PRESS BRIEFING BY DIRECTORATE OF DEFENCE MEDIA OPERATIONS ON ARMED FORCES OF NIGERIA’S MILITARY OPERATIONS HELD AT DEFENCE HEADQUARTERS NEW CONFERENCE ROOM ON 6 JANUARY 2022
Good morning and happy New Year Gentlemen of the Press. I am glad to welcome you back from the Christmas and New Year as we continue in our fortnight briefings on the operations of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in this New Year 2022. In the last year, the DDMO worked hard to meet its mandate of managing and disseminating credible information on our military operations from the theatres of operation across the Country. This was made possible by the joint efforts of the Defence Headquarters as well as the various Service Headquarters and of course, you gentlemen of the press, with your full cooperation and support as well as the entire media community. As we continue with our business of keeping the general public abreast with our operational activities, we deem it necessary to jog memories on our achievements through the unrelenting and committed efforts of the Nigerian military and other security agencies in tackling the security challenges across the Country in the past year. This would give a better perspective of the cumulative achievements resulting from our operational engagements in the various theatres. Against this backdrop, the briefing today will cover a cumulative summary of our achievements between 20 May 2021 and 6 January 2022; from when we started our fortnight briefings.
Within the timeframe in focus, own troops conducted series of land, maritime and air operations in the various theatres, involving both kinetic and non-kinetic activities across the Country in major and subsidiary operations. Our gallant troops in the frontlines executed these operations with utmost zest that resulted in the incapacitation of terrorists’ fighting capability and neutralization of scores of terrorists, bandits and other criminal elements, including high profile ones, who were either neutralized in action or arrested. Furthermore, large numbers of terrorists have continued to surrender due to troops’ overwhelming superior combat power and intelligence activities. Also, troops rescued kidnapped civilians as well as repelled and forestalled criminal elements’ attacks on civilians and troops. Troops also recovered caches of arms and ammunition, equipment, vehicles and large numbers of livestock within the period. In the maritime environment, our ever resilient and dogged troops’ operations disrupted activities of economic saboteurs and smugglers, immobilized illegal refining sites and arrested perpetrators as well as recovered tons of petroleum products, arms, ammunition, vehicles, boats and other equipment used for illegal bunkering activities. Besides, troops engaged in various non-kinetic activities as strategies for addressing security challenges in different theatres.
OPERATION HADIN KAI
Within the period under review, own troops operational activities in Operation HADIN KAI theatre resulted in the neutralization of 950 terrorists including their high profile Commanders and Amirs. Also, a total of 79 terrorists were arrested and 113 kidnapped civilians were rescued by the troops of Operation HADIN KAI within the period. In the same vein, a total of 195 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles, GPMGs, PKT guns and locally fabricated guns were recovered from terrorist elements in the course of the operations. In addition, a total of 2,385 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 253 rustled livestock were recovered, while a total of 14 gun trucks of the terrorists were destroyed in the course of the operations, while 16 gun trucks were captured by own troops within the period. Furthermore, a total of 24,059 terrorists and their families comprising 5,326 adult males, 7,550 adult females and 11,183 children have so far surrendered to own troops in the North East. All surrendered elements have been properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.
OPERATION HADARIN DAJI
In Operation HADARIN DAJI, the operational efforts of our gallant troops yielded appreciable results between 20 May 2021 and 6 January 2022. A total of 537 armed bandits and other criminal elements were neutralized in action by own troops, while 374 criminal elements including armed bandits and their collaborators as well as armed herdsman and robbers were arrested. Furthermore, 227 assorted arms, including AK-47 rifles, PKT machine guns and GPMGs as well as 4,443 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 3,250 rustled livestock among other items and vehicles were recovered within the period. Similarly, a total of 238 motorcycles and 118 extra rifle magazines were recovered, while 452 kidnapped civilians were rescued by own troops in the course of the operations. This is in addition to several other feats recorded during air offensives executed on bandits’ enclaves by the Air Component. Recent among prominent air offensives were concurrent air strikes executed on bandits’ enclaves at Gusami Forest and West Tsamre village in Birnin Magaji LGA of Zamfara State, which led to the neutralization of scores of armed bandits. The feats were recorded in the early hours of 3 January 2022 on the heels of credible intelligence, which revealed the locations of 2 key bandits’ leaders, the notorious Alhaji Auta and Kachalla Ruga. Consequently, a force package of NAF platforms were dispatched to takeout the enclaves, which resulted in the neutralization of the leaders as well as their cohorts. In addition, several other armed bandits fleeing from the hit of the air strikes, were killed during follow up strikes. No fewer than 100 armed bandits were neutralized in the encounter.
OPERATION SAFE HAVEN
Troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN within the period recorded attendant successes in their kinetic operations within the North Central Zone. Some of the operations led to the arrest of a total of 1,771 criminal elements including armed bandits, armed herdsmen and livestock rustlers; while 109 armed bandits and other criminal elements were neutralized in action. Also, in the course of the operations, a total of 75 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while 1,306 livestock, 108 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles and locally produced guns as well as 493 rounds of different calibres of ammunition among other items were recovered in the course of the operations. Moreover, troops carried out various non-kinetic activities in different locations of the theatre to contain security challenges in its area of responsibility. Some of these include; organized peace and security meetings with critical security stakeholders to discuss and proffer actionable solutions to security concerns as well as organized sporting activities for youths, in other to dissuade them from criminal activities, with consolation prizes.
