The General Officer Commanding 8 Division of the Army, Maj.-Gen. Hakeem Otiki has said operation “Harbin Kunama III” initiative has made landmark breakthrough by the tremendous achievements it recorded against armed banditry in the forests across the four states.
Operation “Harbin Kunama III” initiative is focusing on the Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara and Katsina states axis to combat the menace of insecurity occasioned by activities of bandits.
Briefing reporters on the operation’s feat over time, General Otiki said the 8 Division had significantly depleted to the lowest level the menace of insecurity within Sokoto State, its area of responsibility in the Northwest.
He attributed the feat to the vigor and renewed efforts by the Army Headquarters increased collaboration with other security agencies and in the area of joint border patrols.
He explained that the division was also fast-tracking a synergy in collaboration with “Operation Hadarin Daji” to serve as blocking forces against fleeing bandits from Zamfara State to other neighboring states within the axis.
Otiki added that “the troops made a remarkable breakthrough by arresting some suspected bandits, informants and logistics suppliers”, who were further transferred to the police for investigations and proper actions.
Stating that a sizeable number of weapons were recovered as well as bandits’ motorcycles destroyed by the troops during operations, General Otiki promised that the division would keep fostering greater understanding with traditional, religious institutions and state authorities toward enhancing the security of the populace.
He hailed the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai for his guidance and prompt response to their requirements.
Accordingly, he expressed appreciation to the untiring cooperation and resilient efforts of other security agencies, including vigilante groups and local hunters for their support to the Army.
Otiki also appealed to all law-abiding citizens to continue to volunteer with timely information to security agencies for prompt actions in the discharge of their professional and constitutional roles.
Eight killed as Police, Shiite clash in Abuja
A Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), a journalist and six others were killed yesterday as rage over the continued detention of the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, degenerated into full-scale violence.
El-Zakzaky’s followers, popularly known as Shi’ite, numbering over 3,000, marched on the Central Business District of Abuja to demand the release of their leader who has been in detention along with his wife since 2015.
The heavily-armed protesters torched a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Response Post, near the Federal Secretariat while many people, including two police officers of the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASPs) and a reporter with a Lagos-based private television station, Channels, sustained varying degrees of injuries in the march.
However, the Channels Television reporter, who was hit by a stray bullet and rushed to an undisclosed hospital, succumbed later in the day to the injuries he sustained.
Channels Television in its flagship news programme broadcast at 10 pm yesterday confirmed the death and identified the reporter as Precious Owolabi, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), posted to the station.
Army warns Boko Haram
Following the attacks on troops that led to the death of two Colonels and 26 soldiers in Yobe and Borno States last week, the Nigerian Army at the weekend warned Boko Haram fighters to surrender their arms or be crushed. It said the army was ready to dislodge them if they continued their offensive.
It also warned them to take advantage of the amnesty offered by the federal government in order to rejoin the society or be ready to face the dire consequences.
The army confirmed that insurgents killed a Colonel, captain, and three soldiers during an attack on troops between Mainok and Jakana on the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway, Borno State although other military sources said the casualty figure was higher.
The call came as special forces, comprising intelligence operatives located missing humanitarian workers of a non-governmental organization, Action Against Hunger (AAH), who were declared missing after insurgents ambushed their vehicles in Borno State and arrested some Boko Haram informants.
The Country Director of the organization, Shashwat Saraf, had said in a statement that the attack on the convoy of the aid workers, which occurred last Thursday on the road to Damasak, Borno State, resulted in the death of one official while two of the drivers and three health workers were abducted.
Speaking in Maiduguri at a reception organized in his honor, following his recent promotion, the General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Bulama Biu, said the insurgents still had the opportunity to lay down their arms.
Biu said the 10-year-long insurgency had inflicted colossal damage on lives and property and therefore urged the insurgents to avail themselves of the opportunity of the amnesty program initiated by the federal government under “Operation Safe Corridor.”
“You still have the opportunity to lay down your arms; the time to surrender is now, to enable you to rejoin the society,” he said.
Biu commended the troops for their gallantry and sacrifice, saying the military is committed to ending the insurgency and restoring peace to the North-east.
He thanked President Muhammad Buhari for his elevation to the rank of a Major General, as well as Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, over the conferment of Chief of Army Staff Award of Excellence on him.
Osinbajo: Buhari Committed to Ending Insecurity
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo admitted yesterday that there are “significant” security concerns all over the country but assured Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to ending insecurity. According to him, they have begun consultations with critical stakeholders to arrive at how to stem the tide of insecurity pervading Nigeria.
The consultations, he said, were being done on the instruction of Buhari, and they have met with some traditional rulers eager to contribute to the improvement of the nation’s security architecture.
“There are significant security concerns all over the country and on the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari,
‘’The president and I believe that consultations with traditional rulers are important in beefing up security across Nigeria.
“President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to improving security in Nigeria. Our nation will be peaceful and prosperous,’’ Osinbajo stated yesterday on his twitter handle, @ProfOsinbajo.
He tweeted on the security situation, which has become a source of worry for many Nigerians following the spike in the wave of killings, kidnappings and banditry, just as the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, wrote the president and warned him that Nigeria risked descending into anarchy if kidnappers and bandits continued to lay siege to Yorubaland.
The vice president said in his tweets that in line with the ongoing consultations, he had met with the Akarigbo of Remo Land, Oba Babatunde Ajayi; and the Awujale of Ijebu Land, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, in company with Ogun State Governor, Mr. Dapo Abiodun and other federal and state government officials.
Also yesterday, Oba Adeyemi, in a letter to Buhari, warned him of looming anarchy in the country if the siege to Yorubaland by herdsmen and kidnappers are not contained.
The monarch who cataloged recent cases of insecurity in Yorubaland accused the president of not bringing the culprits to book.
He said the Yoruba were capable of resorting to self-help unless the security in the zone improved and people were guaranteed the safety of their lives and property.
Boko Haram strikes in Yobe
The anti-insurgency military operations in the North-east have suffered a setback with the attacks on troops in Borno and Yobe States in which a total of two officers and 26 soldiers were killed.
An army commander, of the rank of Colonel and 20 soldiers were reportedly killed in an ambush by Boko Haram, in Yobe State while another Colonel and six others, including a Captain, died in Borno State.
The attacks came amidst heightened worries over the security situation in the country, which has triggered a national conversation on the urgent need for the federal government to stem the tide.
As part of concerted efforts to find a solution to the insecurity in the country, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, visited President Muhammadu Buhari and urged him to beef up security in the South-west, where he claimed strangers have taken over the forests in the region to unleash violence on the people.
Also yesterday, the Senate, again, was worried about the security situation in the country, saying it is creating a humanitarian crisis in Northern Nigeria.
The death toll in the latest attacks in Borno and Yobe states, brings to 52, the number of soldiers killed within two months by the combined forces of the Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram in the North-east.
In the Yobe attack, the troops were ambushed on Wednesday while on their way to the headquarters of 29 Task Force Brigade of the Nigerian Army located in Benisheik, as they returned from Borogozo in the state.
Military sources in the theatre of war, said the brigade commander, a colonel, and 20 soldiers, were killed when they ran into an ambush.
Sector 2 Command of Operation Lafiya Dole has sent reinforcement to the area while bodies of the soldiers were moved to the 7 Division Headquarters in Maiduguri.
Army spokesman, Col Sagir Musa, said on the phone that the army would issue a statement on the attack but had not done so as to at the time of filing this report.
In the Borno attack, the Army Colonel, a captain, and his four escorts, as well as driver, were killed by rampaging Boko Haram insurgents between Mainok and Jakana on the Damaturu/Maiduguri highway.