The Nigerian military said it has intensified efforts in tracking down and arresting all collaborators of armed bandits and kidnappers in the country.

Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja while addressing journalists on the successes of military operations nationwide between November 12 and 18.

He said no fewer than three of the armed bandits’ collaborators were arrested in the North-West part of the country within the stated period.

He added that the bandits also suffered heavy casualties as several of them were killed while others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.

The defence spokesperson said that a large cache of arms and ammunition and other items were recovered by the troops during operations in the North-West while identified camps for bandits were also destroyed.

He said, "Based on credible information that a suspected bandit was sighted at Kukar Samu Village in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State, troops mobilised to the scene and arrested two suspected bandits’ collaborators named Nura Ibrahim and Abdullahi Yusuf while trying to escape with motorcycle belonging to bandits who fled on sighting troops.

"One Sabe Iliya from Muniya Village in Safana Local Government Area of Katsina State was also apprehended while pretending to be a farmer but was identified by locals as a bandit's informant."

Enenche explained that the military was working with new strategies with the aim to crackdown on the criminal elements and their accomplices.

Enenche said the troops within the period carried out a series of clearance operations, ambushes and aerial patrols, adding that on November 15, 2020, troops of Operation ACCORD while on night patrol at Yar Tasha Village made contact with armed bandits and engaged them in a gun duel.

He said, "During the encounter, three armed bandits were neutralized while others escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds. Three AK 47 rifles were recovered during the operation.

"Same day, troops deployed at Ungwan Doka, rescued one kidnapped victim named Adamu Yahaya. Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim was kidnapped at Unguwar Sa'ida Village in the Faskari Local Government Area of Katsina State. The victim has been reunited with his family.

"In a related development, within the period in focus, following credible intelligence on the presence of kidnappers in Garin Arawa of Tangaza Local Government Area of Sokoto State, troops immediately mobilised to the village and made contact with kidnappers. In the course of the encounter, one kidnapper was killed in contact while others escaped with gunshot wounds. Items recovered include one AK47 rifle, one magazine and one motorcycle.

"Equally, troops deployed at Jibia arrested two suspected kidnappers named Mallam Ismail Isah and Mallam Sale Samaila at Tsembe Kolumbo Village in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State.

"Similarly, one suspected bandit named Bello Ardo from Yargoje town in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State was arrested on 16 November 2020. He is currently in custody undergoing investigation.”

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