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SECURITY

Nigerian army overpowers bandits in Zamfara

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Troops of Operation Sharan Daji have between January 22 and 28 neutralized 21 bandits, captured 17 and rescued 89 persons taken hostage by the bandits in Zamfara and Katsina states.

Masked security force

Giving an update on the operation in a statement yesterday, Maj. Clement Abiade, the Acting Force Information Officer, Operation Sharan Daji, said 55 of the freed captives were held captives in Bukkuyum Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

He said they had been debriefed and reunited with their families, adding that most of them are from communities in Zamfara.

Abiade said two bandits’ informants, Musa Amadu and Auwalu Mutairu, were arrested at Danfumi village in Birnin Magaji and were assisting troops with intelligence.

“It is significant to inform the public that 11 civilians and one vigilante were killed by bandits during the period in focus.

“It is also important to state that six persons were kidnapped at Asoula village in Tsafe Local Government and not in Birnin Magaji as reported by some media houses,” he said.

The information officer said during the period under review, one single barrel gun, two locally- made pistols and 20 cartridges of double barrel bullets were recovered from the bandits.

He listed other recovered arms as 60 rounds of 7.62mm, special one AK-47 magazine containing 18 rounds of 7.62mm special, two Dane guns, four motorcycles and a large quantity of Indian hemp and illicit drugs.

“The operation is designed to identify and destroy bandits’ camps/enclaves,” Abiade said.

In line with the mandate of Operation SHARAN DAJI (OPSD), troops are conducting operations into bandits’ enclaves in Zamfara and Katsina states. The operation is being conducted simultaneously in collaboration with all security agencies and local vigilantes to achieve synergy. The current offensive is designed to identify and destroy bandits’ camps/enclaves in the area of operation.

The operation has recorded some successes. On January 22, troops on clearance operation in Gando forest came into contact with a large gang of bandits armed with sophisticated firearms and rocket-propelled grenades, leading to fierce gun battles, which lasted several hours. The bandits were forced to abandon their camps due to superior firepower during these encounters. Troops also made contact with bandits operating in Shinkafi, Birnin Magaji and some isolated villages in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

Troops of OPSD operating in Katsina State made contact with bandits at different locations around Safana, Runka, Kukan Sama between January 25 and 28.

The following items were recovered from the bandits during the period: one single barrel gun, two locally-made pistols, 20 cartridges of double barrel bullets, 60 rounds of 7.62mm special, one AK 47 magazine containing 18 rounds of 7.62mm special, two Dane guns, four motorcycles, large quantity of Indian hemp and illicit drugs.

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SECURITY

Kaduna: A Nigerian and his foreign girlfriend killed. FG vows to punish killers

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The Federal Government has condoled with the families of the two persons, a Nigerian and a Briton, who were killed in Friday’s attack on the Kajuru Castle Resort, a popular resort in Kaduna State, promising that the killers will be apprehended and brought to justice.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, also said that the security agencies are doing everything possible to ensure that the three persons who were kidnapped in the attack are released unharmed.

The minister said the dastardly attack that led to the death of Ms Faye Mooney, a British aid worker, and Mr. Matthew Oguche, a Nigerian, while visiting the popular resort, was a setback to efforts to promote tourism in the country.

”We commiserate with the families and friends of Ms Mooney and Mr. Oguche, and wish to assure that the security agencies will leave no stone unturned in their efforts to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice,” he said.

Mohammed said the Federal Government had recently stepped up efforts to stem the wave of violence and banditry in some parts of the country, through better intelligence gathering and increased collaboration by the security agencies.

He said the efforts were already paying off, saying the level of violent attacks, banditry, and kidnappings “are being reduced nationwide.”

”The government will not relent until all parts of the country are made safe for all, whether they are tourists, business people or ordinary Nigerians who just want to live their lives under an atmosphere of peace and security,” the minister said.

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Politics

Fraud: Eight Nigerians sentenced to death in UAE

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Eight men, identified as Nigerians, have been sentenced to death in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, for a string of robberies at money exchanges and cash machines (ATMs) across the emirate in December 2016.

