The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has launched ‘Operation Sahel Sanity’ to fight armed banditry in north-western states.
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.
He said the new operation would flush out armed bandits from forests that cut across Katsina, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger States.
He said his visit was a sequel to a Presidential directive to rid the northwest+-* zone of armed bandits that terrorize rural communities.
General Buratai said ‘Operation Sahel Sanity’ will be coordinated by the Eighth Division of the Nigerian Army based in Sokoto.
He said the operation will complement ‘Operation Hadarin Daji’ launched by the Defence Headquarters earlier in the year.
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 men of the armed forces prosecuting the war against armed banditry.
An end to the Amnesty pact
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 would be hijacked by external forces that would make it difficult to overcome.
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 firepower, therefore I urge the Armed Forces to make this operation a complete crackdown on the bandits,” Masari said.