By Nkasi Kolie
The Nigeria Army said its soldiers fighting the anti banditry war in the north west region of the country have killed 48 bandits and rescued 18 persons held hostage by them in the first phase of its newly launched Operation Tsare Mutane, to flush out the criminals.
Among the bandits killed are four top commanders:Yellow Mai-Bille, Sani Meli, Dan-Katsina and Sama’ila Bakajin Bari, while the bandits leader in the area Jummo sustained gunshot injuries.
Items recovered from the bandits include eight AK-47 rifles and one G3 rifle, one PKT and a Machine Gun. Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, who made this known in a statement said the soldiers in another operation destroyed several bandits’ camps around Gabiya, Bozaya and Mereri and the adjoining forests in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State and recovered 4,600 rounds of ammunition, two AK-103 rifles, eight AK-47 magazines, 1,628 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 54 rounds of PKM, one motorcycle and five Techno mobile phones.
Yerima’s statement reads: “Troops of 8 Division, Nigerian Army operating in Zamfara and adjoining states made tremendous progress in the ongoing fight against banditry and other violent crimes in the North West.
The Division had earlier launched “Operation Tsare Mutane” following the directives of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru for the division to stabilize the area in order to facilitate the return of socio-economic activities.
“The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the Division, Maj. Gen. Usman Yusuf launched the first phase of Operation Tsare Mutane which lasted from 23 March to April 2, 2021 in Maradun LGA of Zamfara State. The troops successfully cleared many bandits’ camps in Jaya, Kadaya and Bayan Ruwa amongst several others. The troops successfully neutralised 48 bandits while the bandits leader in the area “Jummo” sustained a gunshot wound on his leg. The troops rescued 18 kidnap victims from the bandits’ enclave. Moreover, eight AK-47 rifles and one G3 rifle, as well as one PKT and a Machine Gun were recovered from the Bandits.
“Meanwhile, in continuation with the second phase of Operation Tsare Mutane, troops sacked several other bandits’ camps around Gabiya, Bozaya and Mereri and the adjoining forests in Maru LGA of Zamfara State from April 19 to May 3, 2021. The areas which were heavily infested by bandits were successfully cleared by the highly spirited troops. Key bandits’ leaders including Yellow Mai-Bille, Sani Meli, Dan-Katsina and Sama’ila Bakajin Bari were neutralised in the process while the main leader “Nasanda” narrowly escaped with fatal injuries. Equally neutralised in the operation was one Isan Heshi who is a close ally of a notorious bandit called Nagala. Isan Heshi was the second in command to Heshi before he joined Nagala following Heshi’s death in an earlier operation.
“Items recovered in the second phase of Operation Tsare Mutane include 4,600 rounds of ammunition, two AK-103 rifles, eight AK-47 magazines, 1,628 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, fifty four rounds of PKM as well as one motorcycle and five Techno mobile phones.
“The COAS has congratulated the GOC and troops of 8 Division for the gains made so far and urged them to sustain their offensive operations until Zamfara and neighbouring States are stabilised. He further assured the GOC of his continuous support in achieving the overall objective of keeping the North West and the entire country free of terrorism, banditry and other violent crimes.