By Suleiman Umaru
Aware that the insurgency in the north eastern states of Borno, Yobe and Banditry in the north western states of Zamfara, described as home of the Bandit s Group, Sokoto, Kaduna and Katsina, former President Muhammadu Buhari, is taking a turn for the worst may have informed why the Nigerian government appears to be investing more now on attack and surveillance aircrafts to support the ground troops to strike .
Hasan Abubakar an Air Vice Marshall and Chief of Air Staff, had revealed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, had kept to his words to reequip the Nigerian military in order to take the battle to the insurgents hideout in Borno, Yobe and the Bandits Group in the flashpoint north western states including the south eastern states.
The Nigerian Air Force Chief, NAF, had said that that they are 51 additional platforms to strengthen its ts attack and surveillance operations to fish out the criminal elements in their hideout in different parts of the country . The Air Force Chief had listed the newly procured attack helicopters and surveillance aircraft to include two Agusta 109 Trekker Multi-role helicopters , two Beecraft king Air 360, 12 AH-IZ and 24 M-346 attack helicopters including 6T-129 ATK attack helicopter .
This is in addition to three Diamond DA-62 Surveillance aircraft and two CASA -295 medium airlift /surveillance aircraft. An elated AVM Abubakar, who could not hide his feelings had said that the Tinubu’s Administration’s deep commitment to reequipping the NAF, for the safe conduct of training of its personnel and agile airpower deployment would go a long way to meet the nation’s security challenges
T he Air Force Chief had said that the success so far achieved by the NAF, in its recent operations in different parts of country was due to the renewed Cooperation and joint operations of the military and other security agencies, stressing that this would be enhanced and sustained .
He was said to have assured the NAF, personnel, of his Administration’s commitment ‘’to proactively address the maintenance of the attack and surveillance aircrafts to ensure that it surpasses the current average serviceability of about 78%. He was said to have also assured the personnel of providing logistics support for all NAF fleet on attack and surveillance operations.
The Bandits Group operating in the flashpoint states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kauna and Katsina, including Niger, home state Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General and Nigerian military President may have known that the game is up with their depleting stock of arms and ammunitions that they have stepped up their kidnap attempts to raise funds to procure new arms and ammunitions.
This is evident going by what is happening in Zamfara state where the Bandits Group had threatened to marry their female captors including a student of the state College of Arts and Science if their parents or the government fail to pay a N12 million ransom to secure their release. The abductees were said to have been nabbed along the Birnin Magaji- Kaura Namoda road about six months ago while returning from a wedding ceremony.
Bello Matawalle, te immediate pat governor of the state was said to have failed to bowed to pressure to pay the mouth watery sum to the Bandits and collaborators to secure the freedom of the victims.
Dauda Lawal, ex-governor Mtawalle success may have the foots steps of his predecessor to turn his back on the kidnappers demanding for N12 million ransom to facilitate the release of the abductees , stressing that his Administration will not fold its arms and allow the Bandits and Kidnappers ‘’ to unleash terror on the people without repercussion’’.
Given the Collaboration and sharing of information between the various security agencies as directed by the Lagos state born Nigerian President, may have informed why in one of their most recently coordinated operations in Zamfara and Sokoto states, the NAF, which had provided support to the ground troops cleared the Bandis’ camps in Mutuwa, Guda, Tudu, Kawar, Dantayawa, Gidan Kare, Mahuta, and Gyado forests.
The ground troops may have taken he battle to the Bandits’ camps with full strength and agility as the marauding Bandits could not stand the air bombardment of the NAF attack aircrafts, forcing many of them to flee before the arrival of the heavily armed and fierce looking Major General Taoreed Lagbaja troops.
The successes achieved by the troops that had had gone out for operations I the forests of Mutuwa, Guda and others , may have encouraged troops of Opration Hadarin deployed at Forward Operating Base, FOB, Faru of Maradum Local Government Area of Zamfara when they received information on the Bandits plot to attack Bagabuzu village moved into action and engaged the Bandits in gun duel , which was said to have denied them access to the village, let alone kidnap the locals to demand for ransom .
The Bandit Group fighters may have come prepared to attack the Magabuzu village and possibly take some people away a bait to demand for ransom going by the sophisticated weapons recovered by the Troops while repelling the attack, which include one General Purpose Machine Gun, GPMG, one FN, Rifle, and 123 rounds special ammunition.
