Nigerian troops kill gunmen, destroy hideouts in airstrikes

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Nigerian soldiers stand at the ready at the headquarters of the 120th Battalion in Goniri, Yobe State, in Nigeria's restive northeast on July 3, 2019. (Photo: AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nigerian soldiers stand at the ready at the headquarters of the 120th Battalion in Goniri, Yobe State, in Nigeria’s restive northeast on July 3, 2019. (Photo: AUDU MARTE/AFP/Getty Images)

The Nigerian military killed several gunmen and destroyed their hideouts in recent airstrikes in the country’s northwestern region, authorities said late Thursday.

The Operation Hadarin Daji targeted the Doumorou Forest in the northern state of Zamfara on Tuesday, destroying two big camps of the gunmen, a military statement said.

“Some key armed bandits’s leaders, as well as several of their fighters,” were killed during that operation based on credible intelligence, the statement said.

Nigerian authorities have been conducting multiple military operations in the northwestern region which has been wracked by years of violence.

A cave hideout led by a suspected criminal gang leader identified as Hassan Tagwaye was among those destroyed during the recent operations, the statement said.

Banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities became rampant in northwest Nigeria earlier this year, forcing tens of thousands of refugees to flee to neighbouring Niger since April and raised concerns about the deteriorating security situation, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

Nigeria’s military high command said recent operations have brought the situation under control.

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