By Samuel Ogundipe
The Defence Headquarters has announced recent operations involving Nigerian troops across the country in recent weeks.
The defence spokesperson, Onyema Nwachukwu, said at a press briefing Friday that soldiers repelled a Boko Haram attack in Michika, Adamawa State, last week, preventing civilian deaths during a planned robbery of an automated teller machine.
Although the machine was damaged, the insurgents faced heavy gunfire from troops of 143 Battalion and 115 Task Force Brigade who intervened from neighbouring Lassa community in Borno State, Mr Nwachukwu, a colonel, said.
While fleeing from Michika, the insurgents ran into a military ambush in Maikadiri Villa, Askira Uba Local Government Area, Borno, where many of them were gunned down by the military special forces deployed in the counter-insurgency war.
The troops recovered one Toyota Hilux van, two Toyota Starlet cars loaded with looted food stuff and motorcycles from the fleeing insurgents.
The military did not announce any own casualties in the attack, whose aftermath PREMIUM TIMES had not been able to independently verify.
Last week in Zamfara State, a man posing as a Nigerian Army major was arrested in Tundun Wada, near Gusau, the state capital. The suspect, who identified himself as Abdulresheed Sylvester, was arrested while dressed up in military uniform with the rank of major, Mr Nwachukwu said.
A detachment of ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’ raided a camp of suspected armed bandits in Dogo Gawa, a border community between Takum, Taraba State, and Katsina-Ala, Benue State. In a shootout that ensued, the bandits fled their location after coming under superior firepower from troops, the military said.
A locally made rifle, a laptop, two cellphones, SIM cards, ATM cards and N400,000 cash were recovered. The camp was subsequently destroyed, and a manhunt was initiated for the fleeing suspects.
Another team of ‘Operation Whirl Stroke’ stationed in Ondori, Doma Local Government Area, Nasarawa State, raided a suspected militia hideout in Abuja Ogor, also in Doma. The raid led to the recovery of two AK-47 riffles with two empty magazines, one Clarion 5.56 Israeli assault rifle mounted with a magazine.
Two suspected armed bandits were arrested with two AK 47 rifles, three magazines and 126 rounds of ammunition, in separate raid on a nearby hideout, the military said.
In Delta State, troops of 222 Battalion on a routine patrol arrested two suspected pipeline vandals along Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) pipeline around Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State. The suspects were arrested with eight motorcycles and a tanker and motorcycles while attempting to vandalise an oil pipeline, the military said.
Also in Delta State, naval personnel attached to Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) DELTA and Sector 1 ‘Operation Delta Safe’, uncovered and destroyed illegal refining camp with 18 ovens, 18 coolers, 39 waste pits during a patrol in Iwhrekreka, Ugheli Local Government Area.
Other items recovered included: 26 surface tanks and five pits cumulatively filled with about 750,000 litres of suspected stolen crude oil.
The NNS PATHFINDER uncovered an illegal refining site at Alakiri general area in Bonny Local Government Area, Rivers State. The naval personnel recovered several tanks and pits filled with about 500,000 litres of stolen crude oil.
Additionally, 600,000 litres of illegally refined automotive gas oil (a.k.a.: diesel) and two pumping machines were also recovered from the suspects.
The Defence Headquarters said some of the suspects arrested during the operations have been handed over to relevant prosecuting security agencies, while others are still undergoing preliminary investigation.
As of Sunday afternoon, PREMIUM TIMES has not been able to independently confirm the above operations as stated by the military, or the circumstances under which they were conducted and arrests made.