The Defence Headquarters says Troops of Operation Sahel Sanity have eliminated 10 bandits, arrested their collaborators and informants as well as recovered cache of arms in different encounters in Katsina State.
The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, in a statement on Tuesday, said the troops had increased momentum of operations against bandits in the North Western zone.
Onyeuko said the troops had on January 2 laid ambush on the bandit’s route at Garin Garus following information that bandits were sighted crossing Garin Inu in Batsari Local Government Area of the state.
He said the bandits were heading towards Bugaje in Jibiya Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, the troops engaged the bandits with overwhelming fire power thereby neutralising five, while others escaped with varying degrees of injuries as indicated by traces of blood along their escape routes.
He said that exploitation of the area led to the capture of three AK-47 rifles and two AK-47 magazines loaded with 18 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition.
Onyeuko disclosed that the troops arrested a suspected bandits’ collaborator named Ya’u Tukur at Sabon Gida village in Kankara Local Government Area.
He said the suspect confessed to be working for a notorious bandit gang that had been masterminding nefarious crimes including kidnapping for ransom in various places.
According to him, troops are on the trail of other members of the notorious gang.
The spokesperson also disclosed that the troops deployed to Maraban Maigora arrested one Yahaya Aliyu while riding on a new motorcycle following credible information.
He said the arrest was executed following reports from reliable sources on the suspect’s alleged involvement in kidnapping and facilitating payment of ransom for kidnap victims in the area.
According to him, during preliminary investigations, the suspect admitted his involvement in the alleged crimes, adding that the motorcycle he was riding was part of a bounty as ransom from a kidnapped victim.
Onyeuko further disclosed that troops also arrested a suspected bandits’ collaborator, Alhaji Adamu Mamman, alleged to be involved in harbouring bandits in his house around Yankara in Faskari Local Government Area.
He said the troops had on January 10 engaged bandits in a fierce gun battle at Unguwar Rimi, supported by helicopter gunship and killed scores of bandits.
According to him, during the exploitation phase of the operation, five bodies of neutralised bandits were found while several others were suspected to have escaped with gunshot wounds as indicated by blood stains on their escape route.
He disclosed that one soldier died, while two others sustained minor injuries during the encounter.
Onyeuko said: “The wounded soldiers are in stable condition and currently responding to treatment in a military medical facility.
“To this end, the gallant troops of Operation Sahel Sanity are commended for the successes and their unequaled commitment.
“They are further urged not to rest on their oars until the Northwest zone is rid of all criminal elements.
“Additionally, the good people of the Northwest are once more assured of the Nigerian Army’s commitment to safety of lives and properties within the zone.
“They are also encouraged to avail the troops with timely and credible information that will assist in the conduct of their operations.”