Nigerian troops fighting bandits

By Zubairu Idris

Troops belonging to Operation Sahel Sanity have neutralised 10 suspected bandits and arrested three suspected informants and collaborators to bandits in Katsina State, an official has said.

The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.-Gen. Benard Onyeuko, confirmed the development in a statement in Katsina on Tuesday.

Onyeuko stated that the troops received an intelligence report on Jan. 2 about the movement of suspected bandits.

He stated that the bandits were allegedly sighted, while crossing Garin-Inu in Batsari Local Government Area (LGA) and moving towards Bugaje in Jibiya axis of the state.

According to him, troops deployed in Batsari swiftly mobilised and laid ambush along the bandit’s route at Garin-garus.

He stated that the troops “neutralised five of them, while others escaped with varying degrees of injuries as indicated by traces of blood along their escape routes”.

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Onyeuko stated that the troops recovered three AK-47 rifles and two magazines loaded with 18 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.

He also stated that on Jan. 3, the troops deployed in Dan-Ali Village arrested a suspected bandits’ collaborator, Ya’u Tukur, at Sabon-gida Village in Kankara LGA of the state.

“During preliminary investigations, the suspect confessed to be working for a notorious gang of bandits, which had allegedly been behind the kidnapping and other nefarious crimes in the area.

“The troops are on the trail of other members of the notorious gang,” Onyeuko stated.

He also stated that on Jan. 4, troops at Maraban-Maigora arrested one Yahaya Aliyu, who was riding a new motorcycle.

Hs stated that the suspect admitted his involvement in kidnapping and claimed that he bought the motorcycle with his share of ransom paid by victims.

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Onyeuko also narrated how a fierce gunbattle ensued when troops deployed in Sabon-Layi came in contact with armed bandits at Unguwar-Rimi, while clearing bandits enclaves around Maigora area in Faskari.

He stated that the troops were swiftly reinforced by a team from Faskari and supported by Helicopter Gunship, “which delivered a lethal blow on the criminals, forcing them to withdraw in disarray into the forest due to the troop’s superior fire power”.

Onyeuko explained that during the exploitation phase of the operation, five corpses of neutralised bandits were found while several others were suspected to have escaped with gunshot wounds.

He, however, said that the troop suffered some casualties, including one death with two soldiers sustaining injuries during the encounter.

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He stated that the wounded soldiers were responding to treatment in a military medical facility.

Onyeuko assured the people of the entire Northwest of the army’s commitment to the safety of their lives and property.

He implored them to continue to avail the troops with timely and credible information that would assist them to carry out their operations efficiently. (NAN)