The Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Defence Headquarters, Abuja, Brig.-Gen. Bernard Onyeuko, disclosed this at a press briefing on Sunday in Faskari, Katsina state.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) posts military chief of staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, as part of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration, had flagged off Operation Sahel Sanity at the Special Army Super Camp in Faskari on 6 July.
Onyeuko said the Chief of Army Staff flagged off the exercise to flush out armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and other criminal elements from the North West Zone.
“The troops quickly moblised to the area and engaged the criminals, neutralising scores in the process.
“The situation was quickly brought under control and the troops subsequently dominated the area with patrols denying criminal elements freedom of action,” he said.
He said on July 9 while responding to a distress call, troops deployed at Gidan Baure in Jibiya Local Government Area of Katsina State rescued three young girls kidnapped by armed bandits at Sayau village.
Onyeuko said on the same day, troops also rescued three kidnapped victims in Isa Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
“Two other kidnap victims who were kidnapped on June 1, 2020 at Yayi village in Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State have been rescued by the troops.
“All the victims have been handed over to Katsina and Sokoto State Government officials for further action.
“Receiving a credible intelligence, the troops sprang an ambush at Gidan Jaja in Zurmi LGA of Zamfara, the bandits fled with heavy gunshot wounds, abandoning one AK 47 rifle in the process.
“While on aggressive mobile patrol, our troops intercepted three armed bandits who opened fire on troops.
Also read: In 2021, FG proposes to spend ₦11.8 trillion
“During the fire fight, one of the bandits was neutralised while others fled in disarray, one AK 47 rifle and one motorcycle were recovered,” he said.
Onyeuko also said on Saturday, July 11, troops laid ambush between Daki Takwas and Tashar Kuturu villages of Anka and Talata Mafara Local Government Areas of Zamfara.
He said troops made contact with the bandits who escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds in the cover of darkness.
Onyeuko said troops had continued to dominate the area as a means of confidence building for the residents and farmers to continue their agricultural activities.
He added that items recovered included one motorcycle, 10 dane guns, one catapult and one knife.
Others, he said, were one saw, 16 plugs, one axe and three cell phones.
Onyeuko, on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, commended the troops for their gallantry, successes and the professionalism exhibited within the short period of the operation and urged them not to rest on their oars.
He reassured the people of the North-West Zone of the army’s commitment to restoring peace in the region.