Nigeria Police Headquarters has announced the killing of 250 high profile terrorists who have been kidnapping road users for ransom in the past one year.
The daring operation in Kuduru woodlands, in the besieged Birnin Gwari area, came on Wednesday morning, lasting for several hours, Force PRO Frank Mba said in a statement.
Mr Mba said the 250 people killed were “high-profile members” of the outlawed Ansaru terrorist group. The group reportedly contained elements that have been terrorising citizens through relentless kidnapping, armed robbery and other violent crimes across central Nigeria.
It was gathered the police did not lose any personnel during the operation, which he said was unprecedented for any security agency in the country due to the vast brain and manpower that was deployed in its planning.
“Absolutely not,” Mr Mba said repeatedly. “No security force in Nigeria has attended what we did. It was a very thorough and unprecedented operation.”
Mr Mba said the police have other similar raids planned across the country, and would not be “stampeded out” of proceeding with them, no matter the fallout.
Kuduru forest has long been a dreaded enclave of criminal gangs, with security agencies long suspecting that most of the deadly attacks in Birnin Gwari axis were carried out by elements that used the forest as a hideout.
It was unclear whether the police acted on a tip-off to launch the attack, and whether officers could tell for sure that all the 250 people killed were terrorists. Even though the police said they were all “high profile” terror suspects, no names were immediately released of the casualties.
The operation was carried out by a host of tactical police units, including the Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorism Unit (CTU), Special Forces, Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Special Tactical Squad (STS) and Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Two officers manning a police helicopter that was used in the operation were injured, but had been receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The operation came a few days Nigerians and some members of the National Assembly called on security chiefs to resign or be sacked as a result of the worsening situation in the country.