Fourteen gunmen have been killed after troops of the Nigerian Army cleared terrorists hideouts in Borno State.
The troops, attached to Operation Hadin Kai, in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force cleared the terror-merchants’ hiding place, rescuing scores from the dungeons and arresting at least 15 terrorists.
Disclosing this at a briefing on Thursday, military spokesman, Major General Bernard Onyeuko said this was part of the feat attained by troops within the Northeast in the last two weeks.
General Onyeuko revealed that land and air troops of the Nigerian military invaded some hideouts of Boko Haram and Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists located at Amdaga, Balazola, Ndakaine, Jango, Sabah and Gobara, all in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State.
The terrorists reportedly fled in disarray due to the superior fire power from the soldiers, thus abandoning their properties and family members, most of which made up the number of persons rescued in the mission.
According to the military spokesman, 100 family members of the terrorists comprising 33 women and 67 children were extricated.
The soldiers also recovered a truck belonging to the Borno State Road Maintenance Agency, one which was stolen by terrorists along the old Marte Road in February.
Similarly, troops on fighting patrol along Ashigashiya, Kodele, and Apagaluwa in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State encountered terrorists herders who engaged troops in a fierce gun battle, the terrorists were overpowered, and they fled, leaving troops to recover 40 sheep.
General Onyeuko further disclosed that within the weeks under review troops also conducted robust, aggressive patrol, repelling attacks by terrorists at Firm Base Arege in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State.
Cumulatively, troops recovered 10 AK 47 rifles, 5 AK 56 rifles, 2 FN rifles, 227 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 7 AK 47 magazines, 1 PKM gun. 1 AA gun, 164 rounds of AA ammunition, 111 Shilka ammunition, 1 gun truck, 1 shilka barrel, 2 dane guns, 2 Improvised Explosive Device, 1 car engine, 4 trollies and one water pump machine.
Onyeuko said all arrested, rescued terrorist families and recovered items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
Hunters in the North-East have killed a Boko Haram commander and his deputy during a clash in Shaffa Taku, a village in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State.
This is according to the Chairman and Commander of hunters and vigilantes (Sarkin Baka) in the region, Mohammed Shawulu-Yohanna.
In a telephone conversation with Channels Television, Yohanna revealed that an AK-47 rifle and a motorcycle used by the terrorists were recovered and would soon be handed over to the Nigerian military in Biu.
“Yes, we acted on an intelligence about the movement of the insurgents who have been terrorising communities in the last two weeks,” he said.
“Upon receiving the information, I mobilised my team and stormed the spot in the evening at Shaffa Taku, which is a deserted community in Damboa.
“Luckily, we sighted the terrorists numbering more than 20 riding on motorcycles.
“We engaged them in a gun battle, and we were able to kill the Commander and his deputy, while several others fled with gunshot wounds.”
The hunters are known to assist the military in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents.
Shaffa Taku is located in the heart of Sambisa forest, which is a Boko Haram hideout.
Despite recent gains by the military, the insurgents continue to terrorise several communities in the region, including Mandaragirau in Biu, Sabon Gari in Damboa and other villages in Askira-Uba council.
The Theatre Command of Joint Task Force ‘Operation Hadin Kai’ in the North-East is yet to confirm the report on the killing of scores of farmers in Rann, the headquarters of Kala-Balge Local Government Council in Borno State.
Theatre Commander Major-General Christopher Musa said investigations are ongoing to confirm the nature of what transpired.
According to reports, at least 45 farmers were killed and buried on Monday while many others are yet to be accounted for.
Meanwhile AFP reported on Tuesday, quoting two militia leaders, that Jihadists killed 30 men in a revenge attack after their commanders died in military air strikes in Borno.
Fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) seized the men in Mudu village in the Dikwa area on Saturday, the militia leaders said.
News of the incident emerged late due to poor communication as a result of the destruction of telecom towers by jihadists in the region.
