1. Gentlemen of the Press, you are welcome once again to today’s media operation updates on the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s operational activities across the Country. Today’s brief will highlight our operational efforts and achievements in the various theatres of operations between 18 and 30 June 2021. Within the period under review, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies conducted various land, maritime and air operations. These operations yielded attendant successes in the various theatres across the Country.
OPERATION HADARIN DAJI
2. Troops of operation HADARIN DAJI and other security agencies conducting operations in the North West Zone executed series of land and air operations concurrently between 18 and 30 June 2021. These include raid, ambush, cordon and search, rescue and clearance operations. Troops also responded to distress calls within the period. Likewise, the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted several air operations such as aerial patrol, Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance and air interdiction missions.
3. Following credible intelligence report on criminals’ activities, troops simultaneously conducted these operations with zeal and zest in different locations of this theatre of operation. The operations were conducted on bandits and kidnappers’ hideouts as well as against drug peddlers at Gusau – Magami Road in Gusau LGA of Zamfara State; Makuku in Sakaba LGA of Kebbi State; as well as Batsari and Jibia LGAs in Katsina State. Other locations include Unguwar Kade village in Tsafe LGA and Bingi village in Bungudu LGA of Zamfara State. The operations led to the repelling and arrest of kidnappers and drug peddlers who confessed to supplying illicit drugs to miners as well as other criminal elements. The operations also led to the neutralization of some armed bandits; peaceful resolution of farmers/herders’ clashes; recovery of arms and ammunition as well as recovery of rustled livestock. The operations also resulted in the rescue of kidnap victims in various locations including a teacher and some students kidnapped at the Federal Government College in Birnin Yauri, Kebbi State as well as arrest and rescue of some trucks of rustled livestocks in different locations of the theatre. Some gunrunners and bandits logistics suppliers, including one Lawali Na Habu was also intercepted with trucks loaded with large quantities of AGO at Tangaza LGA of Sokoto State and one Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, a wanted notorious bandit was also arrested.
4. The Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI also conducted series of air operations, provided Close Air Support for ground troops and dominated the air space within the period. These involved Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions and other air patrols as well as air interdiction missions. On the whole, troops have continued to dominate the Operation HADARIN DAJI theatre of operations with aggressive fighting and confidence building patrols to reassure citizens of the commitment of AFN to end all of form criminalities in the Zone.
OPERATION HADIN KAI
5. Between 18 and 30 June 2021, troops of Operation HADIN KAI in the North East Zone simultaneously conducted several land and air operations. These were clearance operations and aggressive fighting patrols to deny terrorists freedom of movement at different locations. Similarly, troops conducted ambush operations as well as responded to distress calls, repelled BHT elements attacks on troops’ locations and dominated the theatre of operations. Equally, the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI conducted series of Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance and air interdiction missions to reveal and destroy terrorists’ enclaves as well as their logistic supplies and equipment. Within the period, troops consistently struck BHT/ISWAP strongholds throughout the theatre of operation. Some of the feats were achieved at Bula Village in Yobe State and Banki Town in Borno State on 27 and 28 June 2021 when troops repelled terrorists’ attacks. Troops also conducted offensive deep penetration operations into villages of the Timbuktu Triangle within the period. During the offensives, several terrorists were killed and many equipment and weapons were captured. A total of 73 BHT were killed with 44 AK 47 rifles, 2 PKT, 7 Ant Aircraft guns, 7 gun trucks, several ammunition of different calibre as well as weapon cleaning materials, clothing, blankets, foodstuffs, vehicles, generators, IED materials, religious scripts and other items were recovered in the process. In another development on 27 June, a total of 55 escapees from terrorists’ camps comprising 15 adult males, 12 adult females and 27 children surrendered to own troops at Darajemel in Borno State.
6. Another feat was achieved when on 27 June 2021, the Air Component of Operation HADIN KAI, in coordinated multiple airstrikes, destroyed some terrorists’ commander’s strongholds at the Lake Chad axis of Borno State. The air strikes were targeted at various terrorists’ camps in Sabon Tumbu, Jibularam and Kwalaram Towns in the State. During the air operations, the spiritual base and training camps of the terrorists in the North East part of Borno State and the fringes of Lake Chad were destroyed by air bombardments. These came on the heels of credible intelligence report which revealed that, some top ISWAP/BHT commanders were holding a meeting at the said locations. Consequently, the Air Component mobilized with force packages of NAF platforms and launched attacks on the locations.
