PRESS BRIEFING BY DIRECTORATE OF DEFENCE MEDIA OPERATIONS HELD AT DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS NEW CONFERENCE ROOM ON 17 JUNE 2021
1. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, you are welcome to today’s briefing, which is as usual, intended to keep the general public abreast of the operational efforts of the Armed Forces of Nigeria’s in various theatres of operation across Nigeria. Once again as you are aware, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies have continued to tackle the security challenges, characterized by killings, maiming and destruction of properties by criminal elements across the Country. This brief will highlight the operational activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other Security Agencies in the theatres of operations between 3 and 16 June 2021. Within the period in focus, troops sustained the onslaught against all forms of criminalities by conducting series of operations ranging from aggressive ground operations to comprehensive air operations and exclusive maritime operations against criminal elements and their enclaves.
These operations recorded attendant successes as scores of criminal elements were decimated and neutralized with their hideouts destroyed and large caches of arms and ammunition as well as equipment recovered. In other cases, some kidnapped victims were rescued and rustled cattle recovered; and economic saboteurs arrested. The operations highlighted in the brief are Operations HADIN KAI; HADARIN DAJI; SAFE HAVEN; WHIRL STROKE; DELTA SAFE; and AWATSE as well as non-kinetic approach in tackling the security challenges.
OPERATION HADIN KAI
2. Between 3 and 16 June 2021, troops of Operation HADIN KAI conducted several raid operations and extensive air strikes, responded to distress calls as well as repelled and thwarted terrorists’ attacks. These operations were conducted concurrently in different locations in the North East Zone of the Country. These include Damboa Town in Borno State where air strikes executed with NAF platforms on 3 June, dislodged several terrorists and inflicted significant damages on their logistics facilities.
Troops also repelled terrorists’ attacks on Damboa Town in Borno State on same day, where several fighters of the ISWAP sect, including one of their commander named Umar Tela, were neutralized. Other locations where troops recorded significant results were; Gujba Town in Gujba LGA of Yobe State, Magumeri Town in Borno State and Mubi Town in Mubi LGA of Adamawa State; where troops conducted raid operations on BHT hideouts on 4 and 5 June 2021.
3. Furthermore, in the course of these operations within the period under review, several of terrorists were neutralized, while some escaped with gunshot wounds. Large number of their gun trucks and other logistics facilities were as well destroyed in the process. Troops operations also led to the arrest of some terrorists and kidnappers including the leader of a notorious kidnapping syndicate in the North East Zone, named Mohammed Maki, who is a Chadian. Troops also recovered large caches of arms and ammunition, large quantities of PMS and AGO in jerry cans in the course of the operations. The attendant results recorded by troops through their superior operational engagements have continued to degrade the terrorists’ operational capabilities and deny them freedom of operation in the North East theatre within the period under review.
OPERATION HADARIN DAJI
4. Troops operational activities in Operation HADARIN DAJI theatre of operation between 3 and 16 June 2021 were characterized with ambush operations, aggressive fighting patrols, air raids, sustained air Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance patrols as well as cordon and search operations. These operations yielded attendant successes in the period under review. Troops, during an ambush operation on 3 June, intercepted and neutralized some gunrunners who were in possession of assorted arms and ammunition between Naimaimai Village and Sabon Birni Town in Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State. Similarly, on 4 June 2021, troops, following credible intelligence report, conducted cordon and search operation along Gurbin Baure – Jibia Road in Katsina State. During the operation, troops intercepted and neutralized some armed bandits.
In another development on 6 June 2021, the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted air raids on bandits’ enclaves at Jibia area in Katsina State. The air raid led to the neutralization of several armed bandits and destruction of structures used as hideouts. In same vein, troops while on aggressive fighting patrol arrested some kidnappers and rescued some of their victims at Bena Market in Danko Wasagu LGA of Kebbi State. During the operation, large caches of arms and ammunition as well as equipment and vehicles were captured from the criminal elements. Troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operation with aggressive patrols and sustained air intelligence surveillance to deny bandits freedom of operation.
OPERATION SAFE HAVEN
5. In Operation SAFE HAVEN theatre of operations, troops between 3 and 16 June 2021, sustained their operational tempo and conducted fighting patrols, ambushes as well as cordon and search operations. These operations resulted in the neutralization of several armed bandits, arrest of armed bandits/cultists and recovery of arms and ammunition. These incidents occurred when troops on fighting patrol came in contact and engaged some armed bandits along Bokkos – Gana Rop Road on 4 June 2021. Several of them were neutralized during the encounter while others escaped with gunshot wounds. In another encounter on 5 June, troops on the heels of credible intelligence report, ambushed and arrested some cultists who reportedly belong to a criminal gang that attacks and robs commuters and dispossess’ them of their belongings at Terminus general area of Jos, Plateau State.
Similarly, troops on patrol on same day arrested a notorious kidnapper, who has been on the wanted list of security agents, by name Halilu Umaru, who was in possession of assorted arms and ammunition and other dangerous weapons around Mangu Market in Mangu LGA of Plateau State. All arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to appropriate agencies for further necessary actions.
6. Within the period under review, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN also conducted non-kinetic operations. On 15 June 2021, own troops held stakeholders meetings at different locations of the Operation SAFE HAVEN Area of Responsibility. The meetings were aimed at building peace, trust and confidence amongst the locals. One of these meetings was held at Wasa Village in Sanga LGA of Kaduna State, where locals were advised against taking laws into their hands.
