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#LOCAL: 27 killed in Borno, Kogi

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Instead of abating, cases of bloodletting and attacks appeared to be on the rise with scores of persons reportedly killed in separate insurgency and counter-insurgency strikes and operations across the country.

These came barely a month after President Muhammadu Buhari restated his commitment to restore security to the nation bedeviled by a slew of conflicts that have killed tens of thousands and showed little sign of ending.

As part of efforts to match President Buhari’s words with action, the 1 Division of the Nigerian Army said, yesterday, that it has killed 24 criminal elements during its operation Harbin Kunama III between Kano, Kaduna and Niger states in the last one month.

Operation Harbin Kunama III, launched on April 1 in Zamfara State was reorganised to capture some North-west states including Kano, Kaduna and Niger on June 10, to flush out criminal elements in division’s area of responsibility.

Briefing newsmen on the progress made so far, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) in charge of the division, Major General Faruq Yahaya, said the operation was determined to check, neutralise and destroy banditry activities in states that share borders with Zamfara, Katsina and Kebbi states.

The army boss said apart from neutralising 24 bandits and kidnappers and arresting 61 others, the operation also recovered N1.1 million cash, 56 assorted arms, 374 cows, 104 goats while 20 kidnapped victims were rescued.
“Our main focus is to take the fight to bandits and kidnappers in their hideouts, neutralise them and destroy their camps and these we have been doing with all sense responsibility and we shall continue to protect territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“During this exercise, we recorded some success. We neutralised 24 bandits, armed robbers and kidnappers. We also arrested 61 others.
“Other success include but not limited to 56 assorted arms, N1.1m cash, some fake US dollars, two vehicles, three motorcycles 374 cows, 104 goat.
“While our operations continue to record successes, we call on individuals to avail the troops with credible and timely  information instead of only reporting when the bandits and other criminals have inflicted their victims and fled.
“On our part, we are stepping up in intelligence gathering in conjunction with other security agencies and stakeholders and that is what has accounted for some of our recent gains and successes.
To curtail the general expression of fear by locals, especially in farming communities, he said, “the division is taking proactive measures which include the sustained tempo of exercise Harbin Kunama III operations in the division to boost the confidence of local communities to enable them go about their farms and other means of livelihood.”
But from the North Central region came the heart wrenching report that no fewer than seven persons were been killed in overnight attacks by suspected herdsmen in Koto-Karfe in Kogi Local Government Area of Kogi State.
It was gathered that the attacks took place on Tuesday around 2a.m and 3a.m.
Sources in Koton-Karfe said the suspected Fulani herdsmen divided themselves for the coordinated attack on the two communities.
It was gathered that three persons died on the spot during the attack, which lasted several hours.
Administrator of the Kogi Local Government, Muhammed Tanko who confirmed the attack, said security agents in the state were on the top of the situation.
He noted that the attack took them by surprise because the Koton-Karfi community was a peaceful community.
However, Kogi State Police/Public Relation Officer Mr. William Ayah said the Command was yet to be briefed about the attacks. the suspected herdsmen had hid in mountains surrounding the communities without the knowledge of the people.
“However, at about 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday the suspected herdsmen numbering over thirty fully armed with AK 47 and other dangerous weapons invaded the communities and opened fire on residents.”
In another incidence, suspected Islamist insurgents killed at least 20 civilians in a North-east village, a government-allied vigilante, government and a security source said, yesterday.
The militants struck the village of Ngamngam, Borno State, near the border with Niger, late on Monday and left early Tuesday, the government official said, declining to be identified because they, as well as the security source, were not authorised to speak to the media.
The insurgents reportedly executed at least 20 locals on their farms, while many of the rest fled to the nearby town of Damasak, the security source said.
Bakura Kachallah, a member of the pro-government vigilante group Civilian Joint Task Force, said he helped evacuate bodies of 20 or more people.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, though the security source said it had been Boko Haram, rather than rival insurgency Islamic State West Africa Province.
Last week, suicide bombers killed at least 30 people in an attack on the North-eastern town of Konduga, Sorno State

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