Idris Ahmed, Lokoja.
The terrorist group, known as Darul Salam, operating along Kogi and Nasarawa states border, has been smashed by soldiers of the “Operation whirl Stroke “at their camp inside Ittu forest in Toto local government area of Nasarawa state.
According to reports from Toto in Nasarawa state, the group believed to be an arm of Boko Haram, were said to have been earlier dislodged from Mokwa in Niger state, where they operated, killing, kidnapping and robbing people brazenly.
Residents of Ittu community disclosed that the first batch of the Darul Salam bandits came with cattle as herders and farmers and later engaged in preaching Islam, after which others continued to trickle in, in their scores and consequently formed a formidable force that almost over ran the area.
For over a decade now, the group has been kidnapping people from house to house and collecting ransom and those who failed to meet their demands were killed.
Their operations later extended to the Lokoja /Abuja road, where scores of people have been killed and hundreds kidnapped.
They became so emboldened that residents of some of the villages around the den in the forest have to relocate to other areas.
To test their strength, the terrorists in January this year, attacked Tawari village in Kogi local government area of Kogi state, killing over 20 people, destroyed properties worth billions of naira. Also Agbudu village in the same Kogi LGA was equally attacked in the month of July this year, killing 14 people from a single family.
Accordingly, the terrorists extended their tentacles to Nasarawa local government area, Abaji, Kuje, Kwali Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT), robbing, kidnapping and killing innocent people from house to house.
Following the acute criminal activities that almost consume the affected areas, Nasarawa state Governor, Abdulahi Sule had to visit President Muhammad Buhari to request for military assistance.
Last week, the military’s “Operation Whirl Stroke”, invaded the criminals’ den at Ittu forest in Umaisha district, Toto LGA of Nasarawa state, where assorted dangerous weapons were recovered and over 50 kidnapped persons including men and women were rescued.
According to reports the bandits engaged the security forces in a gun duel and despite their sophisticated weapons were subdue and routed out of the area.
Some were said to have been killed, while few others were believed to have escaped.
A statement from Kogi state government on Sunday night said motorists plying the Abuja/Lokoja highway can now heave a sigh of relief following the deadly blow dealt to kidnappers and criminal elements that have been terrorizing travelers on that axis for sometime now.
According to the statement, men of the Nigerian Army from the 177 Battalion and the Army Records Lokoja with supports from local vigilantes have cleared the camp of Darul salam, a terror group that has been carrying out its heinous operations on the border between Kogi and Nasarawa States for over eight years.
Darul Sallam camp which is located at Ittu comprises over 2,000 kidnappers, bandits and Boko Haram elements that have been responsible for most of the kidnappings and criminal activities perpetrated along the Abuja-Lokoja highway, the statement said.
“One of the suspects was shot dead while attempting to escape during the military clearing operations.
The logistics supports of the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello to the Nigerian Army helped in no small measure in the success recorded by men of the Nigerian Army in this latest operation”, the statement said.
Between last Saturday and Wednesday about 100 persons mostly women and children were rescued and taken to Lafia while yesterday at Achara in Tawari Ward of Kogi LGA, about 180 of family members of Darul Salam were captured.
The statement recalled that the Governor of Kogi State and Chairman, Security Committee, Northern Governors Forum during Eid-kabir celebrations told journalists in Okene that in days ahead he will lead security operatives into the forest to unleash terrors on criminals operating within the fore.
Gana Killing: Shehu Sani Condemns Military Action, Gives Reason Why The Surrendered Benue Most Wanted Criminal Shouldn’t Be Killed
Former Kaduna Senator Shehu Sani has reacted to the murder of Terwase Akwase, Benue’s most wanted criminal in the State.
Shehu Sani said it was wrong to kill the criminal even after he surrendered to the armed forces.
Recall that on Thursday the Nigerian Army confirmed the murder of Akwaza in Benue State, also known as Gana.
During a gun battle with soldiers along Gbese-Gboko-Makurdi road on Tuesday, Gana was killed.
The Commander, 4 Special Forces Command, Doma, Nasarawa State, Maj. -Gen confirming the incident. Moundhey Ali said the military gunned down Gana at an army-mounted roadblock.
Speaking to reporters, Ali said 40 armed Gana gang members were also captured during the operation.
He disclosed that the gang had recovered several rifles, pump-action guns, ammunition, charms, and explosives among other items.
