By Mathew Dadiya and Gom Mirian, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari, Sunday authorized the commencement of a major military operation to wipe out bandits and kidnappers from his home state, Katsina State.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu in a statement, disclosed that “a major proactive operation by Special Forces, which details are being kept secret, is now in progress to replace the reactive strikes against insurgent camps.
According to the statement, to give a full effect to the exercise, a planning team is already in the State selecting targets and making preparations for the execution of the “unprecedented” operation.
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, who has been measured in issuing official statements on the oncoming exercise, briefed the President on the plan he intended to flag off shortly, Presidential spokesman said.
President Buhari, according to the Presidential aide, expressed sadness over the recent attacks in the state and extended his condolences to the families of those killed and prayed for the recovery of the injured.
The operation WILD STROKE of the Nigerian Military operating in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States said it has killed 2 Gana led criminal elements and arrested 7 members of the Bassa militia members in its recent operation.
The Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Major General John Enenche, made the disclosure in a statement issued to Daily asset on Sunday in Abuja.
The operation which is a combined team of Operation WHIRL STROKE, comprised of troops of sectors 2 deployed in Gbise, Zaki Biam in Benue State and Sector 4 from Taraba State was carried out on the hideout of the wanted notorious criminal popularly known as Gana in Mtan village in Utenge Council Ward of Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue State.
Enenche who said reports indicates that the wanted criminal (Gana) narrowly escaped death with gunshot wounds, said two of the gang members were killed, while other fled with various degrees of gunshot wounds during the operation.
The Coordinator also disclosed that 1 locally fabricated Mach gun, 6 locally made rifles, 2 locally fabricated cartridge guns, 1 Dane gun, 2 revolver pistols, 2 cartridge pistols, 27 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 2 motorcycles, 1 camouflage shirt, 1 generator set, 1 bag of gun powder and assorted charms were sized by the troops.
He added that Gana’s personal belongings as well as other items and thatched houses were destroyed by the troops.
According to him, troops of sector 3 deployed at ondori in Doma local government areas of Nasarawa state based on credible intelligence which indicates that a group of Bassa armed militia were planning to attack some Tiv villages over land disputes, arrested seven members at their camp located at kpelebewa village in Rukubi area of the state.
In Nasarawa state items recovered include; one (1) locally fabricated machine gun, Six (6) locally fabricated rifles, Two (2) locally fabricated cartridge guns, One (1) Dane gun, Two (2) revolver pistols, Two (2) Cartridge firing pistols, 57 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 29 rounds of 9mm ammunition, and 22 cartridges of ammunition.
Other items are One (1) dagger, poisoned bows and arrows, desert Camouflage head gears and pouch, Six (6) phone handsets and some charms.
Enenche said, the apprehended suspects are currently undergoing interrogation to be handed over to the Nigerian Police.
He said that in the interest of peace and National development, the operation would give itself no rest until criminals were flushed out of the three states.
“The Military High Command congratulates the Troops and requests the general public to continue to provide the Armed Forces with credible information to facilitate its operations in the Country.
Similarly, the Boko Haram Terrorists in the Sambisa Forest area of Borno State have been set in disarray as a result of massive air strikes conducted by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE on Friday at Alafa Yagayaga area of Borno State.
A statement by the Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, the operation was executed based on credible intelligence reports as well as series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions.
Adding that the report which indicated that the terrorists had upscaled their activities in the settlement by importing additional fighters and increasing their logistics stocks preparatory to attacks on troops’ locations and surrounding civilian settlements.
According to Enenche, the ATF dispatched an enhanced force package of attack aircraft and a surveillance platform to engage the location.
He said overhead the target area, significant activity of the terrorists was observed in different parts of the settlement.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets took turns in attacking the target area, neutralizing many BHTs as well as destroying their logistics facilities and other structures in successive passes, thereby further degrading their will to fight.
” The Armed Forces of Nigeria, operating in concert with other security agencies and stakeholders, will sustain the offensive against the enemies of our Great Nation.
Assured Nigerians that the Force will not relent until peace and normalcy are restored not only in the North East but also in every other troubled region of our beloved country.