The Nigerian Army says it has rescued Major Christopher Datong, the senior military officer abducted at the Nigerian Defence Academy’s permanent site on August 24, through inter-agency collaboration.
In a statement released by Ezindu Idimah, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, the army said it rescued the officer with a minor injury after its troops arrived at a camp suspected to be the abductors’ hideout in the late hours of Friday, and exchanged fire with them.
“Following the directive of the Chief of Defence Staff and Service Chiefs for 1 Division Nigerian Army in conjunction with the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and all security agencies to conduct decisive operations to rescue Major CL Datong who was abducted at Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Permanent Site on 24 August 2021 and find the perpetrators dead or alive, the Division in conjunction with the Air Task Force, Department of State Services and other security agencies, immediately swung into action by conducting operations in the Afaka general area to find and rescue the officer,” read the statement.
“The operations were being conducted based on several leads received from various sources regarding the abductors and likely locations the officer was being held.
“The operations, which have been sustained since the abduction of the officer, proved quite successful and led to the destruction of several identified bandits’ camps in the Afaka- Birnin Gwari general area and neutralization of scores of bandits particularly, in the late hours of today, 17 September 2021, the troops arrived at a camp suspected to be the location where Maj CL Datong was being held.
“At the camp, the troops exchanged fire with the bandits for overwhelmed them superior fire. In the process, the gallant troops were able to rescue the abducted officer. However, the officer sustained a minor injury but has been treated in a medical facility and handed over to NDA for further action.”
The army vowed that its operations “will continue until we capture or neutralize the assailants that killed two (2) officers in the NDA on 24 August 2021”.
Major Datong was abducted on August 24 when assailants reported to be ‘bandits’ gained access to the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) in Afaka, Kaduna State, killing two officers.
Within hours of the abduction, multiple platforms reported that he had been killed and his body found, but FIJ’s findings confirmed that up till 10pm on the day of the abduction — hours after the supposed death was reported —the NDA still had proof of life from his captors.
FIJ had also exclusively reported that the terrorists got in touch with the NDA to demand a N200million ransom, but the defence academy was unwilling to enter any negotiation with Datong’s captors.
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