The Nigerian Army has made it clear that it would soon flush out bandits, kidnappers and cattle-rustlers ravaging the Northwest with the re-organized operations of Exercise Harbin KunamaIII.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja at the Army Headquarters today, Friday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, said that the reorganization was necessary considering the resurgence of bandits, kidnappers and other criminals in the zone.
Buratai commended the Governors of the Northwest for the support they gave the army and its personnel in the past few months, even as he called on residents to be patient with the military as they prepare to flush out remnants of bandits and other criminals.
The Army Chief, who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Major General Lamid Adeosun said: “I am pleased to inform you all that the exercise has so far achieved tremendous successes within the past one month.
“Several bandits and criminal elements have been captured and killed while some camps, hideouts and equipment of the criminals have been destroyed.
“It has however been observed that there appear to be a resurgence of their activities in other contiguous States to Zamfara.
“This is occasioned by fleeing bandits that have resorted to attacking soft targets while relocating to other safe havens within contiguous States of Katsina and Sokoto.
“Current threat assessments revealed the migration of the bandits from their epicenter to other areas in Kaduna, Kano and Niger States.
“It is against this backdrop that Exercise HARBIN KUNAMA III is being re-organised and its mandate expanded to effectively ensure the complete defeat of the fleeing bandits.
“This is to restore public confidence and enhance safety while also ensuring socio-economic activities continue without fear or intimidation.
“It is on this premise that I want to plead with the general public to persevere in the face of seeming inconveniences due to restrictions that may be imposed in these areas while the Nigerian Army is conducting the exercise.
“The Nigerian Army mandate is aimed at building confidence and ensuring our country is rid of criminal elements that are poised to destabilize the normal life, rights and freedom of the people across the country as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
“I want to assure the general public that the Nigerian Army will carry out its constitutional mandate professionally and within the ambit of the law while adhering to the ROE.
“Consequently, I urge the general public to claim ownership of the security of the country and willfully avail us with credible information that will assist in flushing out subversive and criminal elements from their hideouts and safe haven.”