Troops deployed to enforce the state of Emergency in the north have apprehended in Maiduguri a key terrorist who specialises in recruiting young men into the fold of Boko Haram. He was arrested following a tip-off to the military command.
The troops in Yobe State, one of the three states under emergency rule, have also arrested 49 suspected Boko Haram terrorists in various locations in the state following a tip-off by residents.
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, who gave the information yesterday also added that another key suspect in charge of the insurgents’ armoury was arrested in one of the cordon and search operations by the Special Forces.
Olukolade also revealed that another group of five insurgents, all Nigeriens, were arrested when troops stormed their hideout at Mallam Fatori as they attempted to escape in a two Toyota Cruiser sport utility vehicle (SUV).
He said the troops had continued to patrol the notorious Sambisa forest and were cordoning off the Alou forest and Gwoza Hills; recovering more abandoned vehicles, weapons and other items in the camps of the insurgents.
According to him, among the recent findings are rifles, double barrel guns, various charms and amulets, machine guns as well as pairs of camouflage uniforms, bows and quiver and assorted rifle magazine.
"Others are handsets, walkie talkies, car number plates and some food items. Abandoned vehicles recovered include a Golf car, a Honda, a Customs pickup van, Honda (2003 model) and a Volkswagen Monte Carlo," he added.
In addition, the DDI confirmed that police stations are now being reopened in some parts of Borno State, adding that in Kirenowa, detachments of police anti-terrorist unit have been deployed to complement security in the area.
Concerning the Yobe operations, Olukolade said the arrests were made during cordon and search operation, which witnessed the recovery of various weapons including AK 47 rifles, locally made pistols and ammunition by the troops combing the vicinities of towns such as Rugan Fulani, Arikime, Afghanistan and Ngandu villages.
According to him, the Defence Headquarters Operation Assessment team led by Air Commodore B.E. Inyang was briefed in Damaturu that peace has been restored in Yobe by the troops.
He said that the team was also informed that all the camps of the terrorists in the area had been dislodged as some of the insurgents fled towards Niger Republic.
Meanwhile, a team of local and foreign journalists have commenced a tour of the operational areas of the Joint Task Force. The tour, organised by the Defence Headquarters, is to ensure that the media have a first-hand information on the situation in the operational areas.
However, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from West Africa has warned that Nigeria’s 2015 general election may be in jeopardy if the prolonged armed conflict in the North-east, exacerbated by the emergency rule, is not resolved soon.
It added that the prospects for the resolution of the crises remain gloomy, especially as the federal government has now adopted a hard line stance to what the CSOs termed an ‘undefined crises’ which has allegedly degenerated into gross human rights abuses by state security agents and militants alike.
In a communiqué signed by 16 CSOs across the sub-region, including Centre for Democracy and Development (Nigeria), West Africa Civil Society Forum (Nigeria) and Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (Nigeria), the organisations expressed reservations about holding elections in Mali given the lingering crisis in the country.
The communiqué was issued at the end of a two day strategy meeting in Accra, towards the organisation of a major regional annual convention later this year.