- The chief of army staff (COAS), Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, asks soldiers to protect themselves as army begins operation in Birnin Gwari and environs
- He says the military are no longer going to adopt the defensive approach but must go on the offensive
- Armed bandits kidnap 87 passengers along Kaduna highway
The chief of army staff (COAS), Lt-Gen Tukur Buratai, on Monday, May 14, charged troops to end the killings and destruction of property in Birnin Gwari local government in Kaduna state by armed bandits within three weeks.
Buratai gave the charge during the flag-off the 2 Battalion forward Operation Base (FOB) at the troubled Birnin-Gwari area of Kaduna state, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
”The killings must stop, the wanton destructions of properties must stop not only within Kaduna state but across the country.
”In the next two to three weeks there must be a very resounding results that will bring these criminals to their knees finally.”
He told the soldiers to protect them selves, adding ”If we cannot protect ourselves then we can’t protect any other person.
“Am saying this against the background of the unfortunate incident that happened here in this particular place where eleven of our colleagues where unfortunately killed in action.
“And after that there were one or two situation where our colleagues were also killed.
“Our training must be applied on ground wherever we find ourselves.
”That is the essence of us continuously getting training exercises to ensure that we become more professional, and to be professional means unnecessary casualties must be avoided and you must apply all the techniques and the procedures.”
He said commanders will be personally held responsible for unnecessary casualties, stressing that platoon and session commanders must pilot their troop effectively wherever they are deployed, whether stationary or on patrols.
”We are no longer going to adopt the defensive approach, it must be offensive. Since the battle has been brought to you, you must take it back and crush them wherever they are.
”The bandits are not coming from the moon or outer space, they are within this territory, so I don’t know why you cannot go to where they are and get them fished out.
”The commanders have briefed me thoroughly of your challenges and be rest assured we have already started addressing some of these challenges.
“We must respond decisively and commanders must be personally held responsible for any lapse ,they must decide and take appropriate action, and anything outside that, they must be held responsible.”
Earlier, when the COAS paid him a courtesy visit at his palace, the Emir of Birnin-Gwari, Alhaji Zubairu Mai- Gwari II expressed confidence in the army, saying with full military deployment, the bandits can be wiped out within a short period.
According to the Emir: “These people, the bandits cannot be contained by mounting of road block or staying on the road, so the security operatives have to take the fight to them in the bush otherwise they will continue to unleash mayhem.
“There are some special forces that came recently and performed wonderfully well.
“Please the Chief of Army Staff should bring them back. So if you bring these boys back and even superior officers and personnel, am sure you will finish them on time, because this is not Sambisa forest.
“And since the Chief of Army Staff is here, were are sure this thing will come to an end.” Said the Emir.
Vanguard reports that the bandits selected their victims from their look and dressing and herded them into the bush.
The kidnappings were confirmed by the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in the area, which cautioned its members from plying the route pending deployment of troop and other security agencies.
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