Usman said the operation followed intelligence on the activities of some gun runners and armed bandits in three villages in the area.
This is contained in a statement issued by Col. Sani Usman, the army spokesman on Saturday and made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Usman said the operation followed intelligence on the activities of some gun runners and armed bandits in three villages in the area, Kopa, Dagma and Gagaw.
The army spokesman explained that troops of 31 Artillery Brigade, 1 Division Nigerian Army, in conjunction with Nigeria Air Force detachment on Internal Security Operation MESA carried out the operation.
He said the troops recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition during the operation.
Usman listed them as three AK-47 rifles, 10 local AK-47 Rifles, nine locally made pistols, six revolver guns, which fires 7.62mm (Special ammunition) and 45 loaded dane guns.
Others are 10 clubs and cudgels, 41 arrows, 18 bow cases, 122 cutlasses and machetes, as well as 20 daggers.
Also recovered from the bandits, according to him, are 31 axes, 63 rounds of 7.62 (special) ammunition, 10 Bajaj motorcycles, assorted charms and amulets, two vehicles, 38 mobile telephone handsets, a wristwatch and five identity cards.
The others are passport photographs, N23,870, five Japanese Yen and 35 different denominations of old Nigerian currency, 15 catapults, eight torchlights, two gun powder bottles, four empty cases of ammunition and 41 cartridges.
``The troops also seized a military waist belt and a pair of military combat boots,’’ Usman said.
He, however, said that eight soldiers and two airmen lost their lives during the operation, while one soldier was still missing and two others seriously wounded.
``The suspected gun runners and armed bandits also burnt down four operational vehicles and vandalised two others.
``The bandits also carted away four AK-47 rifles and one Fabrique Nationale (FN) rifle belonging to the deceased soldiers,’’ he said.
According to him, contrary to statements attributed to some questionable vested interests, the troops were on legitimate official duty aimed at safeguarding lives and property of citizen in the area.
Usman said that the nefarious activities of the gun runners and armed bandits had direct bearing with the influx of weapons and general insecurity in some parts of the FCT and North West geo-political zone.
``The same gun runners have been confirmed to be the suppliers of arms to armed robbery gangs that were involved in series of armed robbery attacks along Minna-Bida road and the general environment,’’ he said.
Usman said that although the situation was under control, the military would not rest on its oars until all those involved were arrested and brought to justice.
``The military will continue to deal with any violent threat to our national security," he said.