Lieutenant-General Farouk Yahaya, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, COAS, on Sunday revealed that the Nigeria army is not on a mission to arrest and imprison bandits.
This is as bandits look to be growing and spreading to more communities in states that are their strongholds in the northeast.
Even though the Nigeria military had over the past few months ramped up onslaught against bandits, these criminals seem to be finding ways around the efforts of the military as they have continued to attack and taking control of villages and communities in the northeast.
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Lieutenant-General Farouk Yahaya, while speaking on Sunday in Minna during an operational visit where he inaugurated some facilities for the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Headquarters, Nigerian Army, charged troops to eliminate suspected bandits and kidnappers and take their weapons.
“I am here in Minna today as part of my operational visits across the country to ginger our soldiers for the good job they are doing.
“I urge them to continue and to be more resolute and decisive in dealing with the criminals.
“When we engage criminals such as bandits and kidnappers, we are not looking for prisoners of war but to kill them and take their weapons.
“That is what we will continue to do until we stamp them out,’’ he said.
Mr. Yahaya said that some areas of challenges that were highlighted by the commanders would be taken care of by the military authority.
“The essence of the visit is to interact with the soldiers and identify some areas of concern, address them and ginger the officers and soldiers to do more,’’ he stressed.
The COAS reiterated that the army was doing its best with other security agencies to tackle insecurity across the country.
“We are addressing security challenges in collaboration with other security agencies and stakeholders.
“It is not easy to tackle security challenges but I must tell you that we are doing our best,’’ he said.
He noted that many of the criminals lived in the midst of responsible members of the public, hence the need to provide useful information to security agencies to tackle insecurity.
“There is a need for the public to give accurate and useful information to the security agencies to tackle insecurity.
“If we take security as everybody’s business, we will have more synergy and improve on what we are doing,’’ he said.
The COAS inaugurated TRADOC officers’ transit accommodation and arms store for TRADOC, and a nursery and primary school for the Nigerian Army Officers Wives’ Association.
He will also inaugurate a Doctrinal Development Conference for TRADOC in Minna on Monday.
The conference has “Capacity Building of the Nigerian Army in Doctrinal Development for Effective Training Operations in a Joint Environment” as its theme.
Nigeria Military Kills Scores Of Bandits In Air Onslaught
Airstrikes conducted on Saturday by aircraft of the Operation Hadarin Daji Air Component have led to the deaths of an undisclosed number of bandits.
It was gathered that the precision airstrikes, which were executed at Dangwandi and Tsakai areas of Isa local government area of Sokoto state, resulted in the elimination of key bandits’ leaders, and their foot soldiers.
The sustained aerial bombardments in parts of Zamfara state destroyed the logistics facilities and properties of the bandits.
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Local sources confirmed that bodies of neutralized bandits were seen all over the camps, just as the bandits’ means of economic sustenance were destroyed.
According to the sources, fleeing bandits were also trailed and neutralized by ground troops.
“Specifically, the locations of bandit kingpins, Bello Guda Turji, and his subordinate commander, Bello Buzu, along with their cohorts operating within Sokoto and some parts of Zamfara State have been struck by the military aircraft,” a military intelligence officer told PRNigeria.
“The successes being recorded especially through air strikes by NAF aircraft in the Northwest as well as in the North East Theatres of Operation is indicative that new strategies adopted by the Armed Forces of Nigeria are beginning to yield requisite results.
“Indeed, despite the loss of a senior military officer and some soldiers recently, it is clear that the military is living up to its promise to rid the north and the nation of all criminal elements and their activities,” the source further added.
Bandits Defy Military Onslaught To Continue Attacks As 80 People Are Abducted In One Week In Niger Community
In yet another invasion of Zagzaga community in Munya local government area of Niger state, the third within one week, 10 more villagers were abducted, bringing the total number of persons with the bandits to 80.
Seventy of the residents were abducted last week at different times in the local government area.
The incident happened Saturday with the bandits placing a N150 million ransom on the victims to regain their freedom.
A local source said: “The bandits returned to the community at about 8:00am riding on 10 motorcycles and started shooting anyhow after which they abducted ten of us.”
“They parked their motorcycles about 500 meters from the community, came on foot and began to select those that they wanted to take along. They were asking for the names of some particular people, suggesting that they were working with some informants.
“Later that day, the bandits reached out to the community leaders to demand for N150m for the release of the 70 people they abducted. They told us that the money was for the 70 people, including three nursing mothers that were freed because of their babies and a man who escaped from their den on Monday.
“They even told us to go and sell our yams and other farm produce to raise the money. They told us too that they decided not to disturb the community since April this year after dislodging the military from the area so as to enable us to farm very well to be able to pay the ransom.
“Their commander asked me that whether the community is not happy that they even allowed us to farm this year. He was even boasting that no amount of security could prevent them from invading any community they wanted to invade, so we should just go and look for the money,” the source further added.
According to him, the bandits said they allowed the villagers to farm during the last cropping season because of a day like this.
It was gathered that “people are now leaving Zagzaga in droves as a result of the activities of the bandits who have set up a camp at Sohon Kabula with not less than 30 motorcycles at their disposal.”