Chibok Girls: Army Responds To Boko Haram Prisoner Swap Request

Boko Haram new video on Chibok girlsNigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonishakin, on Monday responded to the prisoners’ swap demand made by Boko Haram in a new video of the abducted Chibok girls.

The terrorist group released the video on Sunday showing some of the over 200 girls abducted in 2014 from their school’s dormitory in Chibok, Borno State in Northeast Nigeria.

While addressing reporters after a workshop organised for top Security Chiefs in Abuja, General Olonishakin said that the demand that the Federal Government swap detained Boko Haram members for the Chibok Girls was a political decision that would not stop ongoing military operations.

The workshop was organised for top Security Chiefs on how to respond to emergency situations such as terrorism and flood inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

For the second time since their abduction two years ago, the video of the missing Chibok Girls with their captors has gone viral.

This latest release coincides with the workshop for members of the National Security Council behind closed doors.

How to respond to emergency situations is also said to be of importance to the Security Council, not just in the area of terrorism, but also in disaster management.

Also at the workshop was the Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed, who reiterated his position that the government was on top of the situation.

He said efforts to rescue the girls would continue until the girls are out.

That’s an optimism many Nigerians would want to see happen in the nearest possible future.

For now, they say the Chibok girls have over stayed in the hands of Boko Haram and that is seen as a challenge for the government.

The Boko Haram had in the video claimed that the Nigerian Air Force killed some of the girls in aerial bombardments. It also released video footages showing some deceased girls.

Earlier, General said the the Nigerian military has begun analysing the new Boko Haram video posted by the terrorist.

He also said that the war against Boko Haram was a military operation that is going on appropriately.


Troops Kill 27 Suspected Boko Haram Terrorists, Rescue Over 170 Persons

Boko-Haram-terrorists-in-north-east-NigeriaThe Nigerian Armed Forces have continued clearance operations of the remnants of suspected Boko Haram terrorists in the nation’s northeast, killing some suspected terrorists and rescuing persons held hostage.

A statement by a spokesman for the military, Colonel Sani Usman, said troops of 21 Brigade Nigerian Army on April 21, carried out clearance operations at Bulari, Tori 1, 2 and 3 during which they successfully cleared the general area of remnants of Boko Haram terrorists.

During the operation, 10 terrorists were killed and one was captured alive while two Civilian JTF accompanying the troops lost their lives.

The troops rescued seven civilians and recovered a Volkswagen Golf car, 15 bicycles and various bags of foodstuffs.

In another operation, the troops of 22 Brigade intercepted 26 persons comprising mostly women and children, coming towards Adah village in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State, who on interrogation stated that they were held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists, but escaped, as their captors were moving towards Lake Chad general area because of troops’ presence.

Troops of the same Brigade also carried out a fighting patrol, cordon and search operation along Dikwa-Marte road, Kaje, Selenge, Manekura, Mane Gana and Gawayi villages.

Although there was no encounter with the terrorists, the troops recovered five motorcycles, six Boko Haram terrorists’ flags and four bags of grinded corn in Mane Gana village.

They also rescued three women and five children at the same village. The rescued persons told the troops that their husbands were actually Boko Haram terrorists who had ran away towards Lake Chad area due to immense pressure from the military clearance operations.

The statement further said that troops of Three Battalion also conducted patrol towards Diema, Sigel and Kala in which they had an encounter with Boko Haram terrorists.

In the operation, troops killed eight suspected terrorists and recovered two Dane Guns and four assorted batteries.

“The troops of Seven Division Special Fighting Forces attached to 25 Task Force Brigade Damboa, at a checkpoint, arrested a suspected Boko Haram terrorist, Abubakar Bello and six other suspects carrying 28 gallons of “Turkey” brand of vegetable oil, eight bags of flour, 130 crates of soft drinks and two bags of sugar.

“In addition, five mobile telephone handsets, one external hard drive and five flash drives, two national identity cards and the sum of 70,000 Naira were recovered from him,” the statement read.

Preliminary investigation discovered that the terrorists now dilute the vegetable oil with other substances to produce diesel to power their generators.

The troops of 254 Task Force Battalion in conjunction with vigilantes and Borno Youths Empowerment Scheme, also carried out clearance operations at Mufurundi, Kaleri, Masemari, Bego, Bale, Gadzama and Gagantilo villages along Damboa-Bale-Gwoza road.

