Armed ViolenceNews

Army Officers On Training Exercise, Encounter Terrorists In Jaji Forest

Nigerian Army Officers on routine infantry training exercise in a forest area in Jaji, about 35 km northeast of Kaduna on Wednesday ran into some terrorists known for banditry in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Northwest Nigeria.

The Army officers were conducting a ‘Bush exercise’ as part of Nigerian Army School of Infantry programs for officers undergoing Commanders Course and Commanding Officers’ Course training in Jaji Military Cantonment.

While there was no casualty recorded during the encounter, HumAngle was informed that the armed escorts attached to the officers quickly engaged the terrorists.

A source said there were a few injuries among the military personnel, adding that the terrorists were likely unaware a military training exercise was going to take place in the area at the time. 

Forest areas are routinely used by the military for the training of soldiers and officers.  This incident is expected to raise concerns about bandits encroaching into training areas. 

Jaji cantonment is home to various military formations such as Combat training schools, and the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, a citadel of Nigerian military training for officers.

Over the past few years, Kaduna has suffered from security threats including cattle rustling, deadly raids and kidnapping targeting communities and commuters.

On November 17, a joint land and air operation targeted a bandit camp along Abuja – Kaduna Highway.

John Enenche, Defence Spokesperson,  said the military neutralized several armed bandits in a joint offensive operation to clear identified bandits’ camp around Kuku area of Kagarko Local Government Area along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway axis of Kaduna State.

” The operation was executed yesterday, 17 November 2020, on the heels of credible Human Intelligence reports indicating that a cluster of huts and other structures at the location served as a hideout for a notorious bandits’ leader, named “Major”, along with his fighters,” said Enenche, a Major General.

He added that the first wave of the Air air strikes involved six Nigerian Air Force (NAF) aircraft undertaking five missions in a total of 13 sorties.

While the second wave of attacks was executed by NAF helicopter gunships which, while continuing to engage the terrorists’ location, also provided close air support to the land component as they advanced from Kagarko via Kuku into the terrorists’ enclave.

“This paved way for the ground troops to overrun and destroy the camp without effective resistance from the bandits. A NAF Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft remained airborne providing situational awareness for the troops throughout the operation,” he said.

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Murtala Abdullahi

Abdullahi Murtala is a researcher and reporter. His expertise is in conflict reporting, climate and environmental justice, and charting the security trends in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region. He founded the Goro Initiative and contributes to dialogues, publications and think-tanks that report on climate change and human security. He tweets via @murtalaibin

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