By Okodili Ndidi Abuja
There may be respite for members of Regular Course 35, 36 and 37, as the Defence Headquarters, Thursday, allayed fears of mass retirement in the military, following the appointment of Major General Farouk Yahaya as the Chief of Army Staff.
Yahaya is a member of Regular Course 37; he replaced the late COAS, Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, who died in a plane crash.
The media was awash with reports of sacking of members of Course 35, 36 and 37, who are mainly Generals in line with military tradition.
But the Acting Director Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko, during a press conference with Defence Correspondents, said retirement for senior officers is only on voluntary basis.
According to him, “at this point you are all aware of the appointment of the new Chief of Army Staff, Major General Farouk Yahaya. This has stirred up lot of rumours in the media about mass retirements in the military. I wish to use this medium to dispel such unfounded rumours. Retirement is only on voluntary basis for senior officers who desire to do so. At this point, no retirements has been authorized by the Military High Command”.
Meanwhile giving update on military operations across the country, Onyeuko noted that the “un-relenting and committed” efforts of the troops have boosted the fight against all forms of criminality in the country.
He said, “within the period in focus, troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria intensified their operational efforts in the fight against terrorism, banditry, hoodlums and militancy as well as other criminalities across all the geo-political zones of the Country. Troops conducted series of clearance patrols, ambush, raid, picketing, cordon and search operations as well as artillery bombardments.
“Others are anti-piracy, anti-illegal oil bunkering, anti-crude oil theft, anti-pipeline vandalism and anti-smuggling operations were also conducted within the period. There were also extensive air operations, which included air patrols, Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions, offensive air strikes, air interdictions, search and rescue operations as well as close air support for ground troops. These operations within the period yielded appreciable results.”
He continued that, “the troops of Operation HADIN KAI between 20 May and 2 June 2021 carried out series of operational activities. They rescued kidnapped victims, neutralized scores of terrorists, destroyed terrorists’ enclaves, arrested terrorists and intercepted terrorists’ logistics items including vehicles.
“On 20 May 2021, troops had contact and engaged BHT criminal elements in Gwoza LGA of Borno State. This occurred as troops swiftly responded to a distress call by farmers on attack on their location. Troops gallantly rescued the farmers. During the encounter, several terrorists were neutralized, while some others escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.
“Also on same day, troops while conducting aggressive clearance operation on BHT’s hideouts at Ngaiwa, Tongunle, Washelle, Mo’o, Mudollo, Mugdalla and Amtul villages, all in Dikwa LGA of Borno State, killed scores of the terrorists and recovered large caches of arms and ammunition.
“In related developments between 21 and 25 May, troops conducted cordon and search, raid operations and arrested BHT logistics suppliers at Ngamdu Town in Kaga LGA of Borno State, New Barracks Location along Damaturu – Potiskum road as well as Kukareta Town in Damaturu LGA of Yobe State. Items recovered during the operation include; large numbers of jerry can and drums of PMS, assorted arms and ammunition and assorted logistics items.
“This large consignment of logistics has drastically dislocated the terrorists’ logistics network in the region. Meanwhile on 23 May 2021, the Air Task Force of Operation HADIN KAI conducted an extensive air interdiction missions near Gudumbali in Guzamal LGA and the Toumbuns of Lake Chad of Borno State. The air interdiction missions executed with various NAF platforms resulted in the neutralization of scores of BHT criminal elements and destruction of their camps and logistics facilities.”
On Operation Hadarin Daji, Onyeuko informed that, “between 20 May and 2 June 2021, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI conducted and executed series of concurrent operations. These operations led to the arrest of kidnappers/bandits and gun runners, rescue of kidnapped victims, repelling of armed bandits’ attack and neutralization of scores of armed bandits as well as recovery of caches of arms and ammunition.
“These operational achievements were recorded during troops’ aggressive patrols’ response to distress calls as well raid and ambush operations. The operations were executed at Jalawa Village in Kibiya LGA of Kano State; Shombo Warari Market Road in Rijau LGA of Niger State; Lugu Village in Wurno LGA of Sokoto State; Hayin Daudu Village under Mada District in Gusau LGA of Zamfara State; Dangeza Road in Batsari LGA of Katsina State.”