The ninth Nigerian, found guilty for possession of stolen money, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment.

He will be deported after serving his prison term.

The Gulf News is reporting that the Nigerian denied the charge against him, saying that one of the accused’s brothers asked him to transfer Dh60, 000 to an account in Nigeria.

Both the Gulf News and Khaleej Times, local newspapers, which reported the trial, did not identify all the convicted Nigerians.

A total of 20 suspects were initially held for attacking security guards in four violent attacks at ATMs and money exchanges across Sharjah in late 2016.

Out of the 20 suspects, nine were convicted.

Some of the accused confessed to their crimes, while others denied the charges levelled against them.

Judge Majid Al Muhairi of Sharjah Criminal Court handed down the verdict on Wednesday.

The eight-member gang attacked security trucks and entered establishments by force and threatened and assaulted staff and members of the public with bladed weapons in a spate of robberies, three of which were carried out on the same day on December 18, 2016.

The gang, who were all in the UAE on visit visas, were said to be highly organised and plotted a string of orchestrated attacks to ambush security trucks that were transporting money boxes to and from ATMs, and at least one money exchange in Sharjah.

The first robbery took place at a Dubai Commercial Bank ATM on King Abdul Aziz Street, where Dh340, 000 was stolen.

Then two days later, they attacked an ATM in Al Safeer Mall in Al Nahda, fleeing with Dh700, 000, and an ATM in Muweilah where they stole Dh710, 000.

Police foiled a fourth attack at a money exchange office near National Paints.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa has described the death sentence passed on eight Nigerians in United Arab Emirate (UAE) as unfortunate.

Dabiri-Erewa in a statement yesterday in Abuja expressed concern over the development, saying the incident was not an actual description of personalities of people of Nigeria.

”It is an unfortunate incident, but it is not an incident that defines who we are as a people.

”If a few Nigerians have committed a crime for which they are being punished, thousands of Nigerians are doing great in that same country and are being appreciated and celebrated.

”Mr President, who meets Nigerians every time he goes on official trips outside the country, always appeals to Nigerians to be good ambassadors wherever they are.

”I must commend millions of our brothers and sisters excelling all over the world.

“Bad news travels fast and I appeal to the media to help spread the good news about Nigerians and not concentrate only on the once in a while negative stories,” she said.

The gang of 20 was arrested in record time, but police confirmed that only a portion of the stolen money — almost Dh1.8 million — had been recovered, as the gang members had divided the money among themselves and transferred it to their home country.

Suspects were taken into custody in cooperation with police in Dubai, Ajman and Fujairah.

The gang committed the heists at the busiest times of the day when streets were crowded, which added to the confusion and enabled them to escape, said police.

In each robbery, the assailants struck quickly before police could arrive.

The attackers, however, could not evade security cameras and police were able to recognise the suspects through surveillance footage captured at the exchange house in the mall.

Video footage showed the suspects attacking security guards, making off with cash and in one of the robberies, slashing the hands of a security guard with a knife before running away with moneyboxes.

Police believe the suspects had monitored and tracked the security trucks used to transport money for a period of time before launching the attacks.

A prosecutor told Gulf News on Thursday that as per the law, groups of people who threaten the lives of others, while committing robbery, are subject to the death sentence.

However an appeal is expected to be launched and the sentences could get downgraded to life imprisonment.

The trial appeared unconnected with the arrest of five Nigerians in March this year, who robbed a Bureau de Change operator of Dh2.3 million (N225.4 million) in Sharjai, Dubai.

The suspects were identified as Chimuanya Emmanuel Ozoh, Benjamin Nwachukwu Ajah, Kingsley Ikenna Ngoka, Tochukwu Leonard Alisi and Chile Micah Ndunagu.

The five Nigerians reportedly barged into the BDC on March 20 and smashed the glass barrier between the customers and the staff, stole the money in multiple currencies and fled.

Two employees at the exchange were injured as they resisted the robbers.

One of them managed to notify the police.

