No fewer than 864 kidnapped victims were rescued by troops across the country between March 18 and December 30, 2020, the Defence Headquarters has said.
It also revealed that 2,403 insurgents and bandits were killed during the period, while 1,910 criminal elements were arrested and a large cache of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered.
Giving a summary of the successes recorded by troops during various internal security operations nationwide at a briefing in Abuja on Thursday, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, said a total of 5,281 livestock, 6,951 rounds of ammunition and 120 assorted rifles were recovered from bandits in the North-West zone.
He explained that a total of 455 kidnapped victims were rescued and 473 bandits killed in action, adding that 461 arrests were made, while N6,365,550 was recovered from bandits and their informants in the zone.
Enenche also reiterated that the military rescued the 344 students of the Government Science Secondary School Kankara as well as the Islamiya children, in Katsina State.
But when asked if the masterminds were arrested, he said, “Please, don’t bother me with that,” describing the question as mischievous.
In the North-East, the DHQ disclosed that 200 kidnapped victims were rescued by troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole, noting that 1,385 rounds of ammunition, 45 grenades as well as 95 assorted rifles were recovered from Boko Haram fighters.
Also, several gun trucks were captured, while some others were destroyed during airstrikes.
“Equally, 1,805 insurgents, including commanders, were killed by the troops aside scores killed by in raids/attacks. Additionally, within the period, a total of 79 arrests were made, including high-value targets,” the military said.
The DHQ spokesman added that 130 kidnapped victims were rescued and 105 assorted rifles, as well as 513 rounds of ammunition and 1,055 rustled cattle were recovered from bandits and other criminal elements in the North-Central by troops of the Operations Safe Haven, Whirl Stroke and Thunder Strike.
In the South-South, Enenche said the armed forces, working with other security agencies, impounded 8.830 million litres of stolen diesel and 33.516 million litres of kerosene, while 185 illegal refining sites, 85 dugout pits and 163 metal storage tanks were immobilised by the troops of Operation Delta Safe.
Similarly, troops of the Operation Awatse in the South-West were said to have impounded a total of 10.458 million litres of petroleum, 15,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 345,000 litres of stolen diesel.
They also recovered 3,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles in the zone during the period.
Meanwhile, the air component of the Operation Thunder Strike is said to have killed several bandits terrorising the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan, who stated this on Thursday, said some rustled cattle were affected during the raid in some locations in the area.
According to him, the air component of the operation engaged the bandits and subsequently neutralised several of them, with some of the cattle also affected at the Kuduru Forest located between the Birnin Gwari and Igabi local government areas of the state.
Aruwan said, “The military has neutralised several bandits in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area as the Kaduna State Government has been informed in an operational feedback.
“In the feedback, some rustled cattle were affected following an air offensive by the air component of Operation Thunder Strike, a Defence Headquarters’ response to banditry in some locations in the state.
“According to the report, while on aggressive fighting patrol, the air platform after flying over several locations in the Giwa and Igabi local government areas, sighted bandits with several herds of cattle at a location northwest of the Kuduru Forest in the Birnin Gwari Local Government Area.
“The air platform engaged the bandits and subsequently neutralised several of them, with some of the cattle also affected.”