During the operation, the troops encountered and detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), buried by the terrorists at Gadzama village.

They also encountered Boko Haram terrorists at Bego where they engaged the suspected terrorists, neutralised them and cleared their camps within the general area.

In the encounter, the troops killed nine Boko Haram terrorists and recovered one AK-47 rifle with registration number TH5712 and 17 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition.

They also rescued 157 persons held hostages by the terrorists.

The troops of 26 Task Force Brigade stationed in Gwoza on Thursday also intercepted eight suspected Boko Haram terrorists, trying to enter Gwoza town.

The military said that though they claimed to be farmers coming from Shiadawey, Takwala and Amdaga Madachi villages respectively, which were known terrorists hideouts, preliminary investigations showed that they were indeed terrorists on a recruitment drive.

This was made manifest when the sum of 637,000 Naira was discovered on Abdullahi Yakubu, who was identified by another escapee/suspected Boko Haram terrorist as having trading links with the terrorists while the others were confirmed to have participated in carrying out various terrorists acts for the Boko Haram terrorists group.

One Ibrahim Bute, 67 years, of Gobara village was arrested by the troops on suspicion of being a Boko Haram kingpin.

Troops of 114 Task Force Battalion of 28 Task Force Brigade also conducted a fighting patrol along Bitta-Madube-Izge axis same day.

The troops of 117 Task Force Battalion following a tip off, also arrested a suspected Boko Haram terrorist who gave his name as Bello Isah at Mugulvu village.

The unit also discovered and retrieved 29 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) rounds of ammunition hidden at a farm in Gella village.

Colonel Usman said that the troops in various deployments within the theatre remained vigilant with soaring morale and committed to their duties of clearing the remnants of Boko Haram hiding in various remote corners and crannies.

Western Governments Knew Where 80 Abducted Chibok Girls Were, British Envoy says

chibok girlsA report by the U.K Sunday Times is alleging that the US and British governments knew where at least 80 of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by the Boko Haram sect where but failed to launch a rescue mission.

The former British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Dr Andrew Pocock, told the Sunday Times that a large group of the missing girls were spotted by British and American surveillance officials shortly after their disappearance on April 14, 2014, but experts felt nothing could be done.

‘Too High Risk’

Dr Pocock was quoted by the Sunday Times as saying that Western governments felt ‘powerless’ to help, as any rescue attempt would have been too high risk – with the Boko Haram terrorists using the girls as human shield.

He said: “A couple of months after the kidnapping, fly-bys and an American eye in the sky spotted a group of up to 80 girls in a particular spot in the Sambisa forest, around a very large tree, called locally the Tree of Life, along with evidence of vehicular movement and a large encampment”.

He told Sunday Times that the girls were there for at least four weeks but authorities were ‘powerless’ to intervene – and the Nigerian government did not ask for help anyway.

“A land-based attack would have been seen coming miles away and the girls killed, an air-based rescue, such as flying in helicopters or Hercules, would have required large numbers and meant a significant risk to the rescuers and even more so to the girls.’

“You might have rescued a few but many would have been killed. My personal fear was always about the girls not in that encampment – 80 were there, but 250 were taken, so the bulk were not there. What would have happened to them? You were damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” he added.

He further told the Sunday Times Magazine that the information was passed to the Nigerian government but it made no request for help.

Terrorists stormed a secondary boarding school in the remote town of Chibok in Borno state, northern Nigeria in April 14, 2014, and seized over 200 girls who were preparing for their final-year exams.

Although 57 of the girls managed to escape the rest have remained missing and have not been heard from or seen since.

The abduction triggered solidarity protests in different countries with protesters carrying placards mostly written, “Bring Back Our Girls”.

In different intervals, top military officials said they were aware of the girls’ location, but could not launch an attack on the terrorists, fearing it could lead to civilian casualties.

Army Denies Redeploying Pardoned Soldier To Northeast

soldiers and officersThe Nigerian Army has denied allegations made by the reinstated soldiers that they have been deployed back to the northeast to fight Biko Haram following their pardon.

In a statement, a spokesman for the Army, Colonel Sani Usman, said that on the contrary the soldiers have not been fully pardoned.

Colonel Usman reiterated that the Nigerian Army had been tolerant and patient with their acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conducts.

“Free To Leave”

“Efforts have been made to retrain them, integrate and give them a sense of belonging, but the attitude of some of them has left so much to be desired and would not be tolerated anymore.

