The Nigerian Army says the troops of 8 Division operating in Zamfara and adjoining states have killed many bandits’ commanders and more than 48 members of their gangs in the North-West.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, disclosed this in a statement on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Yerima said the troops had earlier launched ‘Operation Tsare Mutane’ following the directives of the Chief of Army Staf, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru.
He added that the army chief had directed the troops to stabilise the security situation in the zone to facilitate the return of socio-economic activities.
According to him, the General Officer Commanding the division, Maj.-Gen. Usman Yusuf, launched the first phase of the operation that lasted from March 23 to April 2 in the Maradun local government area of Zamfara.
“The troops successfully cleared many bandits’ camps in Jaya, Kadaya, and Bayan Ruwa amongst several others.
“The troops successfully neutralised 48 bandits while the bandits’ leader in the area known as Jummo sustained a gunshot wound to his leg.
“The troops rescued 18 kidnap victims from the bandits’ enclave and recovered eight AK-47 rifles, one G3 rifle, one PKT, and a machine gun from the bandits,” he said.
Mr Yerima also disclosed that the troops sacked several other bandits’ camps around Gabiya, Bozaya, and Mereri and the adjoining forests in Maru local government area during the second phase of the operation.
According to him, the second phase took place from April 19 to May 3, adding that the areas heavily occupied by bandits were successfully cleared by the troops.
He explained that top bandits’ leaders, including Yellow Mai-Bille, Sani Meli, Dan-Katsina, and Sama’ila Bakajin Bari, were killed while the main leader, Nasanda, narrowly escaped with “fatal injuries.”
The army revealed that one Isan Heshi, a close ally of a notorious bandit called Nagala, was also killed during the operation.
According to him, items recovered in the attack include 4,600 rounds of ammunition, two AK-103 rifles, eight AK-47 magazines, 1,628 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, 54 rounds of PKM, one motorcycle, and five Techno mobile phones.
“The COAS has congratulated the GOC and troops of 8 Division for the gains made so far and urged them to sustain their offensive operations until Zamfara, and neighbouring states are stabilised.
“He further assured the GOC of his continuous support in achieving the overall objective of keeping the North West and the entire country free of terrorism, banditry, and other violent crimes,” the army statement noted.