The ongoing military offensive against members of Boko Haram sect has extended to Cameroun, which the fleeing terrorists have carved out as their safe haven from where they carry out cross border attacks.
This was confirmed by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, who noted that the military joint efforts with neighbouring countries in pursuit of the insurgents are yielding results.
Olukolade said the resolve for collaborative efforts in fighting terrorism in the sub-region got the recent boost when the Cameroun security forces, assisting Nigerian military made a huge seizure of arms apparently meant for use by the terrorists operating in the country last weekend.
He disclosed that over 288 rifles and 35 rocket propelled guns as well as 35 locally made IEDs were recovered after a fierce encounter at Abugasse, Cameroun, close to the Chadian border.
He listed other weapons recovered to include pistols, mortar bombs, sub-machine guns and various calibres of ammunition following the arrest of two suspects believed to be major arms suppliers to the terrorists in Nigeria.
He said the two men were nabbed in Abugasse near the Chadian border with Cameroun, and their possession were over 50 (Camerounian) Passports as well as a Toyota Jeep.
The Camerounian authorities recently pledged to back Nigeriaâ€™s counter terrorism efforts.
Also, Olukolade said the renewed offensive on terrorists by Nigerian troops had continued to record series of arrests of terrorists and recovery of arms especially close to the nationâ€™s border with Cameroun.
He noted that apart from arms recovered following disclosure from captured terrorists lately, more arms had been captured in the ongoing offensive in different fronts.
He said: “The arrest at a check point of a terrorist driving in a green Peugeot vehicle with registration Number Bauchi 264 AA heading to Maiduguri from Alagarno during the weekend, led to the recovery of 15 AK47 rifles and 12 magazines and various yet to be assembled rifles.
“Meanwhile, the offensive on terrorists in various fronts is continuing. The Alagarno area as well as various points of Sambisa forest and suburbs have been witnessing intense operations since Monday.
“Apart from several dead terrorists, 14 vehicles which were either being used for operation or hidden by the terrorists in various parts of the forests and theatres have been destroyed.”
The DDI added that various calibres of weapons and ammunition were also recovered in the course of fighting and subsequent cordon and search of the areas.
He further promised that intensive air and ground surveillance are also ongoing in the general area.
In another development, the police in Lagos have arrested two suspected international gun smugglers who have been on the police wanted list for a long time.
The suspects who were identified as 48-year-old Olatunji Tunbosun and Abdulazeez Amao, were arrested for allegedly smuggling arms and ammunition from Mali to Nigeria and selling them to criminals, particularly crude oil thieves based in Niger Delta.
Led by the Officer-in-Charge (OC), SP Abba Kyari, the operatives stormed the suspect’s hideout in Ibadan, Oyo State, arrested them and recovered a total of about 10 AK47 rifles and 19 AK 47 magazines fully loaded.
It was gathered that the suspect had successfully smuggled weapons into the country from Mali through Burkina Faso for years without being arrested because they always carefully conceal the weapons in sacks of yam flour.
The state Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, who confirmed this while parading the suspects yesterday at the command headquarters in Ikeja, said they were tipped off that Tunbosun was stockpiling arms arms and ammunition at the Ikorodu area of the state.
Based on confirmation of the source of that information, he said the OC SARS was detailed to investigate and they traced the suspect to a village in Ikorodu where he was arrested
He said, “During interrogation, the suspect told the police that a member of the gang, Amao, who is in charge of smuggling the arms to Nigeria lives in Ibadan, Oyo State and based on this, we traced him to Ayegun Adesun area, Olomi bus stop, Ibadan.
“Eventually 10 AK 47 rifles with serial number UY472072, 8403662, 1625, 1978MG,-16939, 026909, 1953CEH6248, 00569, 19750N44, and 56318149 were recovered from his house.”