Posted by News Express | 18 June 2020 | 847 times
By RONALD MUTUM
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operation, Major General John Enenche, has said avoiding collateral damage is a major constraint for the military, fighting bandits in the North West and North Central parts of the country.
He spoke on Wednesday in Abuja, during an interactive session at a press briefing on the regular update of major military operations across the country.
He said the bandits have knowledge of armed conflict and international humanitarian Laws. He explained that they leverage on this, knowing the military cannot fire on them when they mingle with the civilian populace.
He argued that, “it is not that the armed forces is weak, it is not that we don’t have the capacity to clear an area in a few minutes, but because of collateral damage.” He added that another major challenge is support from the civilian populace in the area in supplying the military with information about the bandits.
He also said between 11 to 18 June, the military killed 41 Boko Haram terrorists in counter attacks in the North East theatre Operation Lafiya Dole.
He said, “Significantly, between 11 – 18 June 2020, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole carried out several aggressive clearance operation at various locations within the theatre, including a daring counter-attack on Boko Haram terrorists who attempted to infiltrate Monguno town on 12 June 2020.”
“The counter attack by own troops at Monguno resulted in the neutralization of 41 terrorists and the recovery of a large cache of arms, ammunition and equipment,as well as the rescue of 33 captives, amongst others.”
He said, two soldiers were killed during the operations.
He said in the North-West, troops have continued to build on recent successes against armed bandits operating in the region following intensive ground and air assaults on their identified bases, with scores of bandits killed.
He said, “Within the period under review, the Land and Air components of Operations Hadarin Daji, Katsina and Accord, carried out aggressive Clearance Operations at several identified bandits’ enclaves.”
He said importantly was the attack on three camps operated by one “Adamu Aleiro” in a forest along Katsina – Zamfara boundary area. He noted that scores of bandits were killed during that encounter, with several others injured.
He said in the process, troops also apprehended three suspected bandits, including one Ibrahim
Isa clad in military camouflage while six kidnapped victims were rescued, amongst other recoveries.
He further said troops of Operation Whirl Stroke on 14 June apprehended one militia leader popularly known as Alhaji Audu from Olegeje community in Agatu Local Government Area of Benue State. He said in the course of the operation, arms and ammunition were recovered.
He explained that Alhaji Audu was suspected to be responsible for several attacks in the community and has been on the wanted list of security agencies for some time now. He said the arrest of Alhaji Audu has brought relative peace to the surrounding communities.
He also said troops have continue to degrade the activities of economic saboteurs through ongoing anti-illegal oil bunkering operations in the Niger Delta.
He said” Within the week under review, a total of five illegal refineries, 14 surface metal storage tanks, nine coolers, nine cooking ovens were confiscated and the site has been earmarked for swamp buggy operations”
He said about 2,640.5 barrels of stolen crude oil, 80,000 litres of Automotive Gas Oil and 43,000 liters of Premium Motor Spirit were seized.
He said troops also neutralized four militants and recovered arms and ammunition during clearance operations on pirates/militants’ camps at Ibokiri and New Jerusalem in Degema LGA of Rivers State.
He added that since the commencement of Operation Accord, several high-profile terrorists’ and bandits’ leaders have surrendered while many others have been neutralized and their equipment captured by troops.
He said “in the period under review, the AFN has neutralized 52 criminals across all theatres with the destruction and recovery of weapons.” (Daily Trust)
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