The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has described the rescue of 344 students of the Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State, as a major achievement.
Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, made the observation on Thursday, while giving update on nationwide military operations from Dec. 17 to Dec. 23.
“That is a big plus to the Armed Forces.
“Not minding whatever any person would say, the most important thing is life — the lives of these kids.
“So, for us, it is a major achievement that even civilised societies, advanced armed forces and armies have acknowledged.
“I know that sooner than later, they will begin to ask us, how did you do it?
“When it (the rescue operation) is declassified, it will be appropriately communicated as a lesson in future.
“All the 344 students of Government Science Secondary School (in Kankara), who were abducted, were rescued alive,” he said.
Fielding questions on the rescue operation, Enenche explained that the exercise was handled professionally.
“Our operatives of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), worked with the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigeria Police.
“I must also give credit to the public and the vigilantes, the people that provide information for us; how they managed, how they cooperated was at peak,” he said.
Enenche noted that the professionalism exhibited by the military and other security agencies in rescuing the Kankara schoolboys got a boost from the public.
“Security was a collective business and not for security agencies alone,” he said.
He recalled that during the period, troops also rescued 39 abducted girls. who were returning from a religious programme at Nguwar Al-Kasim in Dandume Local Government Area of Katsina State.
He said that during the period under review, nine terrorists were eliminated at different locations in Borno.
He also said that a number of vehicles, arms and ammunition were either destroyed or captured from the insurgents.
Enenche said that bandits, who were linked to the recent killing of a Makurdi-based lawyer and his wife, engaged the troops in a firefight but were overwhelmed by superior firepower of the soldiers.
He noted that troops captured some arms and ammunition from the criminals during the encounter.
He also said that in the southern part of the county, troops carried out anti-illegal refinery and anti-crude oil theft/illegal bunkering operations daily.
“Seven illegal oil refining sites with 48 metal tanks, two dugout pits, three reservoirs, 10 ovens and six wooden boats were immobilised.
“One 8HP Yamaha engine and two pumping machines were also recovered.
“Also, 16,984.9 barrels of illegally refined crude oil, 1,428,000 litres of illegally refined AGO and 10,000 litres of DPK were seized from oil thieves,’’ he said.
Enenche said that in the south-western part of the country, troops of Operation Amotekun and other security networks in the area had continued to intensify the fight against economic saboteurs and other criminal elements in the area.
“Troops’ activities have drastically reduced pipeline vandalism and other criminal activities in the South West Zone.
“Within the period under review, 92 50-kg. bags of foreign rice, 1,500 litres of petrol and 79 bales of fairly used cloths were intercepted,’’ he said.
He said that two smugglers were arrested and handed over to appropriate prosecuting agency for further action.