorists. The terrorists move around these forests, so that if they are found in one forest today, the next day they will move to another location.
Dagbala, Ojiramito forests
There is also a forest after Ojirami by Dagbala and another one in Ojiramito Uneme-Erhurun which the terrorists have occupied
Enwan, Akuku, Sasaro, Ogbe, Ogugu hill, Okpe forests
According to the vigilante group leader, “we also find these kidnappers in the forests in Enwan and Akuku. Then the Old NEPA office in Igarra, there is a hill there surrounded by bushes which used to be a cattle ranch but terrorists have taken over the place. They are in Sasaro forest, they are in Ogbe, Ogugu Hill, behind Geoworks and they are also in a hill close to Gloryland Secondary School along Okpe road.
By Dayo Johnson, Akure
In Ondo state, the forests where bandits and kidnappers operate from and run back to for refugee are located in the Northern Senatorial area of the state. This Senatorial district shares boundaries with Kogi, Edo and other northern part of the state. The bandits would sneak into the boundary, commit crimes and quietly escape to their hideouts.
The dangerous spots are Owo – Ifon -Benin highway; Akure – Ado Ekiti – lkere highway; Auga – Akunnu – Kabba highway and Benin – Ore – Lagos highway.
On Ifon- Benin highway, a first class traditional ruler in the state, the Olufon of Ifon, in Ose council area of the state, Oba Israel Adeusi was killed by the terrorists at Elegbeka community. Oba Adeusi was said to be returning to his town from Akure, the Ondo State capital where he went for a meeting with other frontline traditional rulers in the state.
Some of those kidnapped along the Owo/ lfon/ Ose highway include lecturers at the state-owned Rufus Giwa Polytechnic,Owo, medical doctors and nurses at the Federal Medical Centre in Owo as well as some regents in some communities in Akoko areas in the state. Others include a Secondary School Principal, his Vice and three other teachers along Auga-Ise road in Akoko North East council area of the state, ten persons at a farm in Ayede Ogbese, Akure North council area of Ondo state and the kidnapping of a family of five from Ajowa Akoko in Akoko North-West Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Those abducted on the Benin – Ore- Lagos highway include two Reverend Sisters in Odigbo council area of the state. The daughter of the Afenifere leader, Mrs Funke Olakunrin was murdered between Kajola and Ore along Ondo-Ore highway and Players and officials of Adamawa United FC along Benin-Ore expressway.
By Wole Mosadomi
Hideouts of the terrorists in Niger state include Allawa forest as well as villages such as Beni, Kuchi, Hudawa, Kusasu and Kaore where the governor raised the alarm that the terrorists had hoisted their flag. Most bandits terrorizing Shiroro, Rafi, Magama, Wushishi, Munya, Paikoro Local Government Areas and some highways among others in Niger State come through Zamfara, Katsina and Birnin Gwari and Chukun Local Government Areas in Kaduna state. It is on record that most people abducted from Niger state by the bandits are moved trekking such long kilometers from Niger back to either Zamfara, Katsina or Kaduna state depending on where their “headquarters” or commanders are resident.
The first point where the bandits settle on getting to Niger state is a village called Hudawa, a border town between Niger and Kaduna state. From there, they plan which route to take depending on the area of their attack.
From Hudawa, they move to Kusasu in Shiroro local government which currently serves as their base to carry out their dastardly attacks on communities like Kukoki, Kaore, Nakurna, Gurumana, Iburo, pelele, Galape, Galkogo and many others.
Also from Hudawa, the bandits usually find their way to Munya local government through Kusasu and Angunu which is an ancient cattle grazing route that connect the northern part of the country to the south through Zango and Tsohon Dangunu and finally connect Kuchi which is a railway town to kurbaku and settle at Guni to carry out attacks on communities around Sarkin Pawa.
Sometimes the bandits come through Chukun Local Government Area of Kaduna state, through Konan Malle to Munya and move to Tsohon Kabula, Kazai, going through Gini to Zagzaga junction into Zagzaga town and move up to Mangoro, Pole wire (High tension electricity line) all through to Beni from where they attack Ishau, Adunu, Amale, Kudami, Daza Aboloso all in Paikoro local government.
Investigations reveal that the bandits also come from Rigana forest in Kaduna state to lunch attacks particularly on communities in Munya and Paikoro Local Government Areas. The bandits usually find their way from Hudawa through Allawa and Manta to attack Kagara in Rafi local government. This particular route had been used in the past to launch attack on some villages in the local government area. The invasion of Government Science Secondary School in Kagara and the Islamiyya School in Tegina both in Rafi local government area cannot be easily forgotten where many of the students including teenagers were abducted and made to spend months with the bandits before they were eventually released. The same route is used to navigate their way to Kundu, Wushishi, Akere and some other communities within Wushishi and Rafi Local Government Areas. This route makes it easy for the bandits to launch attack on commuters plying the Kontagora-Zungeru-Minna road which has now become a “dangerous route” for motorists to ply as a result of incessant attacks on the highway by the bandits. The first terrorists’ attack was carried out against the Niger State Transport Authority,(NSTA) luxurious bus about two years ago along the same highway during which many people especially those coming from a social function from Kontagora axis were abducted.
