Nigerians commend military’s sustained onslaught against terrorists

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that on assumption of office as the 39th COAS on June 22, 2023, Lagbaja expressed commitment to the decimation of terrorists and their enclaves, to restore the people’s confidence in the military and security agencies.

He had said, “My philosophy of command as the Chief of Army Staff is to transform the Nigerian Army into a well-trained, equipped, and highly effective force to fulfil our constitutional responsibilities in a joint environment”.

Impressed with Lagbaja’s achievements thus far, critical stakeholders have commended his leadership style, extolling the many sustained onslaught against terrorists across the country.

The respondents said it was commendable that the COAS had continued to march his words with action, with the resultant extermination of daredevil terrorists and decapitation of their strongholds in the last 12 months.

According to them, this is a testament that the renewed hope promised by Nigerians by the military hierarchy is indeed real.

NAN investigation shows the military troops remain consistent in the onslaught against terrorism and insurgency nationwide, with minimal casualties.

Some of the recorded successes by the military troops include the elimination of the once daredevil terrorist, Boderi Isyaku, and the notorious terrorist commander, Buharin Yadi.

Others included the capturing of terrorist enclaves, destruction of illegal refineries, recovery of several weapons and rescue of kidnapped victims among others.

The Minister of State for Defence, Dr Bello Muhammed Matawalle, commended the Nigerian Military for neutralising and bringing to an end the terror reign of Isyaku and his cohorts in Kaduna State.

Boderi, as he was simply known, had for nearly a decade propagated a reign of fear, death and destruction in Kaduna State and neighbouring Niger State.

NAN reports that the notorious bandit, insurgent and ruthless killer, Isyaku, was neutralised in a gun duel alongside some of his fighters, by troops of the Nigerian Military, around Bada/Riyawa general areas of Chikun and Igabi Local Government Areas (LGAs).

The minister’s commendation was convened in a statement by the ministry’s Director of Information and Public Relations, Henshaw Ogubike.

Matawalle, who was elated described the action of the military as commendable, saying it was a reassurance of President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to providing adequate security in every part of the country.

He said, “The bravery and professionalism of the Nigerian military involved are commendable and need to be sustained so that we can stem out insecurity from the country”.

The minister had also applauded the military’s efforts in the elimination of 286 terrorists and the arrest of 244 of them, 73 crude oil smugglers arrested and 122 kidnapped victims rescued in February,

He summed up the feat saying “the major breakthrough has been recorded in Nigeria’s fight against banditry and terrorism by his fall”.

Matawalle then charged other state actors to cooperate with the Federal Government in the fight against insurgency and terrorism.

He reiterated the Federal Government’s unflinching support and readiness to sustain cooperation towards eradicating terrorism in Nigeria.

Similarly, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Nuhu Ribadu, also lauded the military troops for the sustained successes in the ongoing fight against insecurity across the country.

Ribadu spoke in Abuja at the Chief of Defence Intelligence Annual Conference, which had the theme: ‘Leveraging Defence Diplomacy and Effective Regional Collaboration for Enhanced National Security’.

He said the armed forces under the current leadership had shown serious commitment to addressing the prevailing security challenges bedevilling the country, adding that there were positive changes and improvements both in and outside Nigeria.

“They have done an amazingly good job without talking and I believe that with the support and the resolve of the leadership that we have today in our country, things will only be better,” he said.

For the Minister of Defence, Alhaji Muhammed Badaru, he urged the Nigerian Defence Attachés and Advisers, deployed to different countries to leverage on collaboration to proffer solutions to some of the nation’s security challenges.

Badaru said that for any country’s defence strategy to succeed, it must recognise the critical role of diplomacy in reducing military mix as well as possible and shared understanding for enhanced national security.

Leveraging on such collaborative efforts, the different theatre troops have lived up to the challenge, recording an onslaught against terrorists.

Giving account of some of its recent operations, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, said terrorists’ camps, which were newly discovered, were acquired through Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR).

According to him, they were targeted and engaged with rockets and cannons.

He said the feedback had revealed that several of the terrorists, including some of the commanders were indeed neutralised as a result of the air strikes.

Buba said that a similar air interdiction was conducted on June 8, overhead a terrorists’ enclave in Safana LGA of Katsina State, following confirmatory ISR.

According to him, the Battle Damage Assessment revealed that several terrorists were eliminated and their structures destroyed.

