Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) declared yesterday that the Darul Salam terror group that operated in Nasarawa and Kogi states has been defeated.
It said a total of 700 women and children have so far been rescued after it launched an operation against the group even as male members of the group were on the run.
DHQ also said the operation followed an intelligence alert issued by the United States African Command (AFRICOM) to the effect that al-Qeida and other affiliate groups were gaining foothold in West Africa.
At a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO) said most fighters of the group were killed, while others escaped with gunshot wounds after a fierce encounter with the military.
Coordinator of DDMO, Major General John Enenche, said following kinetic operations launched by the military, most members of the group were killed, while the surviving members of the group abandoned their wives and children, describing it as an indication of defeat.
Reviewing military operations across the country, Enenche said 290 more women and children were rescued after the initial 410 that surrendered to the military after the destruction of their camps in Korton Karfe in Kogi State and other parts of Nasarawa State.
“The natural question would be: Where are the male members of the group? Many of them were neutralized; some of them escaped with gunshot wound, some ran away”, he said.
He said troops of Operation Whirl Stroke carried out aggressive, intensive kinetic operations at identified bandits’ enclaves at Uttu in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State.
“The successful operation resulted in the neutralisation of several bandits; not less than 410 members of the Darul Salam terrorist group surrendered to the gallant troops and other security agencies deployed.
“This was followed by a robust clearance patrol around the same area, which resulted in a raid on a Darul Salam terrorists’ bomb-making factory. In the course of the operation, troops recovered several Improvised Explosive Device making materials, 6 rocket launcher bombs, 10 locally made hand grenades and one Rocket Propelled Grenade bomb fuse,” he said.
The Coordinator of DDMO said “the camp was subsequently destroyed. In the follow-up operations, troops mopped-up additional 290 terrorists’ family members, as well as the destruction of their camps and hideouts between Koton Karfe in Kogi and parts of Nasarawa State”.
He said successes recorded so far showed a significant effort on the part of the military and other security agencies in putting the intelligence alert by the US to good use.
“It is worthy of mention that these efforts are evidence of the redoubled efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies in securing the territorial integrity of our dear country, most especially following recent alerts by the United States Africa Command on the incursion of armed bandits and terrorists into the country”, he said.
The military high command assured that the offensives against the common enemies of Nigeria would not cease until normalcy was restored to all the troubled zones of the country.
In another development, troops of Operation Accord killed four armed bandits at Jeka Da Rabi area along Kaduna-Abuja expressway.
It said troops acting on credible intelligence on the movement of bandits from Kachia area swiftly mobilised to the scene and laid ambush.
“Troops engaged them with superior firepower thereby neutralising four while others escaped with gunshots wound. “Troops also recovered one AK 47 rifle and 5 rounds of 9mm with a magazine. Presently, the gallant troops have continued to dominate the general area with aggressive patrols in search of the fleeing bandits”, Enenche stated in an earlier statement.