The Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, while briefing newsmen on the operational activities of DHQ during the year on Monday in Abuja, said its coordinated joint security operations against all forms of insecurity across the country had yielded tremendous results in the last three months.
Nwachukwu said that the military and other security agencies had increased the tempo of their operational activities in the last three months with tremendous results recorded across all geopolitical zones.
The defence spokesperson disclosed that the successes were not without a price, saying that six soldiers, one aircraftman and 3 policemen paid the supreme price defending the nation.
He, however, assured that the armed forces and security agencies were ready to tackle emerging security challenges to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians, especially before, during and after the yuletide.
The operations, according to him include Operation Safe Haven in Plateau state, Hadarin Daji in Zamfara state and its environ and Operation Thunder Strike set up to tackle banditry and kidnapping along Abuja-Kaduna road and Birnin Gwari general area.
Others are Operation Whirl Stroke initiated to address the herders/farmers and communal clashes in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States as well as Delta Safe set up to curb crude oil theft, illegal refinery, illegal oil bunkering, kidnapping, piracy, cultism, and militancy in the Niger Delta Region.
Nwachukwu said that troops of Operation Whirl Stroke had conducted over 32 offensive operations against armed herdsmen, militia gangs and suspected kidnapping camps in the last three months, NAN reports.
He said: “The troops destroyed 82 kidnappers’ makeshift camps, arrested over 266 bandits, one illegal arm manufacturer, and three gunrunning kingpins and recovered 217 assorted assault weapons and 4,201 rounds of ammunition. The effort of Operation Whirl Stroke also paved the way for 266,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return to their ancestral homes.
“OPWS also stepped up its non-kinetic activities during the period under review such as peace and dialogues initiatives with warring communities and construction of roads, especially the one that links Ugya to Zwere in Benue state,” he said.
Under Operation Hadarin Daji in Zamfara, Nwachukwu disclosed that the troops was able to neutralise several bandits in fierce combats and arrested 389 others.
He added that the rampant cases of kidnapping had been significantly reduced with 1,048 kidnapped victims rescued and 48 suspected kidnappers arrested.
According to him, troops also recovered 170 assorted firearms comprising 58 AK47 rifles, five G3 riffles, five FN riffles, seven Pump Action Guns, and 95 locally fabricated guns.
“Others include three Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher, 12,803 round of 7.62mm ammunition, 100 rounds of cartridges and 128 magazines.
“The troops also succeeded In recovering 5,567 rustled cattle, 2,499 sheep, 973 goats, 15 Camels, and 14 donkeys. Most of the animals have since been released to the state government for handover to their owners.
“Also, troops of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) arrested 779 suspected Cultists, 10 kidnappers and 23 armed robbers and recovered a total of 21 assorted weapons comprising five AK47, one FN rifle, seven locally fabricated rifles, eight pistols and one dane gun.
“The troops also recovered 15 rounds of 9 mm ammunition, 63 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 3 rounds of cartridges. Additionally, 666 rustled cattle and 100 sheep were recovered by the troops.
“OPSH has been able to employ non-kinetic operations to amicably resolve over 20 reported cases of farm land destruction that would have ordinarily led to violent herders/farmers clashes, thereby averting loss of lives and property.
“Troops also held 22 peace dialogues among warring communities and organised rehabilitation programmes for repentant cultists to encourage them to renounce cultism,” he said.
Defence spokesperson further disclosed that the troops of Operation Thunder Strike made significant achievements in the fight against crime and criminalities on Abuja-Kaduna road and Birnin Gwari area during the period.
He said that the troops in a series of encounters arrested 12 suspected bandits and rescued three kidnap victims as well as recovered seven AK47 riffles, four locally made guns and nine cartridges.
According to him, troops also conducted a raid operation on a notorious kidnapper’s enclave known as Tushen-Kwara, located in Goningora where cultists converge and arrested.
Under Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), Nwachukwu disclosed that the troops averted 64 attempted infractions on Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Pipelines.
He added that the troops also arrested 27 suspected militants/pirates, recovered nine AK47 riffles with 755 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.
According to him, OPDS also embarked on rigorous anti-kidnapping operations, resulting in the rescue of over 43 victims, while four kidnappers were arrested.
“Troops of OPDS arrested 41 suspected smugglers and 11 boats conveying about 2,130 bags of 50kg rice suspected to have been smuggled into the country from one of our neighboring countries.
“OPDS also explored the non-kinetic line of operations as one of the effective means of resolving some emerging security challenges to the Niger Delta.
“OPDS currently maintains Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) desk that has been Instrumental to an amicable resolution of conflicts between host communities and oil companies on issues related to agitation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the Niger Delta.
“Within the period under renew, OPDS resolved about 36 conflicts which would have impacted negatively on the operations of oil prospecting companies and the mandate of OPDS.
“Members of the public are encouraged to please sustain their support to the security agencies in their operations,” he said.