Gana’s corpse was deposited in an undisclosed mortuary, he said.
This was after Gana had previously surrendered to the Government of the Benue State after an amnesty program extended to criminals.
But Sani, a prominent member of the 9th Assembly and former member of the All Progressive Congress, APC, said in reaction to the development that, “To ‘kill’ a person who ‘surrendered’ would discourage others from surrendering.”
Military Intercepts 86 Members Of ‘ Darul Salaam ‘ Islamic Sects In Kogi
Military troops of ‘Operation Nut Cracker’ has intercepted 86 persons suspected to be family members of ‘Darul Salam’ Islamic sect members along Kpareke-Koton-Karfe Road in Kogi State on Thursday. Maj. Gen. John Enenche, Coordinator, Defence Media Operations (DMO), who disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja, said preliminary investigation revealed that the suspects fled Uttu forest general area due to the ongoing military offensive on 3 September 2020.
The Coordinator also disclosed that 20 Sara Suka members and 35 criminals were apprehended in Plateau State during different raids. Eneche said all the arrested suspects are being profiled after which they will be handed over to the appropriate prosecuting agency for further action. The Coordinator also confirmed that on 8 September 2020, troops of Operation Ayem Akpatuma III killed Benue’s notorious and most wanted criminal Terwase Akwaza also known as Gana, during an encounter with troops around Gboko in Benue State. Eneche added that 40 members of the militia’s gang were also captured alongside arms and ammunition. But, the Coordinator declined further comments on the circumstances surrounding the extrajudicial killing of Gana, who was killed after reportedly embracing the Amnesty programme of the Benue State government. Giving further updates on the activities of the armed forces, Enenche said in North West region, troops killed 6 bandits, arrested one bandit informant and two bandits couriers with the sum of N1,565,550.00 during various operations.
The Coordinator noted that a bandit surrendered 3 AK 47 rifles, one SMG and 2 magazines. This, he said is in addition to various airstrikes targeted at identified bandits hideouts where several were killed boosting the confidence of the people in carrying out their human activities. READ Monday Juice: Originality of Destiny In the North-East zone, Enenche said troops of Operation Lafiya Dole killed 7 Boko Haram Terrorists arrested and cleared several ISWAP structures.
He added that the troops rescued 7 kidnapped victims comprising 2 women and 5 children and recovered one gun truck, 2 AK 47 rifles, one Dushka AA Gun, one PKT gun and one MG.
South African Actress Thandeka Mdeliswa Was Reported Shot Dead
Fans and loved ones of South African actress Thandeka Mdeliswa have been left in mourning after the screen star was shot dead.
The actress who is best known for her starring role as Khanya in the SABC 1 drama series Ikani is reported to have been shot at her family home in Evander, Mpumalanga.
It is gathered she had walked in on an argument between her older brother and two men on Thursday, September 3.
The argument turned violent and one of the men is said to have grabbed a gun from his friend and shot Thandeka.
She was rushed to the hospital where she later gave up the ghost.
In a statement released yesterday, her family said:
“It is with great sorrow that we inform you of the passing on of our dearest daughter.
“She was shot in Evander, Mpumalanga on Thursday 3 September 2020. She was immediately rushed to Evander hospital, stabilised then airlifted to Witbank after which she was transferred to Steve Biko Academic Hospital (Pretoria) as her condition was critical but stable. She passed on in the morning of the 5th September 2020 (Saturday).”
The family described the 27-year-old as “a young, talented and inspirational actress which her family and community were looking to see flourish”.
“The brutality which was inflicted on our daughter has left us deeply hurt. This is another incident of violence against women (Gender Based Violence) which our country has to fight against. We believe that justice will be served,” the statement said.
The police have identified the owner of the gun as Hlathi and also appealed for information regarding the star’s tragic death.
The police said in a statement that they are currently investigating the matter and no arrest has been made. The statement read;
“We are currently investigating this matter and we have not arrested anyone. recently, we brought the owner of the gun to book and we were advised to get the person who pulled the trigger. We are busy with our investigation. Anyone with information that can assist should approach the Evander Police Station or any police station around.”
SABC conveyed its condolences to her family, adding it was even more disturbed by news reports that her death came as a result of gunshot wounds in an apparent gender-based violence incident.
“The South African television industry has indeed been robbed of a young, talented and promising life, violently and senselessly taken away from our society in its prime.”
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