Nigerian army intensifies onslaught against bandits, kidnappers

A Nigerian policeman stands guard as All Progressives Congress (APC) party supporters march towards the Independent National Electoral Commission Office in Port Harcourt during a demonstration calling for the cancellation of the presidential election in the Rivers State on March 29, 2015. Thousands of supporters of Nigeria's main opposition party demonstrated in the southern state of Rivers, calling for the cancellation of elections locally because of alleged irregularities. AFP PHOTO / FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR (Photo by FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR / AFP)

Nigerian Army says it has recently stepped up anti-banditry operations in the North Central and western parts of the country, to protect lives and properties.

The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Iliyasu noted that armed bandits, kidnappers and other sundry criminals were finding it difficult to operate in the country due to the increased onslaught of the troops against them.

In the North Central region, he said, the troops had on March 6, responded to information confirming the presence of some bandits in Abinsi and Angbaye Islands in Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.

He said the troops subsequently conducted robust clearance operation along the axis, discovered and destroyed two makeshift camps where the bandits were hibernating on the Islands.

“The raid forced the armed bandits to flee the general area.

“Nevertheless, troops pursued the bandits until contact was broken along the River line separating Benue and Nassarawa States.

“In the aftermath of the encounter, troops recovered one AK 47 magazine with 22 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition,” he said.

Iliyasu disclosed that on March 8, troops of 8 Division on Operation “MESA” arrested two suspected armed herdsmen (names withheld), while others fled abandoning 110 cattle in Tara village of Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

He added that the same troops neutralised one notorious kidnap kingpin named Juliet in a cordon and search operation at Banji Village of Bodinga Local Government Area.

The spokesman revealed that in the early hours of March 9, troops deployed in Kebe came in contact with some bandits at Jigawa Village in Sokoto State.

Iliyasu added that six bandits were neutralised while three Dane guns and four motorcycles were recovered by the troops in the encounter.

“In the same vein, two other motorcycles were destroyed due to troops’ high volume of fire on the criminals.

“Regrettably, one gallant soldier was wounded in action during the encounter and has been evacuated to a military medical facility and he is in stable condition.

“Earlier on; in the early hours of March 6, troops of 8 Division at Zurmi LGA sprung a successful ambush against bandits at Gidan Jaja village.

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