The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has launched ‘Operation Sahel Sanity’ to restore security to states of the North-west zone troubled by the menace of armed banditry.
The Army Chief disclosed this while interacting with Governor Aminu Bello Masari at the Government House in Katsina, as part of his working visit to the state.
General Buratai explained that the new operation had just started, as it was meant to flush out armed bandits from the forests that cut across Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger States.
He said his visit to the state was sequel to a Presidential directive to the armed forces to rid the north west zone of armed bandits that terrorize rural communities in the zone.
General Buratai said ‘Operation Sahel Sanity’ will be coordinated by the Eighth Division of the Nigerian Army which is based in Sokoto.
He noted that the operation will complement other ongoing operations such as ‘Operation Hadarin Daji’ that was launched by the Defence Headquarters earlier in the year.
He said ” ‘Sahel Sanity’ which is a land operation will trace the armed bandits in their hideouts and get rid of them once and for all”.
The Army Chief also announced that this year’s ‘Nigerian Army Day’ which was scheduled to be celebrated in Plateau State next week has been moved to Katsina State as a show of solidarity for the men of the armed forces prosecuting the war against armed banditry in forests of the North-west zone.
In his remarks, Governor Aminu Bello Masari expressed concern over the inability of farmers in the central and southern parts of the state to cultivate their farms this year.
He warned that if armed banditry is left to linger it will be hijicked by external forces that will make it difficult to overcome.
The governor pointed out that “the armed bandits that operate in these North-west forests do not operate on any ideology, they are only driven by criminality which makes it easier to deal with the problem.
He declared an end to the Amnesty pact which the state government signed with the bandits last year, noting that the state government entered the agreement from a point of weaknesses.
“Engaging armed bandits in peace talks is a waste of time, the only language they understand is force and the application of superior fire power, therefore I urge the Armed Forces to make this operation a complete crackdown on the bandits” Masari said.