Presently, the strongholds of the bandits in Niger State are Kusasu and Kaore in Shiroro, as well as Katarma which is a border town between Niger and Kaduna state.
Some notable villages including Kuchi in Munya local government area of the state are also being used as hideouts after sacking the villagers.
Also, Kusaso and Katerema villages in Shiroro are said to be the main base of the terrorists. It is on record that the bandits passed through Bassa to Allawa in Shiroro where they attacked Allawa Military base recently during which some security personnel were killed.
By Salihu Ndahi
Terrorists’ hideouts in Borno state are Mandara mountain, Bitta, Izge in Gwoza local government area; Alagarno, Camp Zero, Timbuktu Traingle, Wajirko, Tallala, Kafa in Damboa local government; Tumbus, shores of Lake Chad Basin, Yesu in Magumeri lga and Matelle in Malamfatori lga.
Most of the members of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists groups who surrendered to the military were mostly from the hideouts of the Tumbus of lake chad, Timbuktu Triangle in Southern Borno and some parts of the Sambisa forests where troops are doing massive cleansing operations since January 2022.
By Ibrahim Hassa-Wuyo
In Kaduna State, the Rijana and Katari forests are well known hideouts for bandits who had made the Kaduna-Abuja road so unsafe to travel. In recent times, terrorists of the Ansaru stock, reportedly used the forests to launch attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train, killing eight passengers, injuring many and kidnapping scores.
In the Birnin-Gwari axis, Kamuku and Kuduru forests have become dens for deadly criminals and terrorists who have killed hundreds of villagers while thousands have been displaced. The Kamuku and Kuduru forests are now no go areas as criminals have colonised the enclaves, imposing tax and other local levies on the few locals who chose to stay around the forest area. The Kamuku forest in Kaduna State is linked to Katsina, Niger, Zamfara and Kebbi states even though a large portion of the forest is situated within Kaduna’s Birnin Gwari Local Government Area.
Some of the deadliest attacks took place in Kudaru forest, West of Birnin-Gwari. In one of such incidents, bandit King pin Buharin Daji was killed while 11 soldiers were attacked and later killed.
BY UMAR Yusuf, Yola
In Adamawa state, the known location for criminal hideout is the Sambisa forest inhabited by the Boko Haram insurgents. Five local government areas in the Northern Senatorial district of the state share common border with the Sambisa forest. The local governments are Gombi, Madagali, Michika, Maiha and Mubi South. It is a known fact that in the remote areas of the local governments, the insurgents engage in buying and selling with the locals in their markets. Many residents even alleged that the insurgents visit the semi urban towns to buy their daily needs.
By Haruna Aliyu
Investigation by Vanguard has revealed that bandits hide in Unashi forest to launch their attacks on communities. Mallam Abdullahi Sulaiman, a local in the area said that bandits’ main route is through the east and north axis of Dansadau where they infiltrate Sakaba local government and Danko/Wasagu to attack Bangi, Kotonkoro, Macchitta Mesa villages in Kebbi.
According to him, “Dogo Gide the leader of the terrorists is taking refuge in Birnin Gwari village. I believe the security agencies know the hide
outs of these terrorists. Although the security agencies are doing their best, but we need more from them”.
In Zamfara state, the bandits have their camps in Totsari and Kenkashi forests under Mada district in Tsafe Local Government Area. Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji while on a clearance operation at Getawa, Ungwan Kade and Maigalma villages came in contact with armed bandits and engaged them forcing the bandits to abandon the camp.
Busha village is another hideout of the bandits from where bandit leader, Dogo Hamza operated from in Tsafe local government. Dogo Hamza and his criminal gang members had been terrorising the local government killing and abducting.
Dansadau, Kwiambana, Sububu, Dudufi
The air component of Operation Hadarin Daji had between August 2 and 6 2021 carried out intensive air strikes on bandits’ hideouts in the south of Dansadau town, north of Sububu forest and Dudufi village under Faru district in Maradun Local Government Area of the state.
Doumboru forest area is another terrorists’ location in Zamfara state. The troops in May 2020 stormed the hideout and killed no fewer than 30 bandits during the operation.
By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos – In Plateau State, criminal elements use the bushes around Kampany Zurak in Wase local government area, as well as the abandoned Pandam Wildlife Park in Qua’an Pan local government area as hideouts. For instance, the Emir of Wase acknowledged recently, that “50% of the landmass in Wase has been taken over by terrorists.” Again, residents of Qua’an Pan complain about the adverse activities of these elements to no avail.
Also, the hills in Riyom, Bassa, Barkin Ladi, and Jos East, among others are said to be homes to these unwanted strangers who hibernate there to cause havoc to citizens.
It would be recalled that the recent attack in Kanam, as the Chairman said was carried out by elements who infiltrate communities from the vast land donated for ranching in the State.
That stretch of land in the Garga district of Kanam links the Yankari Games Reserve in Bauchi State which is also linked to the dreaded Sambisa forest.
In Yobe state, terrorists operate from hideouts at Talala, Ajigin and Gaidam desert axis.