DHQ allays fears on US warning on Al-Qaeda’s plans to infiltrate Southern Nigeria

• Says Nigerian Armed Forces on top of situation

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ), on Thursday, assured that there was no cause for alarm over the alert by the United States of America of plans by Islamic West Africa Province (ISWAP), Al-Qaeda and their allies to infiltrate Southern Nigeria after successful destabilisation of Mali and other neighbouring countries.

Fielding questions from Defence correspondents at the weekly media briefing on the activities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria on the various Operations to end insurgency activities in the country, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations ( DMO), Major General John Eneche declared that the alert was new and the members of the public should not entertain any concern about it.

According to him, “It’s just like a wake-up call, which is readily welcome, all the security agencies have that at the back of their plan and they factor it in their plans and implementation

“The general public should not be afraid of that at all. It’s not a new thing, it’s already in our schedule of activities

“Will I call it advice or our attention being drawn to the fact that terrorists from other zones are coming here? I think it would be good for us to be keeping records of events as they unfold

“For me, this is not the first time they are raising such an alarm. The alarm is as old as maybe five or ten years ago and the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the country is conscious of it

“When the conflict in Libya has declared officially that it ended, which did not end what happened, it was we, our NIA Department of State Services and all that raised the information that these people are moving

“Have we not captured foreigners among the people that have been terrorizing us in this country? So, it is just like a call to keep doing what you are doing. So the general public should know that the Security Agencies are on top of that one

“Recently we captured some in Niger State from our neighbouring country, where are they coming from? Why do we have ISWAP here now? Was ISWAP indigenous to Nigeria? No!

“So it’s just like telling you the obvious. And I want to take as advice to continue to ensure you have measures in place to continue checking them

“It was not accusive, it was not specific like saying; you people should put effort to continue to contain them because the pressure is put on them in other areas, they would increase their influx. There is no doubt that, that we already have that challenge as far back as when the war in Libya was declared, and even in Iraqi”

Speaking on the various Operations towards handle security challenges across the country from July 24 to August 6 this year, Gen Eneche disclosed that the gallant troops had recorded unprecedented successes as they put the camps of the bandits in total disarray with continue bombardment of their hideouts.

NORTH-WEST ZONE

According to him, “the Armed Forces of Nigeria have continued the aggressive clearance operations in the entire North-West zone of the country. Within the period under review, troops in the Joint Operations Area scaled-up kinetic and non-kinetic operations in the general areas of Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and adjoining states leading to the gradual restoration of overall human activities in the zone

“Recall that the activities of armed bandits, cattle rustlers and kidnappers and other sundry crimes hitherto made life unbearable for locals in the afore-mentioned areas. However, through the concerted efforts of Operations HADARIN DAJI, KATSINA, ACCORD and SAHEL SANITY, farmers have returned to their farms while other economic activities are gradually picking up across the zone
He further added that” within the period under review, troops continued to dominate the general area with clearance patrols, aggressive fighting patrols, raids, ambushes and confidence-building patrols.

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“This is additional to several air bombardments of identified bandits’ locations and hideouts, which has made it possible for the conduct of farming and other activities in the zone. These operations also resulted in the rescue of kidnapped victims, recovery of rustled livestock, the arrest of suspected armed bandits informants and collaborators in addition to the recoveries of a large cache of arms and ammunition, among others within the period”

SOUTH-SOUTH ZONE

General Eneche said that in addition ” Troops of Operation DELTA SAFE have intensified the fight against crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and illegal oil bunkering in the region with attendant successes. Within the period under review, Operation DELTA SAFE discovered and deactivated 25 illegal refining sites in Rivers, Cross Rivers and the Akwa Ibom States. Also, a total of 342, 000, 00 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined AGO were impounded.

“Subsidiary operations CALM WATERS II and SWIFT RESPONSE have continued to record remarkable successes. The successes recorded within the period include seizure of 141 x 50 kg bags of foreign parboiled rice as well as the arrest of boats involved in smuggling activities amongst others”

According to him, “as part of non-kinetic activities, Nigerian Navy Ship DELTA led a peace and reconciliation meeting with the stakeholders of Gbaramatu Kingdom of Warri South LGA of Delta State. The peace meeting was held following recent threats to disrupt oil and gas infrastructure by the people of Gbaramatu Kingdom. Accordingly, the Naval Base summoned a meeting with the key actors in the agitations

“The activists thanked the military for the timely intervention and promised to tow the path of peace. The meeting was fruitful as they promised to do all within their reach to forestall violence in the area. They also solicited for the cooperation of the military in providing security to the general area”

NORTHEAST ZONE

He further explained that within the period under review, the “troops executed various kinetic operations, including clearance operations, aggressive patrols and Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions, sustained air offensive operations as well as artillery and aerial bombardments on BHT/ISWAP enclaves

“As we engage in our kinetic operations, we also consider non-kinetic engagements in various quarters of the North East. Some of our non-kinetic operations involve humanitarian operations, which Operation SAFE CORRIDOR stands for

“Operation SAFE ” is a Defence Headquarters led non-kinetic multi-agency humanitarian operation established by the presidency, designed to De-radicalize, Rehabilitate and Reintegrated willingly surrendered and repentant Boko Haram combatants. In addition to the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other Law Enforcement and Security Agencies, 12 other Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies including NEDC as well as local and international NGOs collaborate and support the Operation.

“The Operation is guided by extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As Amended) and International Humanitarian and Human Right Laws. It may be recalled that, in one of our weekly press briefings, in which members of the Advisory Committee of the Operation were present, we briefed on the purpose and aim for which Operation SAFE CORRIDOR was established

“It is highly desirable at this moment, to further explain some key points about De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) programme in order to allay the fears of some members of the general public and reassure that, these individuals were duly profiled and confirmed to be; low risk and not low-risk repentants, who were ascertained to be innocent and forcefully conscripted to join the sects and are categorized as victims. Additionally, monitoring mechanisms have been put in place to monitor their activities in society”

NORTH-CENTRAL ZONE

He disclosed “In the North-Central zone, troops conducted Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities in addition to concerted Reconciliation and Conciliation efforts in the form of stakeholders’ meetings amongst the various ethnic groups in the zone.

According to him, “these non-kinetic efforts were supported by ongoing kinetic operations in the form of ambushes, raids, and clearance patrols at various locations which resulted in appreciable successes within the period under review

“Notably, between 30 July and 1 August 2020, Headquarters Operation SAFE HAVEN commenced the survey for the drilling of boreholes at Shimlang community in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau state and equally commissioned 2 other solar-powered boreholes at Messiah College and Gana Ropp communities in Barkin Ladi LGA of Plateau State.”

Gen Eneche said that the Military High Command commended all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other Security Agencies involved in various operations across the country for their commitment and professionalism while they were further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in curtailing the activities of terrorists, armed bandits and other criminals.

He added that the High Command of the Armed Forces also reassured the general public of its commitment to securing the country for all human activities to strive.

 

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