OPERATION SAFE HAVEN
7. The activities of troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN between 18 and 30 June 2021 were characterized with both kinetic and non-kinetic operations. Within the period, troops simultaneously conducted series of clearance, ambush and raid operations in different locations of the Zone. Additionally, troops engaged in fighting patrols and responded to distress calls as well as carried out extensive air operations. During the operations, troops had contact and engaged criminal elements in some cases and subdued them with own superior firepower. Operation SAFE HAVEN also engaged in non-kinetic operations by holding peace and security meetings with various community and youth leaders as well as other stakeholders. These operations were executed against bandits and other criminal elements’ enclaves in communities at Jos South LGA and Gidan Daabat along Lafia – Shendam Road in Plateau State. Other were conducted at Kadunu Forest, Kasai and Naphan villages in Barkin Ladi LGA, as well as Barkin Kaya in Wase LGA of Plateau State. In the course of the operations, troops neutralized scores of armed bandits and armed herdsmen, arrested or apprehended bandits’ informants, gunrunners, political thugs and kidnappers. Troops also rescued kidnap victims as well as recovered hoards of livestock and assorted arms and ammunition within the period.
8. Furthermore, troops held multiple security and peace meetings with youth/community leaders as well as stakeholders at Agwatyap Place in Zango Kataf LGA of Kaduna State; Wase Emir’s Palace in Wase LGA; Tenti Area Command in Bokkos LGA; Barkin Ladi LGA Headquarters as well as Jos South LGA in Plateau State. The meetings were to sensitize stakeholders on the need to embrace peace and pave way for peaceful coexistence amongst them. Issues discussed during the meetings were centred on measures required to curtail farm destruction, night and underage grazing, livestock rustling, farm encroachment as well as other security challenges. The meeting also discussed on how to proffer solutions to tackle the incessant isolated killings and kidnappings in the various areas. Troops continue to dominate the theatre of operations with constant aggressive fighting and aerial patrols to deny criminals freedom of action.
OPERATION WHIRL STROKE
9. Troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE between 18 and 30 June 2021, sustained their operational tempo within its area of operation. Within the period, troops engaged in both kinetic and non-kinetic operations ranging from fighting and confidence building patrols, raid, clearance as well as cordon and search operations and responded to distress calls.
10. Troops conducted clearance operations at some armed herdsmen, bandits’ enclaves and kidnappers’ hideouts at Egba Village in Agatu LGA, Tse Ndever in Mbayongo Council Ward and Gborgbor Village in Katsina Ala LGA. Other locations includes; Dyom Village and Saeyongo Village in Utange Council Ward; Katsina Ala and Donto Village in Otukpo LGA of Benue State. The operations resulted in the neutralization of scores of armed bandits, gang members and other criminal elements. It also resulted in the recovery of caches of arms and ammunition including several AK-47 and FN rifles, assorted rounds of different calibers of ammunition and rescue of large numbers of rustled livestock. In addition, troops successfully quelled crisis between the Ezza Tribe in Odoke Ulanyi Council Ward in Ado LGA of Benue State and Effium Tribe in Akparata in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State.
11. Operation WHIRL STROKE also held joint security meetings with other security agencies and stakeholders at the Government Lodge in Takum LGA of Taraba State, with the Governor and other Government officials in attendance. Issues discussed at the meeting included; cross border clashes, kidnapping, cattle rustling and constant attacks on communities by the Azonto led militiamen as well as armed herdsmen activities in the area. Consequently, stakeholders embraced the initiatives and agreed to give peace a chance. Troops have continued to sustain land and air patrols in the general area which encouraged more displaced locals to return to their homes.
OPERATIONS WHIRL PUNCH AND THUNDER STRIKE
12. Troops of Operations WHIRL PUNCH and THUNDER STRIKE have remained resolute within the period under review. Between 18 and 30 June 2021, troops in conjunction with other security agencies conducted and executed several land and air operations that yielded attendant successes. These included raid, rescue and ambush operations, land and aerial patrols as well response to distress calls. These were executed on the heels of credible intelligence reports on criminal activities in the area. These operations were conducted at Kankomi Village in Kachia LGA, along Jaka Da Rabi-Rugan Wakili Junction in Chikun LGA and Angwan Rukuba Mariri in Lere LGA of Kaduna State as well Kugiya Area of Bukuru in Jos South LGA of Plateau State. During the operations, scores of criminal elements including, Mr Rotji Yowel (aka Castro) and Mr Manji Yamani alongside their cohorts as well as some armed herdsmen were arrested. Relatedly, troops swiftly intervened and rescued kidnap victims on various occasions and in the course of the operations, caches of AK-47 rifles, Dane guns and ammunition were recovered and hoards of livestock rescued.