“Most of the 30 men were slaughtered by ISWAP terrorists while a few who tried to flee were shot,” militia leader Babakura Kolo told AFP from the regional capital, Maiduguri.
“They were metal scrap scavengers who were in the area in search of burnt vehicles which dot villages in northern Borno following attacks by the terrorists,” he said.
He said the men had trekked from the town of Rann, 80 kilometres away, where they lived in camps for people displaced by the jihadist violence.
Another militia leader Umar Ari said ISWAP had accused the slain men of passing information on their positions to the military in the area.
“The 30 men were unlucky to have been in the area at that time when the terrorists were grieving the death of their two commanders killed in a military operation,” Ari told AFP.
In recent weeks, Nigerian military have carried out successful ground and air assaults against ISWAP and rival Boko Haram fighters, killing several high-profile Jihadist commanders.
ISWAP split from mainstream Boko Haram in 2016 and rose to become a dominant group in the region.
The two groups have increasingly been targeting civilians, particularly loggers, farmers and herders, accusing them of spying on them.
The jihadist violence has killed over 40,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in the northeast since 2009, according to the UN.
Most of the displaced who live in camps rely on food handouts from aid agencies, forcing many to turn to felling trees in the arid region for firewood and scavenging for metal scraps which they sell to buy food.
Local authorities have been returning the displaced back to their homes despite serious concerns about their safety.
The jihadist uprising has spread to neighbouring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military coalition to fight the insurgents.
Ahead of the primaries of the All Progressives Congress, a coalition of about 150 civil society organisations, associations and clubs have presented a N50 million cheque to Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State to recontest in 2023.
Coalition for Zulum Good Governance and Continuity stormed the Government House in Maiduguri and presented the cheque, asking him to buy the nomination form in order to bring total peace in the State.
Borno has been at the centre of a deadly insurgency that has ravaged the North-East since 2009.
There are no details of the attack at this moment, but the military is reportedly engaging the criminals.
This attack comes months after gunmen attacked three communities: Kawtakare, Korohuma, and Pemi in the Local Government Area.
Four persons were reported killed and 110 buildings were burnt in the attack.
Chairman of Chibok Local Government Area, Umar Ibrahim while briefing Governor Babagana Zulum who visited days after the attack, said 24 people were also abducted.
Chibok community first came into the limelight in 2014 after Boko Haram insurgents attacked a Government Girls Secondary School in the community, and abducted over 200 school girls.
While some managed to escape from their abductors and others were rescued through government interventions, many remain unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, earlier today visited the state where he met with Governor Zulum and later embarked on a field mission where he met families affected by the Boko Haram conflict ravaging the region for more than 12 years.
Guterres is expected to meet President Muhammadu Buhari and other top government officials on Wednesday.
Scores of bandits including one leader have been killed following military airstrikes on Boko Haram enclaves within Katsina State.
In a statement on Thursday, Defense Spokesman, Major General Benard Onyeuko, said the troops of Operation Hadarin Daji within the period under review conducted several operations at different locations, all of which yielded positive results geared at ousting the terrorists.
Some of the areas include Manya Village in Anka Local Government Area, Gidan Wanzamai village, Babege village in Maru Local Government Area, Mada, Tudun Wada, Butsa and South Rafi in Gusau Local Government Area, Kaura Namoda, Getawa, Ungwan Kade, Ahole, and Totsari villages in Zamfara State. Others are Magamar Village, Feru in Jibia Local Government Area, Guga Village in Bakori Local Government Area, Yantumaki, Kaiga in Danmusa Local Government Area of Katsina State.
General Onyeuko noted that the air component of Operation Hadarin Daji conducted airstrikes on Boko Haram enclaves at Magama Village, Tsaunin Babare village, and Tsamben Babare village in Jibia Local Government Area of Katsina State where a notorious bandit leader, one Mallam Dogo Umaru, and scores of his foot soldier were neutralized.
