Nigerian military says armed bandits killed in crossfire

Li Jiayao

LAGOS, Aug. 24 (Xinhua) -- Military authority in Nigeria has confirmed the death of many heinous and notorious armed bandits in an encounter with troops in northwest Zamfara State.

Spokesperson for the Defense Headquarters (DHQ) John Agim told reporters on Friday in Gusau, the state capital, that over 6,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have returned home in the restive state.

Agim said the return of peace and security in Maradu, Shinkafi and Zurmi local government areas led to the massive return of the IDPs to their respective villages.

The defense spokesperson told reporters that farming and other economic activities had picked up again as bandits no longer had freedom to operate in such areas.

He said Zamfara which was once bedeviled by incessant killings due to banditry, cattle rustling, kidnappings and armed robbery was now assured of safety of lives and property.

He said with the support of air task force, the Operation Sharan Daji (OPSD) had recently launched series of air strikes against bandits' hideouts and camps.

According to him, the military operation had successfully neutralised a large number of armed bandits and destroyed their camps.

He said the momentum would be sustained, and that the tempo in the fight to wipe out criminalities in the state would also be increased.

Hundreds of people have been killed in attacks linked to cattle-rustling gangs in the northwest Nigeria's Zamfara state this year alone.

The state has witnessed several killings by armed bandits despite the deployment of soldiers there.

Cattle raiding has recently become a major crime in Nigeria, with the northern part of the most populous African country being the hardest hit.

Recently, security agencies in Sokoto, Katsina, Kaduna and Zamfara states said they were collaborating to tackle criminality in their areas of operation.

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