The Nigerian Armed Forces reported Thursday that they have killed 30 suspected terrorists in a “mop-up patrol” in response to Friday’s attack on the presidential guard in the capital of Africa’s most populous country, Abuja, in which eight people were killed and three soldiers were wounded.
“Troops successfully cleared the villages of Kawu and Ido. As a result, about 30 terrorists were neutralized and their enclave and hideout destroyed,” said at a press conference on Thursday the major general and spokesman of the defense headquarters, Benard Onyeuko, as reported by the newspaper ‘Premium Times’.
The Nigerian military has used ground forces and attack aircraft in its “mop-up operation”.
“Troops from the 7th Guards Battalion and 167th Special Forces Battalion, together with the air component of Operation Whirl Punch, conducted a clearance patrol around the Bwari general area between July 24 and 26, 2022,” Onyeuko has added.
Thus, he specified that “the ground troops also recovered six motorcycles, two AK47 rifles and a fully loaded LMG magazine among others.”
The governor of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, confirmed on Tuesday an attack on the presidential guard in Abuja on Friday night in which eight people were killed and three soldiers wounded.
The soldiers, in charge of the security of the president and his family as well as other top officials, were ambushed while patrolling the Bwari area, a local governorate in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
That area is home to the Nigerian Law School and the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), the alleged target of the attackers, suspected members of the jihadist group Boko Haram as part of a possible expansion of terrorist and criminal networks in the country, many of which make their living from the kidnapping of students.
Attackers, suspected to belong to the jihadist group Boko Haram, have clashed Thursday night with the military in an exchange of fire at a checkpoint in the Zuma Rock Madalla area, on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
The attack occurred at 8:00 p.m. (local time) and it is not yet known if there are dead or wounded, as reported by the Nigerian television channel Channels Television.
This new incident comes amid growing insecurity in the area, which has forced the closure of all schools with “immediate effect” after a video circulated on social networks in which the suspects allegedly threatened to kidnap the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, and the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir Ahmad al Rufai.
The train connecting Abuja and Kaduna is considered a safer means of transport than the roads leading into this state, shaken for years by attacks by jihadist groups and criminal gangs that have increased their operations in recent months.
Attacks in Nigeria, previously centered in the northeastern part of the country — where Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), operate — have spread over the past few months to other areas in the north and northwest.