The troops also arrested 18 suspected bandits’ informants, rustlers, kidnappers and logistics suppliers.

In a statement signed by the task force’s acting spokesperson, Major Clement Abiade, a total of 40 abducted victims, all from communities in Zamfara State, were also rescued during the operations.

Rescued kidnap victims [Rakiya A Muhammad/Daily Trust] Rescued kidnap victims [Rakiya A Muhammad/Daily Trust]

He said a certain Muhammed Iso, who’s suspected to be a notorious kidnapper, was intercepted in Niger Republic in collaboration with other security agencies.

Major Abiade disclosed that troops have been conducting intense aggressive fighting patrols round the clock in the forest areas where bandits are suspected to carry out their nefarious activities.

He said the Air Component of the OPSD carried out several air strikes around Kagara, Gando, Fankama, Fete and Dumburum forests.

Weapons and items recovered from the bandits include four AK-47 rifles, two locally-made pump action rifles, 17 rounds of 7.62mm (special) ammunition, 20 cartridges, 10 motorcycles and two handsets. 94 rustled animals were also retrieved.

Zamfara has been terribly-hit with a wave of kidnappings and killings by bandits with the state becoming the face of insecurity in the country in the past few months.

The Federal Government recently suspended all mining activities in Zamfara following intelligence reports that suggested a connection between the activities of the bandits and illegal miners.

Major Abiade added in his statement that the commencement of Exercise Harbin Kunama III in April to complement OPSD has helped authorities curb the menace of bandits in Zamfara and other similarly troubled states like Kebbi, Katsina, Niger and Sokoto.

Source: NAN