Armed ViolenceNews

Police Arrest Two Foreign Jihadis In Niger After Military Airstrike

Two foreign terrorist collaborators, suspected to be members of Ansaru, a militant organisation that broke away from the Boko Haram group in 2012, have been arrested by operatives of the Nigeria Police on Monday.

The arrest took place at Kasuwan Ango, a community in Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State, following air raids conducted by the military.

In a statement released by the Defence Headquarters on Tuesday, it said the strikes were executed by the air component of Operation Gama Aiki, targeting “a group of armed bandits operating in the area”.

“The successful air operations were conducted on the night of June 28 and early hours of June 29, 2020, sequel to credible intelligence reports indicating that some armed bandits in black attire were seen on the move with a large number of rustled cattle in the area,” said Major General John Enenche, Defence Media Operations Coordinator.

“Accordingly, the Air Component dispatched a helicopter gunship to engage the bandits in multiple waves of attack leading to the neutralisation of some of the bandits, while a few escaped with gunshot wounds.

“Two of the escaping bandits, who happened to be foreigners, were later apprehended,” he added.

HumAngle learned that the arrests were made by the men of the Nigeria Police and the foreign jihadis have been involved in training and supporting armed groups in the region.

“The group launched an attack in some villages with the intention of kidnapping, rustling cattle and killing innocent citizens,” a member of the police force in Minna, who asked not to be identified, told this paper.

“The NAF deployed their aircraft which helped in neutralising some of the terrorists. They attempted to escape during the operation but the Nigeria Police were able to arrest the two foreign collaborators while they were fleeing with some of the injured members,” he added.

“The suspects are in our custody undergoing preliminary investigation before we transfer them to Abuja.”

Sources available to HumAngle revealed that corpses of the killed terrorists still litter the area where the operation took place while many members of the group escaped with serious injuries.

Bello Gwada, a vigilante group member, said they have deployed themselves to the villages in Shiroro local government area “to curtail any attempt of reprisal attack from the group and hopefully to apprehend some of the fleeing members”.

HumAngle pointed out on Friday that among several violent groups in the northwest and central regions, only Ansaru “fights under any banner of Islamic Jihadist motivation,” and terrorist groups are making advances to armed groups in the region.

While the prevailing trend is for armed groups in the northwest to be referred to as “bandits”, this paper believes this is no longer an accurate description considering realities on the ground, including the sheer scale of violence and the towering rates of fatality.

Additional reporting by ‘Kunle Adebajo

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