The Sharjah Police coordinated with forces from Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Ajman to nab the suspects from four emirates within 48 hours after the robbery was committed.

A top police official said the suspects came to the UAE on visit visas on March 18, 2019.

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Politics

Buhari wants bandits dealt with

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President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday ordered security agencies to deal ruthlessly with bandits, kidnappers and other criminals. It was at an extraordinary meeting at the State House, Abuja, where security strategies were reviewed.

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin briefed State House reporters at the end of the meeting that lasted for about two hours.

According to him, the President said that no stone should be left unturned towards securing every part of the country.

The CDS said:  ”The security meeting we just had with Mr. President today (yesterday) is to review the strategy that we are adopting in confronting security issues in Zamfara State, especially, and other places nationwide. And this review strategy is to address all the issues, including kidnapping, banditry and other associated issues confronting the nation. And we are coming out with a revised strategy to handle those challenges.”

Asked if there was any order from the President, he said: “Yeah, the marching order is for us to deal with this issue immediately and ruthlessly and ensure that all those bandits are immediately dealt with and all those issues bordering on our security are properly addressed.”

Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mohammed Adamu, who was at the meeting, said the frequent kidnapping on the Abuja-Kaduna Road had been tackled, adding that the route has become safe for motorists.

IG Adamu said: “I want to assure Nigerians that Kaduna-Abuja roads are now safe. We have cleared the roads, we have arrested a lot of kidnappers and in confrontation with some of them; some were fatally injured.

“So the road is cleared. Our patrol teams, the combined security services that are patrolling the road are constantly there – 24 hours.”

Apart from CDS Gen. Olonisakin and IG Adamu, other Service Chiefs at the meeting are; Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Yusuf Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Ibok-Ete Ibas and Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar; National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno; National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Department of State Services (DSS) Director-General Yusuf Bichi;  Interior Minister Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau and Defence Minister Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali.

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PDP tasks Buhari on raising insecurity in parts of the country

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The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has tasked President Muhammadu Buhari on the raising insecurity in various parts of the country.

Lamenting the frightening dimension insecure has assumed across the country, the PDP, in a statement Monday by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, particularly bemoaned the situation in the northern states.

Ologbondiyan said the party is heavily grieved by the pain, anguish and horror Nigerians have been subjected to in the hands of marauders in the past three years.

The main opposition party blamed the situation on the Muhammadu Buhari administration for its failure to provide adequate security in the country, despite the huge resources at its disposal.

The PDP challenged the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to account for the whereabouts of the “political mercenaries” it imported into the country from neighboring countries, particularly from Chad and Niger Republic during the build-up to the 2019 general elections.

This, the PDP said, is predicated on fears in the public space of the possible involvement of these foreigners, who the PDP said, assisted the APC to unleash violence on Nigerians during the last elections.

The party insisted that the influx of these foreigners into Nigeria during the period, heightened acts of banditry in the county.

“Nigerians could recall that the PDP had raised a red flag on the dangers of the heavy importation of unscreened aliens by the APC to involve in its presidential election campaign rallies.

“The PDP and other well-meaning Nigerians had expressed fears that such aliens could be used by unpatriotic elements to unbridle violent acts against Nigerians”, the party added.

The PDP further lamented that the Federal Government has failed to exert enough commitment in protecting the lives of Nigerians and curbing the daily bloodlettings and kidnappings of citizens in Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Kogi, Kaduna, Taraba, Adamawa, Plateau, Bauchi and other states.

The opposition party said it has been proved right by its insistence that President Buhari and the APC never believed in their own campaign promises.

It further noted that by every indication, the President Buhari-led Federal Government has no solution to the security challenges plaguing the county, which the PDP said, has festered under the President’s incompetent watch.

“This is the very reason Nigerians are anxious for the retrieval of our stolen presidential mandate, which they freely gave to Atiku Abubakar, at the tribunal, so that our nation can have the benefit of a purposeful government that is alive to its responsibility of ensuring the security and wellbeing of the Nigerian people”, the PDP added.

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