He stressed that cumulatively, these operations resulted in the recovery of 10 AK 47 rifles, 100 rounds of 6.2mm ammunition, 20 motorcycles, 40 herds of rustled cows, 50 rams. Troops also rescued 10 kidnapped civilians, arrested 10 bandits, and neutralized 10 bandits. According to General Onyeuko, all arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities.
Boko Haram and other insurgent groups recruited over 8,000 girls and boys as child soldiers in 13 years, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Monday.
The agency’s comment came in a statement issued to mark the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, otherwise called the “Red Hand Day”.
“For 13 years, armed conflict in north-east Nigeria has claimed thousands of lives and disrupted livelihoods and access to essential services for children and their families,” UNICEF said.
“Nearly one million homes and 5,000 classrooms have been razed in the protracted armed conflict. Since 2009, more than 8,000 girls and boys have been recruited and used as child soldiers in different roles by armed groups.”
According to the UNICEF Chief of Maiduguri Field Office, Phuong T. Nguyen, such development should end immediately.
“It is unacceptable and unconscionable that girls and boys continue to serve on the frontlines of a conflict they did not start,” Phuong added.
UNICEF while calling on the Nigerian government to sign the Handover Protocol, said the move would end the detention of children previously associated with armed groups. The protocol, it said, would also ensure that children “encountered during military and security operations are transferred from military custody to civilian child protection actors to support their reintegration into society through the provision of family tracing and reunification services and medical, educational, and psychosocial recovery services”.
Phuong, who admitted that children are severely affected by conflicts, however, called for more protection for them.
“Every day of delay in the custody of armed groups is a tragedy with grave implications for the children, families, and Nigerian society as a whole,” the UN chief noted.
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State has warned the Federal Government against relenting in its terrorism fight, admitting that the Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) has continued to grow.
The governor said this during the weekly ministerial briefing at the State House on Thursday. According to him, this is an early call to the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to fix gaps in the fight against insurgency by considering, as a matter of utmost importance, the need to engage external mercenaries for support.
While lamenting the growing number of ISWAP members in some parts of Borno, the governor insisted that sanitizing the recruitment process of the security agencies is fundamental otherwise the country’s progress in war will be diminished.
His parents, who live in Yobe State, said they had received a disturbing call on Sunday morning from the school authority asking them to come over.
“Though in critical condition, he is breathing normally, I thank God that he is still breathing. The person who did this thing to him must be a serious criminal. This is a heinous crime to get hold of a small boy like this and slit his throat it’s terrible. The CID came and they met me here and I am sure they are on top of it,” his guardian told Channels Television.
Also speaking to journalists, the principal of the junior section of the school, Kashim Ibrahim Abdullahi said: “This incident happened in the night and was after the prep time. I was in my house in the quarters of the Elkanemi College when the students ran to me and said somebody was bleeding terribly. So, I picked my car and rushed the boy to the state specialist hospital where the doctor referred us to the trauma center here in the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
“The child has been given a befitting treatment and an operation before he was brought to the Intensive Care Unit”.
Family sources say Jubril’s vocal cavity was affected by the injury but he has been able to scribble some details of what happened on the night he was assaulted.
The school authorities also denied allegations of an attempt to shroud the act in secrecy in order to set the perpetrator free.
“We are going to stand to see that justice is given; we are not going to support anybody that will do this heinous act. We are a school of Islamic theology and this is not what we are preaching but you know when you are dealing with human beings, some human beings are vicious you may not know. This is something that is hidden but thank God we have seen this and we are going to take drastic measures,” the principal said.
Meanwhile, the hostel masters in charge of the rooms that the boys were, have been fired, but still in the school’s custody to aid investigations.
The army on Saturday said there was no need to panic after explosions rocked some communities in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
In a statement signed by spokesperson Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, the army described the attack as a “security breach by suspected Boko Haram (BH) and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists who made futile attempt to maintain potency early this morning, 4 December 2021, with explosions in the outskirt of Maiduguri Metropolitan Council.”
