The troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE operating in the North Central zone of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, have decimated one armed bandit and arrested four others yesterday 6th September 2020 in an early morning raid on the bandits’ camps in Guma forest on the Benue and Nasarawa States border and the Tse Agi axis of Gagbe, Gwer West Local Government Area. Several other bandits fled from the gunbattle with the troops and are still being trailed around the forests and villages in the two local government areas.
This much was disclosed by Major General John Enenche, the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations of the Defence Headquarters, Abuja in the early hours of today 7th September 2020.
Benue has endured a torrid period in the hands of armed bandits who terrorise the rural and urban settlements of the State, destabilising peace and causing untold sorrow among the citizens. Chief among the victims of banditry are the farmers who have been the fulcrum of the State’s farming strength that earned the State the well-known alias “Food Basket of the Nation”.
Before now, the narrative in the media was that the bloodshed in the state as well as the surrounding Taraba and Nasarawa, were due to the activities of notorious armed Fulani herdsmen.
But since the Federal Government intensified its marshall of the security situation of the states, it became apparent that it is not only the dangerous armed herdsmen that are causing insecurity crises in the states. It has been observed that numerous armed bandits groups are operating within the areas, and they are not limited to one specific ethnic group.
This is coupled with the discovery that violent elements from without the country infiltrate the remote villages and establish themselves to carry out nefarious activities.
It is to this end that the Federal Government of Nigeria set up various machineries to curb the activities of armed bandits in the country. The Operation WHIRL STROKE is one of such machineries.
The military operation has been yielding successes in its activities, and has continued to break up bandit networks within the zone.
The press statement by Major General Enenche is as follows:
TROOPS OF OPERATION WHIRL STROKE NEUTRALIZE ARMED BANDITS, RECOVER ARMS AND AMMUNITION IN BENUE AND NASARAWA STATES
- In continuation of the aggressive kinetic operations against armed banditry, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes in the North-Central zone, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE have arrested 4 armed bandits and recovered arms and ammunition during two daring raids at identified bandits’ camps.
- In one of the operations conducted on 6 September 2020, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE deployed at Guma in Benue State and Keana in Nasarawa State conducted a dawn raid at identified armed bandits’ camp at Guma forest along the Benue-Nasarawa border following actionable intelligence reports on the location of the camp. Adopting an aggressive posture and profile, the gallant troops stormed the location and engaged the bandits in a firefight, overwhelming them with superior fire. In the process, troops neutralized one bandit while others fled with gunshot wounds into the forest. Troops also recovered one AK-47 rifle, one AK-47 rifle magazine, one locally made pistol and 3 mobile phones at the scene while the camp was subsequently destroyed.
- Similarly, troops of Sector 1 deployed at Gagbe in Gwer West Local Government Area of Benue State conducted another dawn raid on another suspected armed bandits’ hideout at Tse Agi in the general area. The gallant troops stormed the hideout and apprehended 4 suspects at the scene while one AK 47 rifle, 2 AK-47 rifle magazines and 46 rounds of 7.62 mm special ammunition were also recovered at the location. The hideout was subsequently destroyed while the suspects are currently being profiled after which they will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further action.
- The Military High Command appreciates the general public for their cooperation in providing credible information which has so far facilitated the successes of the operations. The Armed Forces of Nigeria assures that these offensives against the common enemies of this Nation will not cease until normalcy is restored to all the troubled zones of the Country.
JOHN ENENCHE, Major General
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations