from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – TROOPS from Nigeria and Benin have rescued 11 crewmen and five civilians kidnapped by pirates and bandits respectively.
Some 89 bandits were killed during separate operations.
Members of the Nigerian air force, army and police killed the militants in the northwestern Zamfara State.
Three females and two males were rescued while more than 300 cattle were recovered during the operation.
Among weapons recovered are AK 47 rifles, machine gun and pistols.
“The bandits’ camps were cleared by troops. The formal handover of kidnapped victims and rustled cows will be carried out following due process,” Major General John Enenche, the Defence spokesman, said.
Meanwhile, joint operations between the Nigerian and Benin navies rescued the crewmen on board a Portuguese flagged container ship in Benin territorial waters.
Suspected pirates attacked the vessel on April 18.
Some 19 crew members comprising Bulgarians, Philippines and Ukrainians were on board.
“However, eight crew members of the ship and the pirates could not be located on board the ship,” Enenche said.
He said the feat achieved by navies from Nigeria and Benin represented a significant step towards the heightening of efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to combat armed robbery, oil theft and piracy in the region.
The operations are under the Yaoundé (Cameroon) Declaration on the Gulf of Guinea Security.
– CAJ News