At least 70 gunmen killed in Nigerian military operation

Nigerian Army soldiers stand at a base in Baga on August 2, 2019. (Photo by AUDU MARTE / AFP) (Photo credit should read AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian Army soldiers stand at a base in Baga. (Photo credit AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 70 gunmen were killed in an operation launched by the military in Nigeria’s northwestern state of Kaduna, a military spokesman said on Saturday.

John Enenche, spokesman for the military, told the media that the gunmen, believed by the authorities to be armed bandits and cattle rustlers, were killed in the Kashia forest, one of their hideouts in the state, on Friday.

The ongoing Operation Accord is one of the multiple military operations in Nigeria’s northwest region that has been wracked by years of violence.

Enenche said troops pursued the bandits through the Chikun local government area of the state into the forest and consequently engaged helicopter gunships to hit their hideout. Many others escaped with injuries while an exploitation operation is still being carried out by the troops in the forest.

Banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities have recently become rampant in the northwest region. The military high command said they are in control of the situation with multiple ongoing operations against the gunmen.

A week ago, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the military to intensify their operations in that part of the country, particularly to root out the gunmen.