13. Furthermore, troops of Operations WHIRL PUNCH and THUNDER STRIKE within the period in focus, held security and peace meetings with Fulani Community leaders and Miyetti Allah Excos from Zango Urban in Zango Kataf LGA as well as other stakeholders at Kafanchan and Dangwa Village in Jama’a LGA in Kaduna State. The meetings were aimed at sensitizing the leaders on the need to take responsibility on security in their respective areas and build peace amongst them. Issues discussed were centred on the incessant farm encroachment and measures to curtail farm destruction, proliferation of prohibited firearms and attacks on innocent people amongst others issues.
OPERATION DELTA SAFE
14. Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE within the period conducted several operations to secure oil pipelines and other critical infrastructures to deny economic saboteurs and prevent security breach. These included sustained anti-crude oil theft, anti-illegal oil bunkering, anti-smuggling and anti-militancy operations. These operations led to the deactivation of illegal oil refining sites and disconnection of illegal oil pipelines. Troops also arrested several criminal elements, intercepted and confiscated large quantities of contraband vessels and items as well as recovered weapons and stolen items between 18 and 30 June. These operations were conducted at Sara Creek in Warri South West LGA and Ikpoba Community in Okha LGA of Delta State. Operations were also conducted on a compound at Lagos bus stop by Railway Station in Port Harcourt; Jokri, Opuadakiri and Jombosco areas; as well as Asapama Creek and Kaa Community Market in Khana LGA of Rivers State.
15. During the operations, several illegal oil refining units with ovens, metal storage tanks, coffer dams and dugout pits were deactivated, while large quantities of illegally refined AGO and stolen crude oil were recovered. Troops also arrested kidnappers and other persons along with several trucks laden with large quantities of illegally refined oil products in tanks and nylon sacks. On the whole, troops remained on high alert to effectively respond to threats and deter any form of unpredictable criminal activities in the theatre of operation within the period.
16. Operation AWATSE operational activities within the period involved sustained routine patrols to forestall activities of vandals on NNPC pipelines at Gaun, Akute, Wawa 1 and 2 and Mabgero areas. Additionally, troops carried out standing patrols and raid operations at strategic areas in the Zone including Majidun area, during which one Mr Ibrahim Musa, an ISWAP member was arrested at No 31 Abartura Street in Sango-Ota, Ogun State. Intelligence report revealed that Ibrahim was on a mission to Lagos to acquire certain items for ISWAP’s operations in Maiduguri. In another development, own troops acting on intelligence report on ongoing illegal oil bunkering activity at Alimosho NNPC pipeline, arrested one Mr Oyeshola Saheed acting as the illegal bunkerers’ supervisor. However, he named one Mr Akanbi as the sponsor and financier of the illegal bunkering activities in the area. Both vehicles and equipment used for their operations were recovered and handed over to appropriate agency for necessary action.
17. On our non-kinetic engagement within the period under review; it may be recalled that, on 24 June 2021, the Chief of Defence Staff, General LEO Irabor met with retired senior military officers from the Zone to discuss ways out of the current security challenges in the Country. The interaction was part of efforts aimed at tracing root causes of security challenges in the Country and to tap from the wealth of experience and knowledge of the retired officers and other stakeholders. The CDS said that the Armed Forces of Nigeria will leverage the wealth of experience of the retired officers for the betterment of the Region and Nigeria in general. He affirmed that the military had been reassessing its operational engagement on regular basis to improve the security of the Country. In the same vein, the CDS has called on Nigerians to be more united for the strength and progress of the Country. He made this call in Ibadan while unveiling Nigeria’s biggest flag, which covers an area of 3,275.6 square metres; a length of 75.3 metres and a width of 43.5 metres. The new flag was facilitated by Mr Babajide Ogunsanwo. The designer of the Nigerian flag, Pa Taiwo Akinkumi was in attendance.
18. Furthermore, on Civil Military Cooperation activities, the Defence Headquarters organized a 3 day skill acquisition training for veterans in Gombe from 23 – 25 Jun 21. This is sequel to the CDS directives to train retired military veterans in various skills to enable them engage in productive ventures rather than be tempted to avail their military skills to underserving elements. The exercise which was hitch free was conducted in collaboration with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council and the Small and Medium Development Agency.
19. Ladies and gentlemen, once again, we assure Nigerians that the Armed Forces of Nigeria will not relent in its effort to fight all forms of criminalities until relative peace is returned to our dear Country. We will continue to intensify our operational efforts to deny criminals freedom of operation and will remain resolute to take decisive and adequate actions to abate all forms of criminalities and other vices in the Country. The Military High Command lauds the efforts of the troops for keeping up the tempo and encourages the general public to support our efforts by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements.
20. Once again, I thank you and God bless.
Defence Media Operation
1 July 2021