Combatant soldiers deployed to Zamfara and other neighbourhood States have arrested 18 armed bandits and one of their sponsors, as military troops took over forests in the North West Zone.The Army and Air force, in continuation with operations designed to mitigate banditry activities in Zamfara and other contiguous States, troops of Operation Sharan Daji invaded the hideout of the armed bandits, believed to have been terrorising inhabitants of Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and other states in the zone.
The soldiers engaged the bandits in a fierce battle at Kagara, Gando, Fankama, Fete and Dumburum forests where they inflicted serious casualty on the armed bandits and also set free about 40 victims of the kidnappers and cows.In a statement issued in Kaduna yesterday, the army pointed out that “troops under the Force Commander of Operation Sharan Daji, Major General Hakeem Oladapo Otiki, remain resolute to the mandate of tackling the menace of armed banditry and other forms of criminal activities in Zamfara.”
The statement, which was signed by the Acting Force Information Officer, Major Clement Abiade, stressed that the troops “are also determined to ensure that bandits do not establish sanctuaries in the contiguous states of Kebbi, Katsina and Sokoto.”According to him, with aggressive fighting patrols, “the troops also conduct day and night patrols deep into the forest areas to deny the bandits freedom of action, while building the confidence of the local population.”
Abiade added: “The intensity and redoubled efforts in the conduct of these military activities is being complemented by EX HARBIN KUNAMA III which commenced on April 1, 2019. These operations have achieved tremendous successes leading to the recovery of weapons, ammunitions and rustled animals in various parts.”
“During the period, the Air Component of Operation Sharan Daji carried out several Air strikes around Kagara, Gando, Fankama, Fete and Dumburum forests. These Forests provide sanctuaries and hideouts where kidnapped victims are often hidden. Please note that air strikes are precision activities designed to avoid collateral damage.”
“The troops also had several encounters with bandits during the period in focus and neutralised 35 bandits. A total of 18 suspected bandits informants, rustlers, kidnappers and logistics suppliers were arrested including one Muhammed Iso, a notorious kidnapper who was intercepted in Niger Republic through collaboration with the security forces in the country.”
“The bandit hails from Naagwalam in Katsina State and confessed to being a member of a five-man syndicate responsible for kidnapping and highway robbery in Batsari and Jibiya axis. It is instructive to state that the suspects arrested have been handed over to the Nigerian Police and other agencies for further investigation and possible prosecution.”
Abiade added: “It is significant to mention that subsequent operations in the forests led to the rescue of 40 abductees consisting of men, women and children from communities in Zamfara State. Troops of Operation Sharan Daji also recovered four AK47 rifles, two locally made pump action rifles, 17 rounds of 7.62mm (special) ammunitions and 20 cartridges. Additionally, 10 motorcycles, 94 rustled animals, assorted charms and two handsets were recovered during the period under review.”