GOVERANCE

Katsina Bombing: DHQ Admits Operational Errors, To Prosecute Two Personnel 

 

The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, on Thursday, admitted avoidable professional errors by its Troops in the airstrikes that were executed in Tudun Biri Village, Jabi Local Government Area of Katsina State last year during which several innocent citizens were reportedly killed.

Addressing Defence Correspondents in Abuja at the bi-weekly briefing on the ongoing Military Operations by the Armed Forces of Nigeria AFN and other security agencies in the various theatres of operations across the six geo-political zones against insurgency activities in the country, Director of Defence Media Operations, DMO, Major General Edward Buba disclosed that the Military High Command had concluded its investigation into the matter and it was discovered that the operation ought not to have taken place in the first instance

According to him, “We have concluded our investigation into the Kaduna Bombing and in the end, it was discovered that the operation was done in error.

“Consequently, two personnel involved in the operation are to face protection, court martial for their act of commission or commission.

He, then, tendered unreserved apologies to the victims of the incident and their families on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff CDS General Musa.

Speaking on the ongoing operations against insurgency activities, he stated that the “Troops are simultaneously fighting in various theatres across the country to deal with the various threats therein.

According to him, “the aim is clear, and it is to find and destroy the terrorist and their cohorts whenever they may be hiding in order to ensure their enduring defeat. The defeat of these terrorist group is non-negotiable as it would deny them from terrorising or hurt citizens of this country.

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He explained that during the period under review, “Troops conducted offensive operations during the month ranging ambushes, raids, fighting patrols and other covert operations. Tactically, whenever there is a clash between troops and terrorists on the ground. Troops clearing win in the firefight, though sadly in certain operations casualties are sustained. However, each and every engagement ends with troops victory, with several dead or surrendered terrorists in every location.

According to him, “Similarly, air assets conducted aggressive air flights during the period under review. Upon confirmation of terrorist presence and the movement of terrorist commanders and their foot soldiers. The targets are acquired and fighter jets scrambled to carry out major bombarding raids on significant terrorist enclaves.

“The terrorist leaders enclaves engaged include that of terrorist Nasanda and his loyalist in Zurmi LGA of Katsina State. Also, on 13 April 2024, 3 Senior terrorist commanders (Ali Dawud, Bakura Fallujah and Mallam Ari) were neutralized at Kolleram Village along Lake Chad.

“Additionally, on 15 April 2024, the enclave of terrorist commander Babaru in Kankara LGA of Katsina State was destroyed. Similarly, on 19 Apr 24, the terrorist hideout belonging to a senior terrorist commander Kamilu Buzaru’s in Danmusa LGA of Katsina State was decimated. Then, On 20 April 2024, the gathering of senior terrorist commanders Ado Ailero and Kamilu Buzaru’s in Danmusa LGA of Katsina State was disrupted by air strikes. Several terrorist combatants and the Commanders were neutralized in the air strikes.

He added that other terrorist Commanders engaged by air strikes “include that of Mallam Yadee at Mariga LGA of Niger State. Then, the Enclave of Abdullahi Nasanda and Mallam Tukur in Zurmi and Gusau LGAs of Zamfara State.

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“Thereafter, is the Enclave of Mallam Umar and several other commanders located in the Alawa Forest area of Niger State. Furthermore is Bello Turji’s Camp in Kagara Forest located between Shinkafi in Zamfara and Isa LGA in Sokoto. All the surviving terrorist Commanders and leaders are walking corpses as we would get them, sooner than later.

The DMO further explained that “the synchronised strikes between the ground and air forces during the period under review resulted in over 715 terrorists neutralized.

According to him, during the process, troops arrested 146 persons and rescued 465 kidnapped hostages. Furthermore, troops recovered 937 assorted weapons, and 23,034 assorted ammunitions and denied the oil theft of an estimated sum over #2 bn (N2,572,397,190.00) only.

“Breakdown for the month of February includes and is not limited to the following: 495 AK47 rifles, 190 locally fabricated guns, 43 pump action guns, 151 dane guns, 11,549 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 6,722 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 511 rounds of 9mm and 941 live cartridges.

“Others are 2,563,335 litres of stolen crude oil, 254,620 litres of illegally refined AGO, 1,050 litres of DPK and 8,000 litres of PMS amongst other item.

General Buba further declared that the armed forces was building and maintaining the momentum against the terrorist and their cohorts across the country, noting that the troops were conscious and were not losing sight of the importance of momentum, “when it comes to fighting such vicious adversaries”

He added that the current situation depicted a strain of tactical achievements in degrading the terrorists by dismantling most of the terrorist infrastructure in the North East killing the majority of the combatants, “killing a lot of their senior combatants. It must be noted that, many of the terrorist commanders as well have been taken off the battlefield”.

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The DMO who declared that the ongoing operations have suppressed the terrorists and prevented them from achieving their strategic objectives pointed out that the Troops have equally denied the terrorists freedom of action and disrupted their activities, thereby reducing their effectiveness.

“Nevertheless, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to rid the environment of terrorists and the military is not resting on its oars”, he promised.

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