The explosions reportedly hit Gomari community and 1,000 Housing Estate in Maiduguri but no deaths were reported.
“This unfortunate incident has caused some level of damage and apprehension in residential areas. Although, no life was lost, sadly a minor sustained injury,” the army said.
“Ground troops in conjunction with the Air Component of OPHK responded swiftly and dominated the area with ground and air interdictions that successfully neutralized the threats and infiltration attempt by the terrorists.
“The general public are urged not to panic as troops are on ground and aggressively dominating the city to effectively take out any perceived threat.
“The good people of Maiduguri are equally enjoined to go about their normal socio economic activities and provide actionable information on the movement of these criminal elements.”
Saturday’s attack comes a day after seven soldiers were reportedly killed by ISWAP jihadists near a base at Rann, close to the Cameroonian border.
In February, at least 17 people were killed and 43 others injured when ISWAP fighters fired multiple rockets on Maiduguri.
The terrorists have also blown up electricity towers on several occasions, plunging the city into darkness for months.
On February 23, 2019, a soldier was killed and 20 others wounded when Boko Haram launched 13 rocket attacks on Maiduguri hours before voting began in Nigeria’s presidential election.
Over 40,000 people have been killed since the Boko Haram insurgency began 12 years ago and more than two million are displaced from their homes.
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, visited the scene of the explosions on Saturday and sympathised with those affected.
“It seems the insurgents came very close to the town, the military has to wake up and ensure adequate surveillance,” Zulum said.
This is something that we can avert its occurrence. For the insurgents to have come such close to fire rockets, I think there is something wrong that we should have to check.
“We have to fortify Maiduguri town, we have to ensure adequate patrols on a daily basis to avert future attacks.
“It is very sad and unfortunate we have to witness this kind of attack at this time.”
Borno state Governor Babagana Zulum on Thursday abruptly cut short his visit to Malam-Fatori, a border town in Borno following an attack, Channels Television has learnt.
Malam-Fatori is the headquarters of Abadam local government, a known stronghold of the outlawed ISWAP group and the only Borno territory still under the control of the outlaws.
The Governor had spent two days in Diffa and Bosso provinces of neighboring Niger Republic, from where he led some Nigerian refugees, on Thursday, to undertake clearance exercise in Malam-Fatori.
Malam-Fatori, located on the fringes of Lake Chad, was violently occupied by Boko Haram for about six years before the military took control. Residents have been taking refuge in Diffa and Bosso, which is about five kilometers away.
Attempts by the military to restrict the governor and his team from taking a tour of the town – because military operations were still ongoing – proved abortive as the governor insisted on carrying out his mission of inspecting hospitals and other municipal buildings.
Security sources say the governor and his team, consisting of the state resettlement committee narrowly missed being hit in an ambush as sporadic gunshots greeted them during the inspection.
The military, according to sources, had ordered all the civilians, including the governor to lay flat as the soldiers engaged the assailants.
They were later to receive air support, as the military began shelling the general area where the gunshots were heard.
The military thereafter evacuated everyone to the military base where a furious Zulum engaged the Commanding Officer Brigadier General Mutkut in a heated argument insisting that the attack was staged, accusing the army for being responsible.
Zulum is convinced that the military is sabotaging the planned return of refugees but maintains that he would not be deterred.
The visit ended abruptly as an Airforce helicopter evacuated the Governor and a few members of his entourage to Maiduguri.
It was gathered that the resettlement committee had also faced similar attacks on the two occasions they had visited Malam-Fatori to access and commence rehabilitations.
Thursday’s attack on the Governor is a setback on the plans to evacuate refugees back to Malam-Fatori by November 27.
Zulum had travelled to Niger on Tuesday evening and passed the night at Diffa.
He was received by the Governor of Diffa Province, Issa Lameen with the leaders discussing how to effectively collaborate on planned repatriation of refugees from Borno state.