The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has announced the extension of Exercise Sahel Sanity to March 2021 to completely knock out bandits from the North West.
Exercise Sahel Sanity is a military operation inaugurated by Buratai in July to tackle the menace of banditry, kidnapping, cattle rustling and other criminal activities in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto States.
Buratai disclosed this while briefing journalists during operational visit to the Special Army Super Camp 1V Faskari in Katsina State on Monday.
He said that Nigerian army had been able to stabilise the security situation in the North West since the commencement of Ex Sahel Sanity in July.
He said the exercise was initially planned to terminate by the end of 2020, adding that the troops had displayed high level of professionalism, loyalty and commitment.
“As you all know, we initially had the conception to run it for just a month or two but because of the exigencies of the situation, we extended to end of this year.
“The situation determines our line of action and having accessed the level of successes, we realised that if we call off the exercise at this point, there is likelihood of resurgence because the bandits and other criminals are determined,” he said.
According to him, they may lie low for now and then come up when they see that troops have withdrawn.
“We understand the situation and surely we are proceeding again to see how this exercise will be sustained further to the next three months that is from January to March 2021.
“This is the plan but if things stabilise before March 2021, we are likely to call it off but for now, we are going on to the first quarter of next year.
“We hope to reinforce this exercise in terms of personnel and equipment and we will ensure that we carry this important task to its logical conclusion,” he said.
The COAS said that the military had made tremendous progress through the exercise, adding that the high point of their success was the rescue of the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School Kankara, Katsina State.