He added that on June 6, the air component of Operation Whirl Punch conducted air interdiction on a senior terrorist commander enclave at Tsaunin Doka in Igabi LGA of Kaduna State.

According to him, battle damage assessment and feedback from locals revealed that several terrorists with high-profile commanders were eliminated and their logistics destroyed.

“Similarly, on the same day, confirmatory ISR indicated terrorist activities in a terrorists’ camp within Shiroro LGA of Niger, killing several terrorists,” he added.

In Delta, the Defence Headquarters also disclosed that troops of Operation Delta Safe, within one week discovered and destroyed 43 illegal refining sites and apprehended 32 suspected oil thieves.

Buba explained that troops had maintained momentum against the activities of crude oil thieves and recovered large quantities of stolen products.

He said the troops recovered over 700,000 metric tonnes of crude, 8,360 litres of stolen crude oil, 143,450 litres of illegally refined AGO, 1,100 litres of DPK and 18,750 litres of PMS.

He further said that the troops also discovered and destroyed 29 dugout pits, 22 boats and 26 storage tanks, among others.

He added that the troops apprehended 32 suspected oil thieves and other violent extremists and recovered 13 weapons and 442 assorted ammunition.

“Other items recovered include 66 cooking ovens, eight vehicles and 43 illegal refining sites among others.”

Buba said the troops also conducted raid operations and apprehended violent extremists/cultists in Uruan and Ovia North-East LGAs of Akwa Ibom, Edo as well as Onelga and Nembe LGAs of Rivers and Bayelsa.

Also commending the military, the Kaduna State Government, also confirmed that troops of Sector 6 Operation Whirl Punch killed terrorist kingpin, Buharin Yadi, along with dozens of his fighters.

The State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, confirmed that in a statement.

Aruwan said, “The infamous terrorist Buharin Yadi, one of the deadliest bandit leaders terrorising Northern Nigeria in the last decade, met his bitter end at the hands of security forces.

“The troops of Sector 6 Operation Whirl Punch rained down fire on the kingpin known as Buhari Alhaji Halidu (alias Buharin Yadi) and his cohorts, abruptly terminating their ignominious spell of terror.

“Halidu was neutralised in a fierce battle with the troops under the coordination of their Commander, General Officer Commanding 1 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Mayirenso Saraso.

“This took place around Idasu forest at the boundaries between Giwa Local Government Area(LGA) of Kaduna State and Sabuwa LGA of Katsina State.”

He said the troops began the covert operation in response to intelligence reports on terrorists’ movement from Samunaka and Saulawa areas of Katsina State.

“On advancing to Samunaka, the troops found the settlement destroyed and cattle killed, evidence of recent criminal activity by the bandits.

“A ferocious battle quickly followed, as approaching terrorists were pounded with artillery rounds at Hayin Almajiri,” he said.

Aruwan noted that the troops then fought bravely through an ambush, to attain their objective. “Initial assessments indicated that at least 36 bandits were eliminated in the engagement.

“it was eventually verified that one of those neutralised was Buharin Yadi.”

He explained that Yadi and his brigands under his command had been unleashing terror on citizens in the Kidandan/Galadimawa areas of Giwa LGA.

He named other areas that had been attacked by the fell terrorist to include Sabon Birni/Kerawa areas of Igabi LGA, communities near Sabuwa LGA of Katsina State, and indeed some parts of Niger and Zamfara State.

He said Yadi was involved in large-scale cattle rustling, arms trading and drug trafficking.

“He had led his gang in the pillaging of communities and the slaughter and kidnapping of thousands of citizens in Kaduna and neighbouring states.

“The merciless bandit was also known to have links with other deadly terrorist groups in the Northeast and Northwest.

“The breakthrough brings to an end a manhunt by security forces for this terrorist, which stretched more than five years.

“The news of his demise spread like wildfire, triggering massive relief and widespread celebrations among locals spanning Kaduna and Katsina States,“ he said.

Aruwan said Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna state, expressed his elation at the development, which he described as a pointer to the bravery, pro-activeness and sheer efficiency of the troops involved.

The Governor commended the GOC, Maj.- Gen Saraso for his sterling leadership, and lauded the troops for the comprehensive victory.

Gov. Sani reassured security forces in Kaduna State of his unflinching support and the continued collaborative stance of the Government.

“Members of the public are hereby informed that some of the terrorists sustained gunshot injuries during the encounter.