Godwin Muttuk, an Army Major General and General Officer Commanding , GOC, 8 Division Sokoto/ Commander Joint Task Force northwest geopolitical region Operation Jadarin Daji, had said that the tTroops could not have beaten the Bandits to it without the support of the people who were said to have provided credible information to them to Launch the counter-attack to ensure the safety of lives and property.
General Mattuk, who was proud of the Troops for their resilience , gallantry and sustenance of the onslaught against the Bandits was said to have commended their effort, urging the public to always support the Troops with credible information about Bandits’ activities in their respective villages for proactive measures to be taken to ensure the safety of lives and property before the criminal elements gain access to do much damage.
Troops of Operation Hdarin Daji, may have stepped up their operations in Zamfara and Sokoto states, in the recent time because of the Bandit’s attack of the Forward Operating Base Bakura of Zamfara state and kelled no fewer than ten persons in the fresh attack. The Locals were said to have been killed by the Bandits during an attack on Kiddar Magaji and Janbako communities in the Maradun LGA, of the state.
As a prelude to ending the protracted security challenges in the state, the no -nonsense Lawal, governor of the north western state and his Team, who want to succeed where past Adminisrations had failed , appears to be working round the clock toward towards devising new strategies to crush the criminal elements and give the people a breather.
In a related development , the Nigerian Army and the Department of State Services, DSS, under the close watch of Yusuf Magaji Bichi, on Saturday, July 222, 2023, were said to have destroyed a forested high ground hideout of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, founded by Nnamdi Kanu, currently in the custody of the secret police and its security wing, Eastern Security Network, ESN, in Asaba, Capital of Delta, home state of James Ibori, who has vowed to appeal against the latest United Kingdom , UK, forfeiture judgment of more than 101.5 million pounds sterling used in money Laundering in the in country.
Onyema Nwachukwu, a Major General and Director of Army Public Relations had sad that the Troops of 63 Bde Garison under the auspices of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and the DSS , personnel had conducted raid operation on the fortified IPOB hide out and overpowered the criminal elements in the exchange of fire that followed the encounter.
The Troops were said to have captured one of the IPOB fighters and recovered five AK.47, Rifles, three Pump Action Semi-Automatic Rifles, and one G3 Rifle and one single barrel gun. The Troops were said to have also recovered from the fleeing IPOB fighters Live Cartridges, Electric Saw, MMachetes and an Axe.
Major General Lagbaja, the Army Chief, who was said to have commended the Troops and other security agencies personnel for their effort in the ongoing operations to clear the entire south eastern geople region of IPOB fighters , has charged them to sustain the momentum of the attacks to restore sanity in the region without any trace of the IPOBs.
The Nigerian Army pressure had had been more on the south eastern region in the past could of weeks as the Troops of the 192 Battlion operating under 81 Division Area of Responsibility , were said to have busted an international arms and ammunition Syndicate transporting a truck load of smuggled ammunition to Anambra, home state of Peter Obi, Presidential Candidate of the Opposition Labour Party , LP, in the just concluded February 25, 2023, Presidential election.
The Troops , acting on information , were said to have conducte a meticulous and rigorous stop-search operation of vehicles coming from Benin Republic along Ajilete-Owode road in Yewa North LGA, of Ogun, home state of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and uncovered the illegal ammunition in a truck with Reg. No. ENU 697 XY, loaded with 720 packets of Red Star Catridges of 12 Calibre, containing 25 Cartridges per packet, totaling 180, Cartridges.
Many believe that if the importer with the agent’s hired driver had beaten the security agencies personnel on the round and the weapons fall into the waiting hand of the IPOB fighters in the south eaten geopolitical region, they would have stepped up their operations.
The Nigerian Army seizure of the arms may have informed why the Federal Operations Unit, Lagos Zonal Office, Patrol Teams have stepped up their operations around the Border areas in the south western region to forestall illegal arms and ammunition imported through the Autonomous Port of Benin, Cotonou, from being smuggled into the country, which according to informed sources are gradually yielding results. The recent seizure of a catches of arms and ammunitions, believed to have originated rom the North American country of the United States, US, around the Ajilete /Owode axis speaks vol
The weapons may have been imported through the Benin Republic seaport and cleared by the same importer but Luck ran against him this time around. Nigerians are waiting to hear the outcome of the investigation being conducted by both the Army, DSS and the NCS. There have been similar arms and ammunitions seizures in the past at the Tincan Island port but nothing came out of it.