“The Nigerian Army thrives on discipline, loyalty and good conduct and if anyone of them cannot measure up to expectation or live by those tenets, such a person is free to leave the army,” Colonel Sani said.

Over 3,000 soldiers, who were pardoned last year for various offenses said to have been committed while fighting Biko Haram terrorists in the northeast, are reported to have refused their redeployment on the grounds that they have not been giving their reinstatement letters.

According to reports, attempts to make them report at their various units have been rejected.

Northern Leaders Call For National Conference For North-east Development

bomb blast in damaturuA group of northern leaders has called on the Federal Government to convene a national conference for the development of the north-east, which they said was greatly underdeveloped.

The Chairman of the Northern Reawakening Forum, Mallam Muhammed Kumalia, told a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday that the north-east had the highest record of underdevelopment including poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.

The region has been greatly devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency, but the group said the problem could be traced back to 20 years ago.

“Even before the insurgency, if you still pick the development indices of the country, you realise a sharp disparity between the north and the south, which means that over the years, there has not been proper planning and execution of policies and programmes, as they were, as it will affect the north.

“Over the years, government has not been using the statistics that are there for them to plan how they will run the government,” Mr Kumalia explained.

He further urged northern governors to facilitate the development of an economic blueprint for northern Nigeria and called on the Federal Government to convene a national conference for the development of the north-east, with a short, medium and long term vision for the development of the zone.

The group said past governments had not been able to develop and implement development policies.

According to Mallam Kumalia, the region has remained underdeveloped because of bad government in the states even before the recent onslaught from terrorists which, he said, had compounded the problem.

For over five years, the Boko Haram terrorists’ insurgency has halted developmental activities, displacing over 1.5 million persons in the region, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The government of Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated its commitment to redeveloping the region.

Three north-eastern states worst hit are Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

War On Terror: Buhari Seeks More Regional Coalition With Cameroon

Muhammadu-Buhari-of-Nigeria-and-Paul-Biya-of-CameroonPresident Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria will continue his ongoing effort to build a more effective regional coalition against the Boko Haram terrorist group with a visit to Yaounde on Wednesday for talks with President Paul Biya and senior Cameroonian Government officials.

The talks between President Buhari and his Cameroonian counterpart are expected to focus on the full activation and deployment of the Multinational Joint Task Force against the Boko Haram, which has been established under the auspices of the Lake Chad Basin Commission.

Joint Measures To Curb Terrorism

In a statement, a spokesman for the President Buhari, Mr Femi Adesina, said that the President would be accompanied on the two-day trip by six state governors and the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency.

He will also discuss further joint measures to curb terrorism, violent extremism and other cross-border crimes with President Biya and Cameroonian government officials.

The State Governors on the President’s entourage are Mr Mohammed Bindow of Adamawa State, Mr Emmanuel Udom of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Mr Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Mr Ben Ayade of Cross River State and Mr Darius Ishaku of Taraba State.

President Buhari will also meet with Nigerians living in Cameroon during the visit.

The President will return to Nigeria on Thursday and will undertake a one-day trip to Benin Republic on Saturday for talks with President Boni Yayi to round-off the diplomatic shuttles to neighbouring countries, which he embarked upon on assumption of office.

The visits are efforts of the Nigerian government to strengthen regional cooperation against terrorism and make it much harder for Boko Haram terrorists to operate across national boundaries.

In his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015, President Buhari made a strong statement against the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the north, promising to end the terror attacks.

But over a thousand persons have been killed in different suicide bomb attacks in the north-east, north-central and north-west regions since President Buhari took over office.

Nigerian troops have raised operations against the terrorist group, chasing them out of some areas they were gaining more grounds.

‘Bring Back Our Girls’ Group Seeks More Help For IDPs

Boko haramAs Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark the World Refugees Day, the Bring Back Our Girls campaign group has urged the Nigerian government to urgently render more help of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

Speaking at their daily sit-out session in Abuja on Saturday, one of the leaders of the group, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, said the Federal Government had been slow in responding to the humanitarian crisis in the IDPs camps.

The group hosted some IDPs, as part of their activities to mark the World Refugees Day.

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the crisis in north-east Nigeria has displaced over 1.4 million people while 5.4 million people have been traumatised by the crisis.

There are 27 IDPs camps in the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja) alone, housing over 16,000 displaced persons.