OPERATION WHIRL STROKE
Between 20 May 2021 and 6 January 2022, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE operational activities cumulatively resulted in the neutralization of a total of 168 criminal elements, while 127 of them, including migrant armed bandits were arrested. Also, 118 different types of arms and 381 different calibres of ammunitions as well as 391 livestock were recovered, while 33 kidnapped civilians were rescued within the period under review. In addition, Operation WHIRL STROKE within the period, held peace and security meetings with community and youth leaders as well as other security agencies and other critical stakeholders as non-kinetic means of tackling insecurity challenges in the its area of responsibility. These meetings were geared towards finding lasting solutions to the security challenges in the North Central Zone.
OPERATION THUNDER STRKE/WHIRL PUNCH
Within the Operation THUNDER STRKE/WHIRL PUNCH theatre, own troops in the period under review, engaged in various kinetic operations which cumulatively resulted in the neutralization of 44 and arrest of 46 criminal elements. Troops operations also led to the recovery of 59 assorted arms, 12 extra AK-47 rifles magazines, 113 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and 16 motorcycles among other items in the course of the operations. Additionally, a total of 14 kidnapped civilians were rescued and reunited with their families within the period under review.
OPERATION DELTA SAFE
In Operation DELTA SAFE, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria working in conjunction with other Security Agencies recorded remarkable results in their efforts against economic sabotage and other sundry crimes in the South-South Zone. Within the period under review, troops discovered and immobilized a cumulative total of 145 illegal refining sites, 209 ovens, 122 cooking pots/boilers, 161 cooling systems, 224 reservoirs, 160 large dugout pits and 367 storage tanks in the Niger Delta Region. Consequently, a total of Twelve million, eight hundred and fourty-six thousand, three hundred (12,846,300) litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil as well as 29,237 barrels and six million, four hundred and nighty-one thousand (6,491,000) litres of stolen crude oil were recovered within the period. Similarly, a total of Three million, nine hundred and sixty-nine thousand (3,969,000) litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene; Ten million, two hundred thousand, five hundred (10,200,500) litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit were recovered by troops of Operation DELTA SAFE. Additionally, troops recovered 33 assorted arms; 5,268 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 21 AK-47 rifle magazines, while 3,110 bags of 50kg foreign parboiled smuggled rice, 662 pieces of galvanized pipes, 32 tanker trucks and 119 wooden boats used for illegal oil bunkering activities were impounded and handled appropriately in the course of the operations. Also, a total of 41 kidnapped victims were rescued, while 77 criminal elements associated with pipeline vandalism, piracy, illegal oil bunkering and armed robbery were arrested within the period. All the arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to relevant security agencies for further action.
The troops of Operation AWATSE in the fight against pipeline vandals and economic saboteurs in the South-West Zone successfully forestalled criminal activities within the period under review. In the course of the operations, troops impounded a total of 1,458,600 litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit; 9,345 barrels of stolen crude oil and 355,000 litres illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil. Additionally, troops recovered a total of 1,594 rounds of ammunition and 14 assorted rifles. Also, within the period, a total of 15 illegal refining sites were immobilized, while 12 boats and 13 trucks engaged in illegal activities were arrested. In the same vein, within the period 15 kidnapped civilians were rescued, while 28 criminal elements were arrested.
In summary, the Armed Forces of Nigeria from 20 May 2021 to 6 January 2022 neutralized 1,910 criminal elements including terrorists, armed bandits and robbers as well as kidnappers across the Country. This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes within the period. Troops also rescued a total of 729 kidnapped victims across the Country. Furthermore, within the period in focus, troops made a cumulative total recoveries of thirteen million, two hundred and one thousand, three hundred (13,201,300) litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil and three million, nine hundred and sixty-nine thousand (3,969,000) litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene. Also, 38,582 barrels and six million, four hundred and ninety-one thousand (6,491,000) litres of stolen crude oil as well as eleven million, six hundred and fifty-nine thousand, five hundred (11,659,500) litres of illegally refined Premium Motor Spirit were recovered and handed appropriately. Additionally, a total of 912 criminal elements were arrested, while large cache of arms and ammunition as well as livestock among other items of economic and security concerns were recovered by the troops during the period.
Gleaning from the available information as I have just presented, there is no gain saying that our operational performance for the year 2021 shows our commitment to ensure peace is restored in the Country. It shows the synergy between the Nigerian military and other Security Agencies is succeeding in tackling the security challenges facing the Country. We will continue to sustain the offensive and will not relent until peace is restored to every troubled zone in Nigeria. The general public is also assured of our commitment to protect lives and properties as well as our economic assets anywhere, with renewed vigour this year.
The High Command of the Nigerian Military continues to thank the general public and members of the press for their support and further solicit everyone’s cooperation towards providing credible and timely information that will facilitate proactive engagements in our operations. The Military High Command also commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the Country for their resilience, doggedness and commitment. Troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in securing the Country. Once again I thank you members of the press for your understanding and support for our course.