” Citizens in the general area and beyond are therefore enjoined not to render assistance (medical or otherwise) to individuals carrying suspicious injuries, but to immediately report such to security agencies,“ Aruwan said.

He said the Kaduna State Security Operations Room was available 24 hours a day to receive reports of this nature on the phone lines: 09034000060 and 08170189999.

Again, the Defence Headquarters, on June 13, disclosed that the air components of the operations had destroyed several terrorist camps operated by notorious terrorist commanders, Bello Turji’s and Halilu in Zamfara and Katsina States.

The army, in a post on its official X Handle, on June 16, said the terrorist was in transit to commit mayhem during the recent Eid-el Kabir celebration in Giwa LGA of Kaduna State.

It said the terrorist met his Waterloo when troops on patrol to Kidandan, a village in Giwa LGA, spotted him speeding off on a motorbike, in an attempt to evade the approaching patrol team.

According to the post, the vigilant troops swiftly pursued the terrorist, causing him to abandon his motorbike and flee into a nearby settlement.

“Undeterred, the troops continued to trail the fleeing terrorist until they successfully caught up and neutralised him, while frantically trying to escape into the bush, at the outskirts of the community.

“Upon searching the area, the troops recovered the abandoned motorbike, two bags containing corn flour, and a mobile phone from the neutralised terrorist.

“Further verification by operatives from the intelligence community confirmed the identity of the terrorist as one Daushe, a known cohort of Buharin Yadi, who had been recently neutralised by troops in the same area.”

Buba reassured citizens that “The military is on the ground and we are fighting. Ours is to fight the terrorists and destroy them.

“In this month alone, even yesterday, we lost nine personnel, which is a testament that we are working tirelessly to bring peace, secure the land and create a safe environment for the people.

“I will end this by saying that it is close to impossible to win this war without the support of the people because of the calibre of people involved in kidnapping in Zamfara,” he said.

Determined to sustain the high-level onslaught against terrorists, Lagbaja on June 15, announced that the 5,937 soldiers, who recently passed out from the Depot Nigeria Army in Zaria, would be deployed to fight banditry, cattle rustling and related crimes.

Lagbaja, who spoke at the passing out parade for the 86 regular recruit intake of the Depot Nigeria Army, in Zaria, noted that the new men would form part of the solution to numerous security challenges bedevilling the country.

“The fresh products passing out today will form part of the solution to the challenge of insurgency in the north-east, banditry and cattle rustling in the north-west.

“They will fight the farmers/herders clashes in the north-central, secessionist agitation and cultism in the south-east, militancy and vandalism of critical national assets and infrastructure in the south-south and south-west.”

To boost the troop’s morale, Lagbaja openly appreciated their exceptional gallantry.

And at the Chief of Army Staff Sallah Luncheon with Troops of the Operation Whirl Punch in Birnin Gwari LGA of Kaduna State on June 16, he said.

” Your efforts are crucial to our national security, and I assure you that your sacrifices will not go unnoticed.

“There is no doubt that the “Feast of Sacrifice,” as it is known, is one of the significant celebrations in the Islamíc calendar during which Muslims demonstrate their obedience to Allah by sacrificing animals.

” It has been a year of unquantifiable sacrifice in blood and treasure as we have lost gallant warriors and precious equipment to our ongoing fight against insurgency, terrorism, banditry, secessionist agitations, and oil-related economic crimes, amongst others.

“Our men have displayed uncommon courage and faith in our dear country in the face of grave danger and, like the good soldiers that they are, come out victorious for our nation.

“Many bear the badge of courage and bravery in the form of battle scars and deformities, while others are lucky to only have memories and stories to tell of their sacrifice to our beloved country, “ he said.

Lagbaja enjoined the Nigerian Army personnel and their family members to renew their commitment to personal sacrifice for the growth and development of our great country, Nigeria.

“This year’s Eid-el-Kabir particularly calls for introspection on how we have fared as individuals and an army.

“As it comes just six days to completing my one year in office as Chief of Army Staff, it is a period to reflect on the past year and show gratitude to God for the gift of life, and relative peace that we have been able to restore to most parts of our country, and above all, hope for a better Nigeria.’”

With Lagbaja’s encouraging words and the troops’ sustained high spirits, it is only hoped that critical stakeholders especially citizens, will also play their patriotic duties in supporting the fight against insurgency with credible information to all relevant security forces.

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