By Abiodun OBA
The troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria have eliminated 36 terrorists and apprehended no fewer than 163 suspected criminals and gunmen across theatres of operation in the last two weeks.
Giving an update on the operations of the armed forces at the bi-weekly news briefing on Thursday in Abuja, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba, disclosed that the troops arrested 137 gunmen, three gunrunners, two kidnappers, six collaborators, 15 perpetrators of oil theft, two kidnappers and six collaborators.
The defence spokesman said the troops also recovered the sum of N3.1 million, rescued 140 kidnapped hostages, recovered 37 weapons and 370 ammunition.
He listed the arms recovered as 16 AK47 rifles, six pump action guns, six Dane guns, three fabricated rifles, two locally made pistols, 199 rounds of 7.62mm special, six rounds of 7.62mm NATO, nine AK47 magazines and two G3 magazines.
“Also recovered were eight vehicles, 45 motorcycles, 32 mobile phones and 925 machetes, and 151 machete sharpeners.”
On oil theft, Buba said the troops discovered and destroyed 61 dugout pits, 32 wooden boats, 87 storage tanks, one speedboat, 32 cooking ovens, three outboard engines, one generator, two pumping machines and 36 illegal refining sites.
He added that 310,700 litres of stolen crude oil, 14,675 litres of Automotive Gas Oil, 49,000 Dual Purpose Kerosene and five litres of Premium Motor Spirit.
In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised nine terrorists and arrested 19 insurgents, six terrorist collaborators and couriers and rescued 12 hostages within the period.
He said a total of 313 terrorists comprising 12 male adults, 138 female adults and 162 children surrendered to troops at different locations within the theatres of operation.
According to him, the Air component attacked and degraded terrorists who were gathered at a hideout in Wulade.
In North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stoke conducted several operations in Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba, eliminating and apprehending criminals.
He said the troops of Op Safe Haven recovered two AK 47 rifles, three Dane guns, 15 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammo and a pair of military uniforms belonging to a dismissed soldier identified as Bashir Abass.
According to him, a preliminary investigation revealed that one of the recovered AK 47 rifles belongs to the dismissed soldier who is at large with two terrorist members.
“In the course of operations, troops recovered three AK47 rifles, three Dane guns, one locally fabricated pistol, one locally made gun, 23 rounds of 7.62mm special, one cartridge, three mobile phones, a pair of camouflage, jackknife.
“In the course of operation, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke recovered one pistol, 40 rounds of 7.62mm special, four rounds of 7.62mm NATO, two G3 magazines, one vehicle, one motorcycle, one mobile phone and a pair of black boots.
“Additionally, troops neutralised one terrorist, arrested 13 suspects and rescued nine kidnapped hostages,” he said.
In the North West, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji rescued kidnapped hostages and arrested some terrorists in Jibia, Matazu and Funtua Local Government Areas all in Katsina State.
He said that troops also foiled attacks on farmers, conducted several air interdictions and recovered arms and ammunition in Maru and Zurmi Local Government Areas of Zamfara.
He added that troops rescued 20 kidnapped hostages and recovered one AK47 rifle, four AK47 rifle magazines, two rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, one motorcycle and 80 livestock.
According to him, troops of Operation Whirl Punch arrested a bandit collaborator and logistics supply, rescued kidnapped hostages and recovered weapons and ammunition in Chikun and Kajuru Local Government Areas of Kaduna State.
“The air component conducted acquired target on terrorist camp at Hanawanka, a Boko Haram Terrorist camp in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State where terrorists were neutralised with bombs and rockets.
“The operation is one of several conducted by the air component.
“In the course of operation, the troops neutralised 11 terrorists and recovered two fabricated rifles, 16 rounds of 7.62mm special, three motorcycles and 80 livestock.
“Troops also arrested 16 terrorists, logistic suppliers, or collaborators and rescued two kidnapped hostages,” he added.