Francis Sardauna in Katsina
The Nigerian Army has said that 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.
The 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, said yesterday at a press conference on the activities of the troops between July 1 and December 31, 2020 in Faskari, Katsina State, that 73 AK-47 rifles, one GPMG and 194 Dane guns were also captured from the bandits.
Operation Sahel Sanity was launched by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai on July 6, 2020 to reinforce Operation Hadarin Daji in tackling banditry and other nefarious activities in the North-west.
Onyeuko, represented by the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, added that 5,032 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 568 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition and 156 live cartridges were also recovered during gunfight with mercenaries in the zone.
He stated that soldiers also foiled 165 bandits’ attacks and 81 kidnap attempts in communities across the zone in the period under review.
He, however, said two officers and four soldiers were killed in the line of duty.
Onyeuko said: “In all the operations conducted from July 1 to 31 December 2020, a total of 220 armed bandits were neutralised 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.”
According to him, the troops also recovered a total of 7,761 cows, 1,867 sheep, rams and four camels, which have been returned to the owners.
He said of the 642 kidnapped victims rescued, 344 were pupils of Government Science Secondary School Kankara.