By Francis Sardauna
The Nigeria Army on Wednesday said its troops of Operation Sahel Sanity have killed 220 bandits and rescued 642 kidnapped victims as part of efforts to restore peace and normalcy in communities hitherto captured by the hoodlums in the North-west region of the country.
The anti-banditry troops also destroyed 197 bandits’ enclaves, including the notorious Katsina Dangote triangle and nabbed 335 suspected bandits, 326 illegal miners in Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara and Katsina States.
The acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig.General Benard Onyeuko, disclosed these during an end-of-the-year press conference on the activities of the troops between July 1 and December 31, 2020 at the Special Army Super Camp IV Faskari, Katsina State.
THISDAY reports that Exercise Sahel Sanity was launched by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, on July 6, 2020 as part of activities marking the 2020 Nigerian Army Day celebration to reinforce Operation Hadarin Daji in order to tackle banditry and other nefarious activities bedevilling the North-west region.
Onyeuko, represented by the Nigeria Army Operations Media Coordinator, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said 73 AK-47 rifles, one GPMG and 194 Dane guns were captured from the marauding bandits.
He reiterated that 5,032 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 568 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition and 156 live cartridges were also recovered by the gallant troops during firefight with the mercenaries in the zone.
The acting director, defence media operations affirmed that the Nigerian soldiers successfully foiled 165 bandits’ attacks and 81 kidnap attempts in communities across the zone in the period under review.
Regrettably, he said two officers and four brave soldiers paid the supreme price in the course of safeguarding the lives and property of the citizenry in the zone.
Onyeuko said: “In all the operations conducted from 1 July to 31 December 2020, a total of 220 armed bandits were neutralized during combat with the gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY.
“Additionally, 73 AK 47 rifles, one GPMG and 194 Dane guns were captured from the criminals. Equally, 5,032 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 568 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition and 156 live cartridges were also captured by the troops.
“Furthermore, 197 bandit’s camps and hideouts including the notorious Dangote Triangle and several bandits’ logistics bases were destroyed by troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY. Also, 335 suspected bandits, 326 illegal miners, 147 bandits informants and collaborators, 14 bandits arms suppliers, 24 rustled cattle marketers and 46 bandits logistics suppliers were arrested.
“Similarly, a total of 7,761 cows, 1,867 sheep, rams and 4 camels were recovered and given back to the owners by troops within the period. It is also heartwarming to note that, a total of 642 kidnapped victims were rescued by the valiant troops, and this include the rescued 344 students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara”.