TEXT OF A PRESS BRIEFING ON GENERAL UPDATE ON THE ACTIVITIES OF OPERATION SAHEL SANITY FROM 1 JULY TO 31 DECEMBER 2020 DELIVERED AT THE INFORMATION CENTER SPECIAL ARMY SUPER CAMP IV FASKARI KATSINA STATE ON 6 JANUARY 2021
- Gentlemen of the press, you are most welcome to the Information Center Special Army Super Camp IV Faskari for the end of the year 2020 general update on the activities of Operation SAHEL SANITY combating the menace of armed banditry and other sundry crimes in the North West region since its commencement to date. As you are aware, Exercise SAHEL SANITY was flagged off by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai on 6 July 2020 as part of activities marking the Nigerian Army Day Celebration 2020 with the aim of reinforcing the existing Operation HADARIN DAJI to effectively flush out bandits, cattle rustlers, Kidnappers and other sundry criminals within the region. These acts of criminalities orchestrated by the bandits have hitherto posed danger and threats to the peace and security of the people thereby crippling social and economic activities in the region.
- Since the flag off, the Exercise which subsequently dovetailed into a real time operation, there is no doubt that significant improvements have been made in bringing peace and stability in the North West west region as evidenced in the massive resumption of socio – economic activities with little or no threats to lives and property. The gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY within the period under review carried out series of clearance operations, ambushes, farm and other aggressive confidence building patrols within Sokoto, Katsina, Kebbi, Kaduna, Niger and Zamfara States. These have led to the neutralization of armed bandits, capture of large cache of arms and ammunitions, destruction of bandits enclaves, arrest of bandits informants and their collaborators, recovery of rustled animals and most importantly rescue of hundreds of kidnapped victims from the clutches of the notorious bandits. The tremendous successes achieved since the operation started could not have been possible without the sacrifice, commitment and gallantry exhibited by the professional soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
- In all the operations conducted from 1 July to 31 December 2020, a total of 220 armed bandits were neutralized during combat with the gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY. Additionally, 73 AK 47 Rifles, one GPMG and 194 Dane guns were captured from the criminals. Equally, 5,032 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 568 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition and 156 live cartridges were also captured by the troops. Furthermore, 197 bandit’s camps and hideouts including the notorious Dangote Triangle and several bandits’ logistics bases were destroyed by troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY. Also, 335 suspected bandits, 326 illegal miners, 147 bandits informants and collaborators, 14 bandits arms suppliers, 24 rustled cattle marketers and 46 bandits logistics suppliers were arrested. Similarly, a total of 7,761 cows, 1,867 sheep/rams and 4 Camels were recovered and given back to the owners by troops within the period. It is also heartwarming to note that, a total of 642 kidnapped victims were rescued by the valiant troops, and this include the rescued 344 students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara. Also within the period, the gallant troops successfully foiled 165 bandits’ attacks and 81 kidnap attempts.
- Furthermore, some Civil Military Cooperation projects and activities where conducted to support some host communities within the Operational area of Operation SAHEL SANITY. These includes; distribution of palliatives to locals and renovations of medical facilities at Faskari and Kauran Namoda communities in Katsina and Zamfara States respectively. Conduct of Free Medical Outreaches and distribution of palliatives to locals and flood victims at Koko-Besse and Bagudo LGA of Kebbi State and payment of compensation to farmers whose farmlands were affected as a result of the ongoing operation and due to the expansion of the Special Army Super Camp IV Faskari in Katsina State.
- It is pertinent to note that a few setbacks were recorded as a result of engagements with bandits during the conduct of operations within the period under review. Such are the regrettable loss of 2 Officers and 4 brave soldiers who paid the supreme price in the cause of defending the dignity of our people.
- After diligent review of the numerous successes achieved so far and the need to finally eliminate all the remnant security challenges within the region, the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai during his last visit to Special Army Super Camp IV Faskari on 21 December 2020 graciously extended the duration of Operation SAHEL SANITY to last till March 2021 in order to consolidate on the gains so far achieved. During the visit he urged the troops not to rest on their oars but continue to sustain the tempo of the operation and dominate the entire region with confidence building patrols, ambushes and clearance operations until the remnant bandits and other criminal elements are completely eliminated from the region.
- The gallant troops of Op SAHEL SANITY are hereby commended for their gallantry, sacrifices, successes and professionalism exhibited within the period of Operation. The people of the North West zone of the country are also appreciated for their cooperation in providing timely information leading to the success of the operations. They are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with actionable information that would aid the desired goal of the operation. They are further reassured of the Nigerian Army’s commitment to restore total peace in the zone and indeed the country.
- The entire press family both in this zone and beyond are also appreciated for their professionalism, patriotism and unequaled commitment in our quest to restoring peace and normalcy in the North West zone of our dear country.
- Finally, we thank you most sincerely for coming to this press briefing. I wish you all a very Happy New Year and journey mercies back to your respective destinations.
Defence Media Operations
6 January 2020