JTF kills seven, arrest 13 suspected members of Boko Haram

The Joint Task Force (JTF) in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital has killed seven and arrested 13 persons suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

The spokesman of the JTF in Borno state, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa in a statement made available to Channels Television in Maiduguri said the security officials were conducting a cordon and search operation at Gwange junction of the metropolis when the hoodlums started shooting at them sporadically in reaction to the operation.

The statement said in response to the attack, seven of the insurgents were killed while thirteen were arrested.

Col Sagir however said no casualty was recorded on the side of the security forces.

Suspected sect member had on Wednesday launched an attack on telecommunication installations destroying several masts and killing over 20 persons in Yobe, Borno and Kano states.

The spokesman of the sect, Abul Qaqai in an emailed statement said “the attacks on these communication facilities will continue unabated, because the GSM firms are assisting the Federal Government and its security agencies in tracking and eventual arrests of our members in many parts of the country.”

The Boko Haram in the statement also threatened attacks on the facilities of the Voice of America (VOA), including its personnel and correspondents.

The statement reads “Our ultimate goal is the establishment of an Islamic State in Nigeria and we would not hesitate in taking punitive measures against anybody who sabotage or assist others that are sabotaging our efforts.

“This is why we are fighting the Nigerian government and its collaborators, including telecommunication companies. We would continue attacking them (telecoms) until the time they stopped releasing information about our activities.

Telecommunication facilities were vandalised across the northern part of the country rendering communication within the region erratic.

Gunmen destroy more telecom masts, kill 16 in Yobe

No fewer than 16 persons were on Thursday killed in both Damaturu and Potiskum, Yobe state as suspected sect member continued the destruction of telecommunication masts in Northern Nigeria, a source at the General Sani Abacha Specialist Hospital said.

The Damaturu destruction is coming just 24 hours after same operation was carried out by hoodlums in Maiduguri and Kano.

The destruction of the facilities was accompanied by killings and burning of some structures in the restive Damaturu and Potiskum in Yobe state North East Nigeria.

The state commissioner of police, Patrick Egbuniwe who confirmed the destruction said the coordinated attack started around 8pm through the night as five persons lost their lives during the attack but hospital sources claimed 16 corpses were brought to the hospital for claims by relations.

The commissioner said the masts of Etisalat, Globacom and Airtel in the two towns were burnt by suspected armed hoodlums believed to be members of the Boko Haram Islamic sect, by launching Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and petrol-bombs at the masts.

He said that seven masts were destroyed in Damaturu while Potiskum loss Five.

Mr Egbuniwe said the attackers also razed down the offices of Yobe state Ministry of Religious Affairs, the state Pilgrims Welfare Board, Hajj Camp, Local Government INEC Office and most of the structures at the Government Secondary School Damaturu believe to be the most populated public school in the state capital.

He said one of the Fire fighting vehicles of the state fire service was also burnt by the assailants.

Four arrested

The Joint Taskforce (JTF) in the state confirmed that four suspects have been arrested and are being interrogated in connection with the recent attacks.

The suspects according to the JTF were arrested along Gujba road in an attempt to lunch another attack on a mast along the road.

The coordinated destruction of telecommunication facilities is the first to be carried out in the state since the commencement of the insurgency.

Thursday’s vandalisation disrupted smooth communication within and outside the state capital as the only surviving network the MTN was erratic throughout the day.