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Military neutralises 1,927 terrorists, rescues 3,831 civilians

By Maureen Ikpeama

Federal Government, on Thursday, said the Nigerian military in 2021, neutralised  over 1,927 terrorists and bandits while 3,831 civilians were rescued in various operations in the country.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Thursday in a briefing to showcase the achievements of the Muhammadu Buhari Administration in 2021.

He added that more than 22,000 terrorists including their families surrendered in the North-East Zone within the year.

 The minister, who identified insecurity as the biggest challenge of the administration in the outgoing year, said that the military had continued to live up to its billing.

He said to keep the country safe, the Armed Forces of Nigeria had set up various operations across the country including the Joint Task Force in the North East, tagged Operation Hadin Kai.

According to him, with a combination of kinetic and non-kinetic operations, more than 1,000 terrorists were neutralised in the North East while 2000 civilians were rescued by operation Hadin Kai.

He said many arms and ammunition were recovered in addition to destruction of several IED/bomb making factories of the ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists.

Mohammed said under Operation Hadarin Daji in the North West Zone, the conduct of offensive clearance operations, raids and air operations resulted in the neutralisation of no fewer than 427 bandits.

He added that 257 bandits were arrested, 897 civilians rescued while 3,087 livestock were rescued in the zone.

“Similarly, Operation Whirl Punch covering parts of Kaduna neutralised about 215 bandits, arrested 133 bandits, rescued 296

civilians and recovered 136 livestock.

“Operation Thunder Strike neutralised 36 bandits, arrested 74, rescued 296 civilians and recovered 136 livestock.

“In the North Central, raids and clearance operations conducted by Operation Safe Haven neutralised 91 criminal elements, arrested 155 suspects, rescued 159 civilians and recovered 3,259 livestock.

“For its part, Operation Whirl Stroke neutralised 158 criminals, arrested 151 suspects and rescued 183 civilians,’’ he said.

The minister said the effectiveness of the military was enhanced by the leadership provided by President Buhari and the unwavering commitment of the armed forces and its leadership.

He said the procurement of modern platforms for the armed forces had also gone a long way in raising the level of their operational readiness and efficiency.

“During the period under review, the Nigerian Army procured 160 MRAPS, 150 trucks and 60 APCs to improve its equipment holding.

“Various kits were provided for troops in addition to the provision of accommodation for troops and the recruitment of over 10,000 personnel into the army,’’ he said.

The minister said the Nigerian Navy, for its part, commissioned the FALCON EYE Maritime Domain Awareness Capability.

He said the third locally-built Seaward Defence Boat, one helicopter, four inshore patrol boats and 90 Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats were also commissioned while over 1,500 personnel were recruited into the Navy during the year.

Mohammed said the Nigerian Air Force took delivery of 12 Super Tucanos and three JF-17 Thunder Fighter Aircraft and other platforms with which it conducted several Air interdictions.

He said the Air Force also provided close air support to ground troops and destroyed several illegal structures and equipment belonging to terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements.

The minister said the Armed Forces also contributed immensely to international peace and security efforts.

Specifically, he said the Armed Forces participated in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation

Mission in Mali and the regional initiative, ECOWAS Military Intervention in The Gambia.

The minister assured that the military would not rest on its oars in fulfillment of its constitutional duties, to address the myriad of evolving contemporary threats, particularly ahead of the 2023 elections.

Also, about 1,520 illegal refineries were destroyed while 755 illegal oil bunkerers were arrested by men of the Operation Delta Safe in the South-South region in 2021.

Mohammed disclosed that 5,315 storage facilities were confiscated and 617 boats impounded amongst other items from the bunkerers.

“Additionally, about 74,297,425 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK), 41,971,693 litres of crude oil and 88,350 litres of PMS were recovered.

“Furthermore, 174 trucks and 13 vessels were impounded while 153 assorted weapons recovered,’’ he said.

In the South West region, the minister said patrols and clearance operations by troops of Operation AWATSE led to the arrest of 46 persons for various criminal acts.

He added that several vehicles, jerricans, motorcycles and electricity generators used for illegal bunkering were seized.

Mohammed also disclosed that the implementation of the community policing initiative of the current administration had led to the training of 25,000 constabularies in several police colleges across the country.

He said the successful officers who were trained on basic police duties, modern intelligence gathering techniques, rule of law among others were deployed to their local governments.

The minister said the deployed officers would aid in intelligence gathering and improve police visibility in their communities.

“Also, in an effort to improve the police/citizens ratio, 418 cadet officers of Regular Course 3 were successfully graduated in

June 2021 and deployed into the operational asset of the Nigeria Police Force.

“Through the Police Trust Fund, 200 Buffalo branded vehicles, bulletproof vests and protective helmets were procured.

“Also procured were drugs and medical equipment as well as arms and ammunition, riot control equipment, and combat equipment for the Police Special Weapon and Tactical Squad (SWAT),’’ he said.

The minister said the Ministry of Police Affairs had also entered into a contract agreement for the supply of police Anti Riot Equipment with Poly Technology of China through a government-to-government arrangement.

He said the equipment, which cost $44 million, would go a long way in boosting the capacity of the police to control civil unrest in the most efficient and civil manner.

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