The Defence Headquarter says the military in its continued onslaught against armed banditry and cattle rustling, killed 25 bandits and arrested 155 others in the Northwest Zone of the country.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, John Enenche said this while briefing newsmen on update of the military operations across the country on Thursday in Abuja.
Mr Enenche, who said that the feat was recorded in August, added that the military also within the period recovered a large cache of arms and ammunition while over 1000 livestocks were recovered in the zone.
According to him, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI have continued to record significant successes against the armed bandits in the North West Zone of the country.
“For the month of August, troops have continued to exhibit continued resilience in the fight against armed banditry, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes in the zone.
“In one of the feats recorded, troops of operation SAHEL SANITY deployed at Daki Takwas on Aug. 20, intercepted a Toyota Corolla car with Registration Number. DAL 41 MT.
“After a diligent search of the vehicle, troops discovered 11 locally made rifles and 150 live cartridges concealed in different parts of the vehicle,” he said.
According to him, preliminary investigation reveals that the dangerous cargo was heading to Kofar Dinya in Bukkuyum Local Government Area, LGA, of Zamfara State, while five men were arrested in connection with the illegal firearms.
He said that a repentant bandit leader named Bornon Kejo willingly surrendered to troops and submitted two AK-47 Rifles and two AK 47 Rifle magazines at Zurmi in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara State.
Mr Enenche, who said that efforts were ongoing to recover more weapons, encouraged other criminals to surrender and embrace peace.
“Troops on Aug. 23, conducted a well-coordinated intelligence-based operation leading to the raid of an illegal mining site located along Gadan Zaima – Zuru road in Bukuyyum LGA which also serves as bandits’ hideout.
“During the operation, 150 suspects were arrested and arms and ammunition were recovered,” he said.
Mr Enenche said investigations revealed that aside from sabotaging the nation’s economy, banditry was being financed through illegal mining activities.
“Similarly, the troops on fighting patrol reportedly encountered three bandits on motorcycles around Maigalma village in Anka LGA of Zamfara state while attempting to attack innocent residents.
“During the encounter, one of the bandits was neutralized while others escaped. Troops recovered one AK-47 Rifle, one AK 47 Rifle magazine loaded with five rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and two motorcycles from the fleeing bandits.
“This is in addition to the neutralization of not fewer than 20 armed bandits within the month of August in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto States,” he said.
He said that the troop also intercepted seven trucks loaded with cattle suspected to have been rustled along Jibia – Katsina road and Gusau – Zaria road respectively between Aug. 19 and Aug. 20.
He said that the recovered cattle and suspects were handed over to the Katsina State Police Command and Zamfara State Association of Rustled Animals for further action.
“Within the period, a total of 155 bandits were arrested, no fewer than 25 armed bandits killed and over 1000 livestock were recovered in this zone of the country.
“These successes recorded within the period are evident of the troop’s resolve, doggedness and determination to end the security challenges in the North-West zone.
“Presently, farming and economic activities have picked up in the zone. The general public is hereby encouraged to provide timely and actionable intelligence that will assist the troops in the operation,” he said.
He said that the military high command commended all the gallant troops of the armed forces and personnel of other security agencies for the feat recorded in the various operations across the country.
“Troops are further encouraged to remain determined and to sustain the tempo in curtailing the activities of terrorists, armed bandits and other criminals.
“The High Command of the Armed Forces also reassures the general public of its unwavering commitment to securing the country for all human activities to strive.
“Members of the general public are, as always, enjoined to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the nearest military and other security agencies location for prompt and effective action,” he said.