The Defence Headquarters has strongly warned terrorists and their cohorts within and outside to drop their arms and rejoin society to provide a better life for themselves and their children as they risk total annihilation if they fail to embrace peace.
Director Defence Media Operations, Major General Edward Buba gave the warning on Thursday while briefing Defence Correspondents on the quarterly review of the Joint Task Force Operational Activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies against insurgency activities in the country from June to August 2023.
General Buba stated that the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations of the armed forces across the country in the last 3 months demonstrated the will of the armed forces to defeat terrorist and other violent extremist groups including those who support and finance them.
According to him, “During the period under review, offensive operations, and air strikes were conducted to hit these groups and the terrorists where it hurts them most.
“It is clear from our operations that the terrorist and their cohorts have sustained a significant number of casualties. It is certain that they will continue to sustain even more casualties, as we move forward. The illusion by these groups to embark on terrorism or insurgency is laughable.
“Increasingly, they have become more of a criminal organisation which is the reason they fight. They fight so that, they can keep profiting from criminal activities such as illegal mining, kidnapping, cattle rustling, illegal levies on fishing and farming communities, and all other unholy forms of criminal inclinations.
“Indeed, if these groups don’t come to the table in peace. We will ceaselessly punish them with overwhelming military force. For those supporting them, they have picked the wrong side and will face similar fate as these criminals and murderers.
“Our operations across the 6 geopolitical zones from June to August 2023 reveal that; we neutralized 814 terrorists and arrested 1,326 criminals. We arrested 42 kidnappers, 231 collaborators, 33 armed robbers, 80 cattle rustlers, 325 militias, 27 rails vandals, 73 gunrunners, 191 suspected oil thieves and rescued 721 kidnapped hostages. Additionally, 4,560 terrorist and their families surrendered to troops”.
He explained further that the troops also recovered a total number of 501 weapons, 3,577 livestock, 3,269 assorted kinds of ammunition and 674 other equipment.
The breakdown of these arms and ammunition is as follows; 117 AK47 rifles, one AK49 rifle, 5 revolvers, 28 fabricated rifles, 11 fabricated pistols, 57 Dane guns, 23 pistols, 24 pump action guns, 3 FN rifles, 3 GPMGs, one double barrel gun, one beretta pistol, one G3 rifle, 2 HK21 rifles one IED, 123 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 2,008 rounds of 7.62mm special, 30 rounds of 7.62mm x 39mm, 512 rounds of 7.62mm x 54mm, 190 rounds of 5.5mm, 39 rounds of 9mm, 29 rounds of PKM, and 19 cartridges.
He added that the Troops equally recovered: one RPG tube, 3 hand grenades, one locally made hand grenade, one locally made bomb, 2 rifle butts, one AK47 barrel, one GMPG barrel, 2 MG links, 98 AK47 magazines, 2 G3 magazines, 2 FN magazines, 2 PKT magazines, 2 LMG magazines, 2 tear gas launchers, one bulletproof vest, 49 vehicles, 213 motorcycles, 48 bicycles, 69 mobile phones, 5 baofeng radios, 4 woodland camouflages, 2 boots, 74 knives, 71 handsets, 11 laptops, 13 steering rods and pumps, 45 machetes and 25 jack knives.
“Furthermore, troops recovered 213 motorcycles, 69 mobile phones, one bicycle, 10 machete and a pair of camouflage. Troops’ operations in South-South geopolitical zone resulted in the arrest of the following; 6,652,250 litres of stolen crude oil, 3,558,325 litres of illegally refined AGO, 288,650 litres of DPK and 65,600 PMS. All amounting to an estimated sum of N4 billion denied to the oil thieves,” he further added.
General Buba assured that the Armed Forces would continue to apply strong military pressure on groups undermining the national security of the country.
“It is clear that, the terrorist and their cohorts cannot win in the face of ongoing military pressure against them. Accordingly, the terrorists and their cohorts are encouraged to drop their arms and rejoin society to provide a better life for themselves and their children. They risk annihilation if they fail to do so.
“Nigerians need to know that, we are in this together. The military is with you. The military will work tirelessly to ensure your safety and security. Importantly, the trust and cooperation from supportive groups being witnessed today is unprecedented. The inputs from these groups are making a difference in our operations. Citizens are encouraged to Know Something, Say Something and we will do something about it,” he stated.
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