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A day after scores of residents of a Katsina community blocked a highway to protest incessant attacks by armed bandits, the presidency announced the commencement of a major military operation to sweep bandits and kidnappers out of the state.

Garba Shehu, President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, announced in a statement on Sunday that the president has ordered the commencement of the operation.

He said: “A major proactive operation by Special Forces, which details are being kept secret, is now in progress to replace the reactive strikes against insurgent camps.

”To give a full effect to the exercise, a planning team is already in the state selecting targets and making preparations for the execution of the “unprecedented” operation.

“The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, who has been measured in issuing official statements on the oncoming exercise, briefed the President on the plan he intends to flag off shortly.”

The presidential aide also quoted President Buhari to have expressed sadness over the recent attacks in the state and extended his condolences to the families of those killed as well as prayed for the recovery of the injured.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how hundreds of residents of Yangayya community in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State on Saturday blocked a highway to protest repeated attacks by armed bandits in the community.

Residents said the protest followed an attack in which many residents lost their valuables, many injured and women raped.

The residents said the bandits first attacked the community on Wednesday after iftar (break of fast) when the largely Muslim residents were about to go for their night (Isha) prayer in the mosque. They invaded the community, reportedly using over 70 motorcycles, looted shops and went away with valuables.

The bandits returned on Saturday around 8 a.m. During the attack, they raped and physically assaulted many women, with some of the women later hospitalised, a resident said, asking not to be named for security reasons.

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