Another one was held at Tafawa Village in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State with Fulani leaders and herders to discuss measures at tackling insecurity in the area. Furthermore, a meeting was held in Bokkos LGA of the State with herders to discuss measures at controlling night grazing and use of minors for grazing as well as destruction of farm lands. At the end, all stakeholders were urged to give peace a chance and were encouraged to provide useful information on criminal elements to security agencies.
OPERATION WHIRL STROKE
7. Troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE remained vigilant and committed in the conduct of their operations during the period in focus. On 3 June, troops arrested some criminal gang members at Ayiin Town in Logo LGA of Benue State. The criminals were among others involved in kidnapping and other related criminal activities in the area. The arrested criminals and weapons recovered have been handed over to appropriate agencies for further action.
OPERATION DELTA SAFE
8. Between 3 and 16 June 2021, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE conducted series of anti-illegal oil bunkering and raid operations that thwarted activities of economic saboteurs. These operations led to the deactivation of several illegal oil refining sites, disconnection of illegal pipelines, arrest of different criminal elements, interception and confiscation of contraband vessels, recovery of stolen items and resealing of reactivated illegal oil refining sites. These feats were achieved on 3 and 4 June 2021 as troops conducted anti-illegal oil bunkering operations to deactivate illegal oil refining sites at Ibaa in Emohua LGA and Kumufari and Yalama Towns in Asari-Toru LGA of Rivers State. During the operations, several barrels of illegally refined PMS and AGO were impounded and storage tanks immobilized.
Relatedly, troops, while on patrol on 4 June, intercepted and impounded several wooden boats; some laden with large quantities of stolen crude oil, others loaded with vandalized pipes at DSC Roundabout in Udu LGA and Opuama Creek in Warri North LGA of Delta State. Additionally, troops on 5 June disconnected an illegal pipeline laid by criminals connected to SPDC pipeline around Ibaa in Emohua LGA of Rivers State. Troops also re-sealed some illegal oil refining sites reactivated by criminal elements at Koko Community in Warri North LGA of Delta State on 6 June 2021. In another development same day, troops arrested some criminals disguised as lunatics, who were in possession of some stolen and illegal items, including several fake military barrack permit ID cards and military uniforms, at Tipper Garage and Navy Scrape Yard in Uvwie LGA of Delta State.
9. Meanwhile, the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies while conducting operations in the South East Zone of the Country contained several Independent People of Biafra/Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN) activities in the Zone between 3 and 16 June 2021. Within the period, troops responded to several distress calls on IPOB/ESN attacks on police stations, maiming and killing of security operatives as well as civilians and destruction of properties in the Zone. Some of these operations were conducted at Ukpong in Obot Akara LGA of Akwa-Ibom State, in which the hoodlums had a hideout from where they perpetrate illicit acts. On 4 June 2021, troops raided the hoodlums’ hideouts and dislodged them.
Troops also, on the heels of credible actionable intelligence on 4 June, engaged and repelled some IPOB/ESN hoodlums who attacked Okposi Town in Ohaozara LGA of Eboyin State and the Criminal Investigation Department, Abia State Command. Similarly, troops on 5 June 2021 repelled IPOB hoodlums attack on commuters along Igbo-Ekiti – Nsukka Road in Enugu State. In another development on same day, troops tracked and apprehended some hoodlums who vandalized and stole railroad sleepers at Nkwubor Road within Emene in Enugu East LGA of Enugu State.
10. In the South West Zone, troops of Operation AWATSE sustained their operations against criminal elements in the Zone between 3 and 16 June 2021. On 5 June 2021, troops conducted operations to repel armed herdsmen attack and raided some criminal hideouts. One of these operations was executed at Igangan Community in Ibarapa North LGA of Oyo State where some armed herdsmen attacked and invaded the Community.
However, troops mobilized to the scene and engaged the herdsmen, during which some of them were neutralized while others fled with gunshot wounds. In another development, troops conducted a raid operation on some criminals’ hideouts at Ona-Ara LGA of Oyo State on 7 June 2021. During the operations, some of the criminals were arrested and handed over to appropriate prosecuting agency for further action.
NON-KINETIC APPROACH IN TACKLING SECURITY CHALLENGES
11. In an extra-ordinary non-kinetic approach to the seemingly intractable security challenges in the South East, on 11 June 2021, the Honourable Minister of Defence (HMOD) Major General Bashir Salihi Magashi (rtd), led a Federal Government delegation to Enugu for the “HMOD/CDS Security Meeting with Stakeholders in the South East Geopolitical Zone”. The HMOD was accompanied by the Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbeshola and the Chief of Defence Staff General Lucky Eluonye Onyenuchea Irabor as well as representatives of the Service Chiefs. During the Summit, a whole range of security challenges were discussed with all the Governors of the South East States, religious leaders, traditional rulers, opinion leaders and other stakeholders in attendance. The discussions and decisions reached at the end of the Security Summit were far reaching and would go a long way in tackling and bringing peace to the Region.
12. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, considering our operational activities in the various theatres of operation as highlighted in the brief, comparatively there is a decrease in the criminal activities within the period under review. This is as a result of troops’ operational efforts to deny criminals freedom of operation and we remain resolute to take decisive and adequate actions to further abate terrorists and bandits’ activities as well as other vices across the Country. The Military High Command also lauds the efforts of the troops for their resilience and unrelenting commitment and we wish to encourage the general public to support our efforts by providing credible and timely information that will facilitate our proactive engagements.
13. Once again, I thank you and God bless.
Acting Director, Defence Media Operations
17 June 2021