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Troops kill 21 bandits, capture 17, rescue 89 in Zamfara, Katsina

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

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 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.

Umaru, who gave the directive through spokesman Haruna Mohammed, said the measure became necessary following recent upsurge in cultism.

He asked those involved to desist or have themselves to blame, regardless of their positions.

“The CP has ordered aggressive manhunt for perpetrators, including their sponsors, in order to stem the tide of the menace. The clamp down has begun with immediate effect.

“The command is determined to ensure that criminals in whatever guise have no hiding place in the state, no matter how highly placed they may be, especially during this period of campaigns,” he said.

While vowing to deal with anyone apprehended in accordance with the law, the CP reassured residents of the command’s determination to provide safety and security.

“The command implores parents/guardians to caution their children and wards to refrain from indulging in cultism and other nefarious activities or face severe legal consequences when arrested,” he added.

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