By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Nigerian Army says it has stepped up operations nationwide to ensure a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for all citizens and residents during the peak of the year.
Col. Aminu Iliyasu, Army Operations Media Coordinator disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Iliyasu said that troops in the various operational theatres across the country had continued to decimate and frustrate activities of criminal elements in line with the resolve of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
He also disclosed that the Sector 3 supported by the Air Task Force of the Operation Lafiya Dole had successfully repelled an attack on Gubio in Borno between Sunday and Tuesday.
According to him, two insurgents were neutralised, while one gun truck, two AK-47 rifles and one anti aircraft gun were recovered.
“Additionally, 51 civilians hitherto held hostage by the criminals were rescued during the encounter.
“The troops continue to dominate the area with fighting/clearing patrols, ambush, raids as well as cordon and search operations.
“Similarly, troops, acting on timely information also arrested four male suspects with large consignments of dried fish intended for delivery to the criminal insurgents.
“All four suspects are currently undergoing interrogation where they are giving useful information,’’ he said.
Iliyasu said the troops also arrested a pickup truck conveying three adult females, 15 adult males and three rustled cows during a clearance operation at Mada in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno.
He said that the claim by the suspects that they were of the Shuwa extraction was refuted by the locals in the area, adding that none of the suspects could speak any of the local languages.
Iliyasu said preliminary investigation revealed that one of the suspects and a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in the state had been communicating at various times.
He added that investigation further revealed that the suspect was on WhatsApp chat platform with the NGO.
Iliyasu said that in Yobe, troops discovered two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along a route in Buni Gari in Gujba Local Government Area and safely donated them.
He said that a joint operation with the police had yielded positive results in Cross River and Lagos states in recent times.
He quoted the chief of army staff as reassuring the public of the unwavering resolve of the army to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country with the support of civil authority.
“The Nigeria army hereby requests our good and law abiding citizens to go about their normal economic activities without fear of molestation.
“The populace is equally requested to please assist the army with any useful information that will assist in our operational efforts aimed at ridding the society of criminal elements and other miscreants,” he said.