Troops neutralize 28 terrorists, arrest 92 others

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) on Thursday disclosed that thirty-six military personnel including soldiers and officers were killed during an ambush by bandits and the Nigerian Air force helicopter on a rescue mission that crashed in Niger state.

 The Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba, revealed this while answering questions from journalists during a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday.

  He said: Our troops entered into an ambush in the general area of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger state.  The ambush led to a firefight which resulted into the death of three officers,  22 soldiers while seven were wounded in action. 

“As a result of this,  there was a need for us to embark on a casualty  operation whereby the Nigerian Air Force helicopter was dispatched. 

“While that process was on and inbound to Kaduna, the helicopter crashed. 

“In the crash were 14 of the previously killed in-action personnel in that ambush,  seven of the previous wounded in-action personnel,  two pilots of the helicopter and two crew members.  One thing is for sure,  no one or group would strike at our troops without injurious consequences,” he said.

 When asked about the cause of the helicopter crash, he said that an investigation is still underway to determine the cause and urged citizens to be wary of propaganda by terrorists and remain patriotic.

Speaking earlier during the briefing, Buba said troops deployed on various operations across the country neutralized 28 terrorists and arrested 92 others.

 He also said 6 gunrunners, 3 kidnappers, 6 terrorists collaborators, 7 perpetrators of oil theft were also arrested in different theatres of operations.

“Troops also rescued 82 kidnapped hostages and denied oil theft crude worth the sum of Eight Hundred and Seventy-Six Million, Four Hundred and Fifty-One Thousand Eight Hundred Naira (N876,451,800.00) only,” he added.

The defence spokesperson also said troops recovered 108 assorted weapons  and 564 ammunition.

He gave the breakdown of the arms and ammunition as follows: “22 AK47 rifles, one PKT gun, 6 pump action guns, 4 dane guns, one fabricated rifle, one galil ace rifle, one RGP bomb, one RPG tube, 44 hand grenades.”

Others include “322 rounds of 7.62mm special, 63 rounds of 12.7mm ammo, 12 rounds of 5.6mm ammo, 33 AK47 magazines, one empty case of 7.62mm special and 3 empty magazines. Other items include; 14 motorcycles, 16 mobile phones, 3 motorolla radio, one boafeng radio, 2 motorcycle tyres, 5 touch lights, 2 solar panels, 104 livestock.”

Speaking further, he said troops of Operation Delta Safe in the Niger Delta area discovered and destroyed 36 dugout pits, 62 wooden boats, 73 storage tanks, one vehicle and 75 cooking ovens.

Others include; 4 pumping machine, 5 outboard engine and 33 illegal refining sites.

“Furthermore, troops recovered 1,166,900 litres of stolen crude oil, 1,491,250 litres of illegally refined AGO, 54,750 litres of DPK and 800 litres of PMS,” he said.

He assured that the military is strategically deployed across the country to conduct operations aimed at curtailing the activities of violent extremist groups fomenting insecurity in the country.

“To this end, troops will continue to respond with overwhelming military force against any group that threatens the safety of citizens and own forces.

“The men and women of the armed forces will continue to put themselves in harms ways, time and time again, to protect our great nation,” he said.