Segun Awofadejo in Bauchi
The Commander, 33 Artillery Brigade Bauchi, Brigadier General Abraham Luka Dusu on Saturday said the Brigade has embarked on operations and search of forests in Bauchi State in order to flush out criminal elements, including fleeing Boko Haram members in the state.
Dusu who disclosed this while addressing journalists at one of the forests said aggressive operations are currently going on in Lame Forest in Toro Local Government Area and Burra Forest in Ningi Local Government Area of the State to clear them of terrorists who may be hiding there.
He said the Chief of Army Staff, General Yusuf Buratai, had directed the Brigade to carry out the operations after complaints by residents of the areas that they have been noticing movements of unidentified people with arms at the forests.
“Following many complaints and the information we received from residents that people carrying guns have been sighted in the forest or migrated to the state from Sambisa forest as a result of operations there. We have commenced operations in these forests and as I speak with you, operations are currently going on in Lame and Burra Forests of the state to clear them of all criminal elements.
“For the past two days operations by our officers and men have been going on in line with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff that the Brigade should carry out these operations to get rid of the criminals there.
“We are going to enter all the forests in the state and any other location within the state where there are reports of bandits, kidnappers and cattle rustlers. We have adequate troops and I will also tell you that we have air support to flush them out,” the Army Chief stated.
The Brigade Commander said the operations will be conducted in lame, Yankari, Balmore and Burra forest, which are very thick. He charged the locals and the local vigilante groups to remain calm and report any suspected case or movement of criminal elements to the authorities.
Dusu also informed journalists that the Nigerian Army had the support of other security agencies in the state in the efforts to rid the state of criminal elements saying “I met with the Commissioner of Police in the state and we discussed this issue and he gave me his word that they will give us the necessary support we may need.”
Senator representing Bauchi Central, Senator Hamma Misau recently raised the alarm that insurgents have set up a base in some forests in the State, calling on the federal government and the Chief of Army Staff to immediately intervene in the matter and make the state safer for the people.