DHQ: Nearly 7,000 terrorists killed, 6,970 arrested in 12 months

AT least 6,886 terrorists and other suspected criminals were killed by the military during various operations across the country in 2023, the Defence Headquarters has said.

The military during the period in review also arrested 6,970 suspects while 4,488 kidnapped citizens were rescued across the country.

The Director of Defence Media Operations,  a Major General, Buba Edward, disclosed this in Abuja on Friday, December 29, while briefing journalists on the activities of the troops across the country in 2023.

He additionally mentioned that the troops’ efforts during the year resulted in retrieving 100 million litres of stolen crude oil and 60 million litres of diesel.

“During the period, troops neutralised 6,886 terrorists and other criminal elements. Troops arrested 6,970 suspects, rescued 4,488 kidnapped hostages as well as recovered 3,320 assorted weapons and 39,075 assorted ammunition.

“Additionally, troops recovered 100,316,600 litres of crude oil, 60,339,426 litres of AGO, 3,465,450 litres of DPK, and 3,544,990 litres of PMS. ‘”

While providing an update on the 2023 threats, Buba identified banditry, terrorism, kidnapping, oil theft, secessionist movements, and conflicts between farmers and herders as prominent concerns.

He further highlighted how these threat dynamics were defined along geographic regions, with some extending beyond regional boundaries.

Buba added that the predominant threat in the North Central and North West regions is armed banditry/terrorism while the Boko Haram Terrorists/Islamic State West African Province lingering insurgency remains the main threat in the North East region.

“The major threat in the South-East and South-West was the secessionist agitations of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and the Yoruba Nation respectively.

“The South-South region continued to experience oil theft, cultism, and youth restiveness. However, acts of criminalities such as kidnapping, armed robbery, communal clashes and cattle rustling were common across the  geopolitical zones,” he added.

Buba also conceded that the surge in the crime rate in 2023 could be attributed to the influx of small arms via porous borders and local arm fabrication within the country.

“It is pertinent to point out that most security threats in the country were fueled by the proliferation of small arms exacerbated by the influx of illegal arms and ammunition through our porous borders and the preponderance of local arms fabrication factories in the country.

“Thus, the armed forces’ kinetic and non-kinetic efforts were geared towards tackling these threats in all the geo-political zones, ” Buba said

Insecurity attacks in 2023

Nigeria has experienced a wave of violent attacks in, particularly in Benue, Niger, Zamafara, Sokoto, Plateau, and some southeastern states where a faction of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has been enforcing sit-at-home orders.

Data collated by The ICIR showed that between January and October 2023, 7,046 people were killed in violent attacks across Nigeria. 

This implied that an average of 24 persons were killed daily within the month under review. 

The ICIR gathered the data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a data bureau that collects real-time data on the locations, dates, actors, fatalities, and types of all reported political violence and protest events worldwide.

When broken down by geopolitical zone, states in the North-Central reported 1,589 deaths, the North-East reported 2,691 deaths, and the North-West region had 1,767 deaths.

According to the data, the states with the highest killings within the ten months are Zamfara (672 deaths), Niger (544 deaths), Benue (454 deaths) and Plateau (362 deaths).

The ICIR reports that Zamfara has remained one of the hotbeds for insecurity in Nigeria, following activities of terrorists who have terrorised the state for over a decade.

The ICIR reported at least 15 deaths resulting from terror attacks in Zamfara state between September and October, including 11 worshippers who were killed during Juma’at prayers at a community mosque in the Ruwan Jema community, Bukkuyum.

Terrorists in the state killed more than 100 people in January 2023 when a large number of men invaded at least nine villages and unleashed mayhem in violent attacks that lasted for about three days.



    Similarly, in Benue State, The ICIR has done extensive reports on how communities were attacked, resulting in several persons being killed. Some of the communities have been deserted as a result of insecurity.

    In April, four communities of Entekpa ward – Umogidi, Upu, Olakpoga and Iwili— in Otukpo local government area were attacked by militias with sophisticated weapons, leading to the deaths of at least 46 persons.

    The attacks on these communities on April 5 were just one of many that have occurred in recent times across the Idoma ‘nation’ and Benue State as a whole.

    Also, on December 24, about 96 people were killed in the attack by gunmen on several villages in the Plateau state, with many people also injured during the attacks. 

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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