By Zakaa Lazarus, Abuja.
Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Christopher Musa
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), on Thursday Said about 80 terrorists were neutralized and 304 others arrested within the last 14 days in the course of the on-going military operations across the country .
Director Defence Media Operations (DMO), Major General Edward Buba, disclosed this in Abuja while briefing the media on the sustained Military Operational Activities by the Armed Forces of Nigeria.
He said the troops also arrested 152 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 44 kidnapped hostages, while denying the oil theft of the estimated sum of N347,173,500.00 in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Major General Buba furthermore disclosed that the troops recovered 112 assorted weapons and 898 assorted ammunitions made up of 2 GPMG, one HK21 gun, 14 AK47 rifles, 8 pump action guns, 4 locally fabricated rifles, 8 locally made pistols, 5 dane guns, 239 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 431 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 4 rounds of 9mm ammo and 52 live cartridges.
Others are 5 magazines loaded with 128 rounds of 7.62mm special, 6 vehicles, 28 mobile phones, 12 motorcycles, one laptop and sum of N782,790.00 amongst other items.
“Troops in the Niger Delta area destroyed 8 dugout pits, 11 boats, 46 storage tanks, 7 vehicles, 84 cooking ovens, 356 drums, one outboard engine, one pumping machine and 20 illegal refining sites. Troops recovered 81,000 litres of stolen crude oil, 239,500 litres of illegally refined AGO, 5,000 litres of DPK and 10,500 litres of PMS,” he added.
Responding to a question on last Sunday’s bombing of a village in Kaduna state by the military, Major General Buba said, “the armed forces is very concerned about the issues of civilian casualties in operations, a situation which it views as tragic and unwanted. The military is determined to deal with the situation properly and make improvement from our experiences.”
He assured that the military would continue to take great measures to prevent civilian casualties, adding that protecting civilians remained “a vital part of our operations in order to promote greater security for all Nigerians.”
Major General Buba maintained the ongoing military operations across the country were “in support of our national security interest,” stressing that the operations were “integral to the plan of focusing military pressure on the terrorist, insurgents and extremist in order to dismantle and destroy them or force them to submission.”
“Accordingly, the military remains focussed to its core mission of creating a safe and secure environment for citizens by the total destruction of threats perpetrating insecurity in the country,” said the DMO Director.
Acknowledging that there was significant media attention owing to the mishap that occurred in Kaduna as a result of drone strike, Major General Buba said: “The military stands with all those grieving as a result of the drone strike and express our heartfelt condolences as a force over the losses.
“We pray for eternal peace for their souls. The incident is being investigated and the outcome of the investigation would go a long way in identifying areas of improvement to forestry future occurrences.”