Army kills 21 bandits in Northwest
Book Haram/Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Nigeria’’s Northeast region and bandits in Northwest region killed soldiers, policemen and other security forces on Friday, showing the resilience and unpredictability of the fight against terrorism and banditry in the country.
On Friday, bandits killed a Colonel and two soldiers in Faskari local government area of Katsina State while Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists ambushed the convoy of the Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, near the town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad., killing three soldiers, eight policemen and four members of the Civilian JTF, a government-backed militia group.
Also, 21 bandits were killed while three kidnapped victims were rescued.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, confirmed that the deceased soldiers paid the supreme price during an encounter with the hoodlums at Unguwar Doka village of Faskari local government area in the course of which the troops neutralised 21 bandits while others escaped with gunshot wounds into the forest.
The fallen soldiers were members of Operation Sahel Sanity, who are currently engaged in the fight against banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities in Northwest of the country.
General Onyeuko said that “in the aftermath of the decisive encounter, the gallant troops successfully rescued three kidnapped victims including an eight months old baby who have been in the custody of the criminals for more than 23 days. During the exploitation phase of the operation, the gallant troops recovered one AK 47 rifle, one AK 47 magazine and three motorcycles from the fleeing bandits.
“Regrettably, resulting from the encounter with the bandits, one gallant officer and two soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while two other soldiers were wounded in action and are currently receiving medical treatment in a military medical facility and responding positively.”
On the ambush of Governor Zulum’s convoy, the terrorists’ had opened fire with machine guns and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) as the convoy was passing through a village close to the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), a military coalition of troops from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Zulum was on an assessment tour of Baga in preparation for the return of thousands of residents displaced from the town by the jihadists in 2014, the sources said.
The governor flew on a helicopter into the garrison town of Monguno, 60 kilometres (40 miles) away, and headed to Baga in a convoy under tight security, one of the sources said.
In July Zulum’s convoy came under gun attack from ISWAP outside Baga, forcing him to cancel his trip to the town.
“The governor escaped unhurt but 15 security men on the convoy were killed in a fierce battle with the terrorists”, one source said.
There has been no word yet on the number of terrorists who died in the gunfight.