Troops neutralise 715 terrorists, rescue 465 kidnap victims, gunmen kill 22 in Zamfara 


Troops of the Nigerian Army eliminated a total of 715 terrorists and rescued 465 kidnap victims in ground and air operations across the country in the month of April, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said.

Director Defence Media Operation Major-General Edward Buba said this Thursday in Abuja while briefing journalists on the operations of the Armed Forces.

He also said the troops apprehended no fewer than 1,146 suspected criminals during ambushes, raids, fighting patrols and other covert operations within the same period.

General Buba said several enclaves of notable terrorist leaders and commanders like Nasanda, Babaru, Kamilu Buzaru, Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah and Mallam Ari, across the north-west were bombarded and destroyed.

Similarly, he said other terrorist leaders and commanders engaged by air strikes include that of Mallam Yadee in Mariga local government area of Niger state and Bello Turji’s camp in Kagara forest, located between Shinkafi in Zamfara state and Isa local government area of Sokoto State.

“All the surviving terrorist commanders and leaders are walking corpses as we would get them, sooner than later. The synchronised strikes between the ground and air forces during the period under review resulted in over 715 terrorists neutralised, arrested 1,146 persons and rescued 465 kidnapped hostages.

“Furthermore, troops recovered 937 assorted weapons, 23,034 assorted ammunitions and denied the oil theft of an estimated sum over N2 billion,” he explained.

In the North-east, the defence spokesperson said troops of Operation Hadin Kai conducted operations into Sambisa Forest, Timbuktu Triangle and the Tumbus around the Lake Chad Region within the month.

Buba said the operations led to the elimination of 248 terrorists, arrest of 422, and rescue of 163 kidnapped hostages while a total of 714 Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists and their families surrendered to troops.

According to him, the recovered items include 208 AK47 rifles, 34 fabricated and 45 dane guns, 18 assorted arms, 3,672 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 2,058 rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 422 assorted ammunitions.

In the North-central, Buba said operations conducted by troops of Operation Safe Haven in several hot spots neutralised 32 terrorists and violent extremists,  arrested 148 while 35 kidnap hostages were rescued.

Buba said the troops equally recovered 23 AK47 rifles, 19 fabricated guns, 93 assorted arms, 788 rounds of 7.62mm special, 451 rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 256 assorted ammunitions.

The defence spokesperson also said troops of Operation Whirl Stroke conducted operations in several criminal strongholds in April.

“Overall, troops neutralised 60 terrorists, arrested 99 suspects and rescued 57 kidnapped hostages and also recovered 40 AK47 rifles, 60 assorted arms, 917 rounds of 7.62mm special, 896 rounds of 7.62mm NATO and 331 assorted ammunitions,” he said.

…Kidnap victims killed after paid ransom

In a related development, a group of terrorists reportedly killed 22 kidnap victims from Makera village in Taketsaba district, Talata Mafara local government area of Zamfara state after collecting the a N27 million ransom from their families.

Blueprint’s findings revealed that the victims spent over one month in the bandit’s den.

A resident of the area, Malam Mohammed Bello Makera, in a telephone conversation, said the terrorists kidnapped 77 civilians including women, men and children, during the attack in the village in the month of March.

He stated that the criminals besieged the village at around 12:00am on the fateful day and began a house- to- house operation.

The resident said they demanded the sum of N10 million-one million for each person with two brand new motorcycles and 25 litres of fuel, but were paid the sum of N10million.

He added that the hoodlums also killed their chief imam while in captivity. 

“When they released four people on their way to be reunited with their relatives, they killed two men and released the remaining two women after collecting the sum of N10 million ransom,” he said. 

Makera further stated that additional N17million was also raised and given to the terrorists for the release of an additional set of the kidnapped victims.

He lamented that after collecting the ransom; the criminals killed 21 of the kidnap victims and threatened to kill the remaining women who were still in their captivity if additional money was not paid to them. 

“We are in critical situation now and we don’t have any additional money to pay for the release of our remaining people who are in their captivity,” he said.