A key member of the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, Momogu Bama, has been killed by the Joint Task Force in Borno State.He met his death the same day with his father, Alhaji Abatcha Flatari, described as one of the spiritual leaders of the sect in an operation between the sect members and the JTF operatives in Bama.Momogu, the second-in-command to the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, had a N25m bounty put on his head by security agencies for information that could lead to his arrest.
The Director of Defence Information, Brig.- Gen Chris Olukolade, who confirmed his killing, described him as a vicious Boko Haram leader who took delight in personally slaughtering the sect’s victims.He added that Momogu was the expert in charge of mounting anti-aircraft weapons for the sect and coordinating members in Yobe and Adamawa states.Olukolade said in an electronic mail on Wednesday to one of our correspondents that Momogu was identified by insurgents arrested during one of the recent encounters between the JTF and the insurgents in Bama.He said, “As troops intensify pursuit of terrorists who have been unleashing mayhem in Borno and Yobe communities, the death of Momogu Bama, said to be the Second-in-Command to Shekau has been confirmed by other arrested terrorists.
This followed encounters with the terrorists around the Bama corridor. “Momogu Bama personally led the attacks against troops and innocent citizens in the communities of Yobe and Adamawa. A specialist in manning the anti-aircraft guns of the group, he is known to be vicious and heartless with a penchant for personally slaughtering and executing victims.“Momogu Bama has been a most wanted terrorist with a N25m bounty already placed on his head.”Olukolade, who added that the JTF had intensified aerial patrol to secure communities in Borno and Yobe states, said that 17 insurgents were killed and 24 arrested during the Bama encounter. “Others that died in the operation included Momogu’s father, Alhaji Flatari, who is also one of the spiritual guiding lights of the outlawed terrorists group. Seventeen other terrorists also lost their lives in the encounter while 24 were arrested.’’He said the JTF had intensified aerial patrol to secure communities in the two states. “The troops are continuing the pursuit of the terrorists while intensifying aggressive aerial and land patrols to ensure better security cover for the communities especially in the two states,” he said in the statement.Meanwhile, eight women may have been arrested in Maiduguri by the JTF operatives for using their veils to conceal guns for insurgents.A JTF source, who made this known did not say exactly when the women were arrested and the number of guns seized from them.
He stated that the operatives were stunned when they stopped the women and found out that what they were “transporting” with their veils were guns.He said, “The troops could not believe what they saw. A soldier just suspected the women and decided to stop them but when they were asked to unwrap what they were transporting, they hesitated, thereby making some of the soldiers to forcefully remove the veils. They saw a number of guns neatly concealed with the veils and the women were promptly arrested.”Olukolade said that the JTF in the North-East had intensified patrols in the north of Borno where 44 people were killed by Boko Haram members during an attack on a mosque on Sunday.He added that the JTF was combining aerial and ground patrols to ensure effective protection of the communities in the area.The DHQ spokesman said, “There is a regular and more aggressive patrol in the area; the patrols have been increased with the additional troops that are on the ground. “It is not possible to station troops in all the villages in the area because they are very far from each other.The solution is to step up patrols; we also have air patrol activities.” Also on Wednesday, the President of the Senate, David Mark; the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama’atu Nasril Islam joined in the condemnation of the killing of 44 worshippers in a mosque in Konduga. Mark, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Paul Mumeh, called on the security agencies to begin a review of their strategies against terrorism in the country.He described the incident as inhuman and barbaric, saying that “nothing can be so cruel and callous than this crime against humanity.”He lamented that the renewed hostilities were coming at a time people were heaving a sigh of relief .
The Senate President said, “The continued violence, killing of innocent and unarmed people and destruction of property by the insurgents cannot be justified or contribute towards achieving whatever their objectives may be.“There is a need for the perpetrators and their financers to make a U-turn and embrace peace. It is only a mad man that throws stone into the market place or village square without thinking about the consequences . The Federal Government has opened windows for peace and dialogue. These people should take advantage of them and end this violence.’’Also, CAN, through its President, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, expressed dismay over the Konduga massacre , describing it as callous.He challenged Islamic clerics to “muster the needed courage to expose those who are bent on bastadising the good face of Islam.”According to him, Islamic leaders should not relent in their efforts “to combat the nefarious activities of the militant sect since they adopt new tactics every day.”The CAN President, in a statement on Wednesday by his Special Assistant (Media), Mr. Kenny Ashaka, said the Sunday massacre was not only condemnable but a cowardly act against people fulfilling their spiritual obligation .He said, “Nobody should be killed in the first place, much less of being murdered at a place of worship.
Whatever people may have learnt that make them behave in such manner should be condemned by all Nigerians. As a Christian body, CAN will continue to condemn these heinous acts of the enemies of unity and agents of death. “Those betraying their fellow Muslims by working underground with enemies of the nation should also be fished out and dealt with in accordance with the laws of the land.”In its own statement, the JNI which is led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, called for investigation into the killings. It noted that despite the emergency rule in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states, killings by insurgents had continued unabated. It specifically wondered how the killings were carried out considering the heavy presence of military men in an area where over 40 uslims lost their lives while worshipping. In the statement by its Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Aliyu, the JNI said it received “with consternation and daze, the senseless killings that occurred at police and military formations in Bama, Malam Fatori, Borno State, which was climaxed with another senseless killings of innocent worshippers during early dawn prayers at a mosque in Konduga some kilometres away from Maiduguri, Borno State.”