No fewer than 100 bandits were killed by the joint forces of Operation Hadarin Daji (OpHD) in Zamfara and parts of Katsina states between December 2019 and January 2020, the acting Force Information Officer, Captain Ayobami Oni-Orisan, has said.
Oni-Orisan made the disclosure in a statement made available to journalists in Gusau, the Zamfara State capital, on Saturday.
He said the troops, comprising personnel of the Army, Navy, Air Force, police, Department of State Services (DSS) and other security agencies, conducted several clearance operations to neutralise the bandits from their enclaves.
“So far, OpHD troops have flushed out bandits hibernating around Tashar Kuturu, Dankalgo, Gobirawa junction, Bagega, Kawaye, Duhuwa, Sabon-Birni, Dankurmi, Dangulbi, Hayin Bawa, Zango, Unguwar Shanu, Tundu Mali, Magazu, Mayanchi and Gando forest, in Anka, Talata Mafara, Tsafe, Maru and Bukkuyum Local Government areas of Zamfara State.
“Additionally, OpHD ground troops, backed by the fighter jets of the Air Component, also cleared Shinfida in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State, neutralising several bandits in the process,” he said.
The information officer said the renewed use of force against the bandits followed their refusal to embrace the peace process introduced by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State about six months ago as well as the recent upsurge of the bandits in the affected areas.
He said during the operations, 10 kidnap victims were rescued, while 500 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 23 motorbikes, 15 AK-47 rifles, four General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), one PKM Machine Gun, one Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) bomb, one Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) tube, 11 loaded magazines, 600 rustled cows and 300 sheep were recovered.
He further said that during the clearance operations, the troops in collaboration with the defence forces of Niger Republic apprehended a high-profile gunrunner, popularly known as “Kunene,” who was responsible for the inflow of arms, ammunition and other weapons into the region.
In addition, Oni-Orisan said the troops also apprehended three suspected bandits; Abubakar Kiri Koloma, Abubakar Ibrahim and Haruna Alhaji Yaro, as well as two suspected drug dealers; Kabiru Abubakar Isah and Hamisu Dan-kwanba at various locations in Zamfara during the period.