Defence Headquarters says the military has eliminated no fewer than 70 bandits in various theatres of operation across the North-west and North-central zones in the last two weeks.
The acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Bernard Onyeuko, a brigadier general, disclosed this while giving an update on the operations of armed forces across the country between 14 and 28 October, on Thursday, in Abuja.
Mr Onyeuko said under Operation Hadarin Daji, the troops had dominated the operations theatre with aggressive fighting patrols and other kinetic operations, with the support of intensive air operations in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina and Kaduna States.
He said a total of 15 kidnapped civilians were rescued and nine bandits neutralised, while 34 bandits and other criminal elements were arrested and 11 AK 47 rifles, 43 rounds of ammunition and 86 livestock were recovered within the period.
He said the arrested criminals and recovered items had been handed over to appropriate prosecuting agencies for necessary action.
Under Operation Whirl Punch/Thunder Strike, Mr Onyeuko disclosed that troops also dealt heavy blows on the bandits, as they suffered heavy casualties from troops’ superior firepower in the Kaduna axis.
He said no fewer than 12 bandits were neutralised, while 11 AK-47 rifles, 64 rounds of ammunition, 24 livestock, among other items, were recovered in the course of the operations.
Mr Onyeuko added that the Nigerian Air Force helicopter gunships neutralised no fewer than 50 bandits at Saulawa – Farin Ruwa axis in Birnin Gwari Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“This feat was achieved on the heels of credible intelligence which revealed armed bandits laying ambush against their own advancing ground troops in the location.
Consequently, airstrikes were executed on the location in successive turns, leading to the neutralisation of some of the armed elements, while some others escaped with gunshot wounds,” he said.
Under Operation Safe Haven, the spokesperson said that troops arrested eight criminals, recovered 13 assorted arms, 291 ammunition and 28 livestock, among other items, in Plateau.
He said the troops also carried out non-kinetic operations by conducting security and peace meetings with community leaders and other critical stakeholders within its area of responsibility during the period.
Under Operation Whirl Stroke, Mr Onyeuko said the troops arrested a total of 11 bandits and rescued two kidnapped victims in parts of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.