The Nigerian army chief reiterated on Tuesday to step up fight against banditry in the northwestern region, and charged the combined troops of the armed forces to go deep into the bushes where illegal armed groups are hiding to deal with them.

Addressing troops during an operational visit in Gusau, capital of the northwestern state of Zamfara, the Chief of Army Staff Tukur Buratai said the asymmetric nature of the ongoing war against banditry in the region required painstaking effort to wipe out the criminals.

The northwestern region of Nigeria has faced problems with armed groups stealing cattle, kidnapping people for ransom and attacking local communities, causing civilian deaths, economic losses and panic in local communities.

He assured the troops of more and better equipment to prosecute the campaign against the criminals, saying it is in line with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to enhance the fighting power of the military.

“You must go deep inside the bush and pursue them until they are tactically defeated because we have what it takes to defeat them,” he said.

Buhari had in June warned the heads of the nation’s security agencies that excuses would no longer be tolerated and asked them to do more to secure the nation and its people.

Buhari met with the service chiefs against the backdrop of recent bandit attacks on communities in the region, including those in his home state, Katsina.

The attacks have left many people dead and injured in the affected states, while lots of properties were destroyed by the bandits.

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