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Army Chief Warns Commanders against Operational Lapses


The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, yesterday warned army commanders against tactical decisions that would lead to operational lapses.

He charged them to take appropriate tactical measures and bold steps to tackle the menace of banditry and kidnapping in their areas of responsibilities.

The COAS charged troops to rout out terrorists disturbing the peace and tranquility of the country
Bandits have, however, killed at least 30 people, and abducted several others, mostly women, in separate attacks in Zamfara State.

This is just as the Niger State Government has imposed a 12-hour curfew on some towns in three local governments of the state.

Yahaya, who was on a tour of the 31 Brigade of the Nigeria Army in Minna yesterday, charged soldiers to also take measures and bold steps to tackle the menace of banditry and kidnapping in their areas of responsibilities, adding that they must be thorough and cautious about it.

A statement on the visit by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the Army chief promised that the force would continue to deploy combat hardware and logistics to reposition and enhance ongoing operations across the country.

He, therefore, enjoined officers and men of the Armed Forces “to work in synergy with sister services and other security agencies to effectively dismantle the network of banditry and kidnapping in their areas of operation”.

“You must be thorough and cautious about expunging all operational lapses in the ongoing anti banditry campaign,” the COAS said.

The tour, which Nwachukwu said was in continuation of ongoing evaluation and review of troops’ operations in the fight against terrorism, banditry and other sundry crimes in the country, added that in consonance with the philosophy of the command, the welfare of personnel would continue to be accorded top priority.

In another development, bandits killed at least 30 people, and abducted several others, mostly women, in separate attacks in Zamfara State on Friday.

The attacked communities are: Nasarawar Mai Fara in Tsafe Local Government Area, Yar Katsina in Bungudu Local Government Area and Nasarawa village in Bakura Local Government Area.
Zamfara, like many of the North-west states, is beleaguered by insecurity in the forms of kidnapping described as banditry.

The crime has become rampant and the bandits are seemingly irrepressible.
Thousands of people have been killed or kidnapped by the bandits in the North-west since 2021.
In the first three weeks of 2022, at least 486 people were killed by non-state actors across Nigeria, over half of them by bandits in the North-west and Niger State.

Multiple sources told Premium Times that the attack on Nasarawar Mai Fara in Tsafe Local Government Area was due to the failure of the residents to pay a N40 million levy imposed by the bandits.
The levy was imposed by Ada Aleru, a notorious banditry kingpin operating in the area and the Faskari part of Katsina State.

Premium Times reported that Abubakar Bala, a resident of Tsafe, said residents could not pay the levy, hence the attack.

Balarabe, who has covered conflict for a local radio station and Thunder Blowers Online, said 20 people had been confirmed dead as of Friday evening.
In Bakura area, a health worker, Masud Kyambarawa, said three people, including the chief imam of the area, Akilu Dan Malam, were killed.

He said: “I was in the town yesterday when the shooting started. We went for a survey. We had to rush to a neighbouring village in Rabah of Sokoto State. It was an unpleasant experience. People, especially women and children, were running into the bush for their lives. Alhamdulillah, we are back now safely but I heard that three people were killed.”

In Yar Katsina village of Bungudu, the bandits stopped people from attending the Muslims’ Jumu’at prayers.

A source who asked not to be named for security reasons, disclosed that when the bandits stormed the village, people, who were already at the Jumu’at mosque, dispersed immediately.

Abdul Balarabe, a local journalist in Gusau, said at least 10 people were killed in the attack.
He disclosed that 10 bodies had been recovered while several other people were still missing.
Bala of Tsafe lamented the increasing number of attacks on villages and abduction of motorists on the Funtua – Gusau highway.

The state police command spokesperson, Mohammed Shehu, promised to verify the information and get back to the PT but had not done that as of the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the curfew imposed on some towns and villages in Rafi Mariga and Shiroro LGAs by the Niger State government is aimed at checking the spate of bandit attacks in the affected communities.
The communities under lockdown are: Gwada, Kuta and Zumba in Shiroro LGA and Kagara, Mariga in both Rafi and Mariga LGAs.

The 12-hour curfew would be in place until further notice.
The state Commissioner for Local Government and Internal Security, Mr. Emmanuel Umar, who confirmed the development said: “The measure is aimed at flushing out bandits in the affected communities.
“We have intelligence reports about some suspicious movements that we have been monitoring and we are spreading our dragnet in the affected communities.”

He explained that the government was acting proactively in order not to be taken off guard by the bandits that have been terrorising some communities in recent weeks.

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