Thirty-eight bandits and five police officers have been killed in an offensive carried out in parts of Nigeria’s North West Katsina state to rid the region of bandits that have continued to attack, kill and kidnap people.
The public relations officer of Katsina State Police Command, Mr Gambo Isa, who spoke on behalf of the Commissioner of Police, Mr Sanusi Buba, said on Thursday that during the operation, 874 suspected bandits were arrested and were undergoing profiling.
Reporting that the offensive against the rampaging bandits was carried out during the week, he said: “Indeed, it is no doubt a challenging period for the command.’’
"Nevertheless, the Command has recorded tremendous successes against the menace of banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery and other forms of crime and criminality in the state.”
While 2021 saw a reduction in crime rate in the state compared to the previous year, data show that at least 6,329 people were killed by bandits in the state.
The bandits have also kidnapped at least 1,367 people, including children and students, many of whom have been rescued after the payment of ransom.
Mr Isa said 244 suspected cattle rustlers were arrested, of whom 230 suspects have been charged in court while 14 are under investigation.
He said 215 kidnapped victims were also rescued from suspected bandits/kidnappers during the period under review.
"Some of the items recovered include 20 suspected stolen motor vehicles, 18 stolen/bandits’ motorcycles, 4 general purpose machine guns, 44 AK 47 riffles, 1 LAR riffle; 1 G3 Rifle; 20 locally made guns, 689 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition of AK 47 rifle and 109 anti-aircraft ammunition (AA).
Deal ruthlessly with bandits
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, has directed newly-promoted major generals and brigadier generals in the Nigerian army to be ruthless and brutal with bandits, terrorists, kidnappers and other criminal groups disturbing the peace of the country.
The COAS, gave the directive while decorating the officers with their new ranks at a decoration ceremony held at the army headquarters in Abuja.
Yahaya reminded the senior officers of their oath of allegiance to protect and defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
"You are aware of our security challenges. As senior officers, we must remain committed and focused in dealing with these challenges and it rests squarely on us to do that.
"What it requires is continuous commitment, dedication, boldness and courage, including very ruthless determination to succeed and determination to be ruthless with the terrorists, with the kidnappers, with bandits and all other violent criminals.
"2022 is here and it’s a political year and it has its own political undertones and we must remain focused and remain apolitical in discharging our responsibilities in ensuring peace and security and defence of our democracy.
"Anywhere we find ourselves deployed, it is our duty to carry these messages and see to it that we restore peace and security across board,” he said.