Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The military high command yesterday warned war commanders against acts of sabotage and cowardice ahead of the deployment of new weapons, including amoured tanks purchased from China to the North-east.
War commanders are presently undergoing training on the use of the new equipment in Bauchi State before its eventual deployment in the final onslaught against insurgents.
The Nigerian Army recently took delivery of 17 sophisticated armoured tanks and artillery vehicles from China.
The equipment, include heavy tanks, light tanks and heavy artillery guns.
This comes as it launched Operation Accord in a renewed bid to contain armed banditry in the North-west and North-central parts of the country after killing 369 bandits in an earlier operation.
Speaking during an assessment tour of the ongoing VT4 Main Battle Tank training where 155 officers and soldiers were undergoing “training for competent commanders, crew men, drivers and technicians,” the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, warned against acts of sabotage and cowardice in handling the military hardware.
Buratai, who visited the Nigerian Army Armoured Corps, Nigerian Army Armour School and 33 Artillery Brigade Bauchi, said: “While I commend your efforts in this training, let me warn that you must operate and handle the new equipment proficiently. We will not accept cowardice, sabotage or inefficiency under any guise whatsoever”.
The army chief further stated: “Your discipline, commitment and assimilation is so far quite encouraging and commendable.
“You should continue to learn well and be able to efficiently operate the new platforms in readiness to your deployment into the mission areas”.
Buratai further urged the participants to maintain high standards of professionalism, effectiveness and discipline in whatever roles they might be assigned.
He commended the commandant, instructors and staff of the school for a good job and directed the participants to apply the knowledge practically and effectively in the war front.
Meanwhile, the military launched a new offensive against fleeing armed bandits in the North-west and North-central parts of the country code-named “operation across”.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the Coordinator of the Directorate of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said the operation which was ordered by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Olonisakin, was aimed at tracking bandits that fled military onslaught in the North-west.
He said an earlier offensive mounted by the military killed 392 armed bandits.
“Consequently, those bandits that escaped resorted to reprisal attacks on civilian targets. However, operation accord was preemptively planned by the High Command of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to handle this situation.
“In this regard, the Chief of Defence Staff ordered the commencement of Operation Accord from June 1, 2020”, he said.
Enenche affirmed that operation accord was a joint operation involving the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies.
“It is a concomitant operation by all the theatres of operations in the North-west and North-central regions of the country targeted at tackling banditry and other criminal activities.
“In this regard, all identified hideouts and hibernations of the enemies will be decively cleared through land and air combat actions”, he said.