The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja has reported that ongoing military operations have significantly diminished the fighting force of insurgents, terrorists, and extremist groups across the country. Major General Edward Buba, the Director of Defence Media Operations, disclosed on Friday that troops are actively targeting the leadership of these groups to ensure they no longer pose a threat to the safety and security of citizens.
According to Gen Buba, recent operations have resulted in the neutralization of 52 terrorists, the arrest of 204 individuals associated with such groups, and the rescue of 234 kidnapped hostages. Additionally, 58 perpetrators of oil theft were apprehended, and troops prevented the theft of an estimated sum of N668,731,000.00 in the South-South region.
In specific operations, a successful sting operation led to the arrest of the leader of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorist group responsible for the North Central and North West Zones. Air interactions targeting terrorist leaders in the North West and North Central zones were also carried out with success.
However, Gen Buba mentioned a setback in the form of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) MI-35P helicopter crash in Port Harcourt on December 1, 2023. Fortunately, the entire crew of five survived with minor injuries, and they are responding to treatment at the NAF Medical Centre in Port Harcourt. An investigation into the incident is underway.
During the week, the military also recovered various weapons and ammunition, including rifles, pistols, grenades, and ammunition rounds. Additionally, 34 vehicles, 64 mobile phones, 47 motorcycles, and a sum of N1,582,690.00 were seized. In the Niger Delta area, troops destroyed illegal refining sites, boats, storage tanks, and other equipment associated with oil theft, recovering stolen crude oil and illegally refined products.
Gen Buba emphasized that the prime targets of ongoing operations are the leadership of these groups, and the armed forces remain determined to destroy terrorists, insurgents, and violent extremist groups in the country, degrading their military capability.