One of the displaced persons, Liyatu Ayuba, who is a widow, said she lost her husband, a police officer, in an attack by the Boko Haram sect in 2009.

In 2012, she arrived in Abuja after an attack on Gwoza, Borno State in the company of her son, who was injured in the attack.

The Bring Back Our Girls group are alarmed at the humanitarian crisis in the north-east and they hope that urgent steps are taken by the relevant authorities to ameliorate the situation.

The Boko Haram terrorist group has carried out series of attacks on communities in the north-east, forcing people to flee their homes for safety.

The new administration has on several occasions pledged its commitment to ending the insurgency in the oil-rich nation’s north-east.

Suspected Boko Haram Members Kill Security Operative In Kaduna

Boko HaramGunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect have killed a security operative at the Ungwan Keke in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

A Joint team of Security Operatives on Sunday engaged in a gun battle with the suspected terrorists.

An eyewitness said the suspected Boko Haram members, who were residing in the community where the security operatives raided on Sunday, escaped after several hours of the gun battle with the security operatives.

The eyewitness, who is a native of Ungwa Keke village, said the security operatives arrived at the village at about 1:00am and went straight to the home of the suspected terrorists and opened fire on them.

He, however, said the security operatives arrested wives of the suspected members of the sect.

Confirming the incident, the Head of the community, Malam Suleiman Mohammed, said the joint security team, comprising of Soldiers and the State Security Service (SSS) before the raid, ordered residents out of their houses to avoid collateral damages.

Efforts to get the Deputy Director, Army Public Relation of the One Division of the Nigerian Army Kaduna, Colonel Abdul Usman, to comment on the operation did not yield results, as at the time of filing this report.

Nyanya Bombing: Lack Of Protection Screen Stalls Ogwuche’s Trial

Aminu-Ogwuche Nyanya bomb suspectThe trial of Aminu Ogwuche and five others suspected to have masterminded a bomb blast at a motor park in Nyanya, a town in the outskirts of Abuja, has been stalled again following the lack of a screen to protect the witnesses.

The trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, had in the last two hearings slated the case for trial-within-trial to ascertain the voluntariness of the statements made by the accused persons after they alleged that statement were given under “severe beating and torture” by officials of the Department of State Service (DSS).

However, at the resumed hearing on Wednesday, the inability of the court registrar to provide a screen to protect the witnesses, who are staffers of the DSS, forced the court to adjourn the trial.

Justice Mohammed subsequently adjourned the case to 16 and 17 of June for trial.

The court had earlier given an approval for the witnesses to give their testimonies wearing masks.

The accused persons, Aminu Ogwuche, Ahmed Abubakar, Mohammed Ishaq, Ya’u Saidu, Anas Isa, and Adamu Yusuf, were alleged to have masterminded the April 14, 2014 Nyanya Motor Park blasts that killed scores of passengers and destroyed several vehicles.

On Tuesday, the Federal Government sought the conduct of the trial of six persons with the new administration of Justice Act.

At the resumed hearing of the case before it was adjourned to Wednesday, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr Mohammed Diri, requested that the court should try the accused persons under the new administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

The trial has been adjourned more than four times this year for several reasons.

‘Waste No Time In Ending Attacks’, Borno Residents Tell Buhari

Military in Borno StateThe residents of Borno State are appealing to the government of Muhammadu Buhari to waste no time in ending the incessant attacks in the state by the Boko Haram terrorists.

The members of the terrorist group on Sunday carried out an attack on Moru-Moru market in the Gamboru area near Maiduguri, the state capital, killing at least one person.

For three consecutive days, there have been attacks at different locations in the state.

Although, no group claimed responsibility for the attacks, the Boko Haram sect is largely suspected.

Despite the strong statements of President Muhammadu Buhari about his resolve to end the activities of the group, the terrorists have sustained attacks on communities in Borno State, where they have been confined by Nigerian troops.

Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, bears the marks of fierce fighting and the scars from the senseless killings still remains. A reason the residents want the new administration to address the challenge of insecurity in the state.

They also mentioned other areas they want the new administration to give priority attention, with great expectations from the State Governor, which he is mindful of.

And being the first time that the north-east Nigerian state would be having the same political affiliation with the central government, the people are optimistic that President Muhammadu Buhari would deal decisively with the insurgents.


Explosion Rips Through Borno Market, Four Injured

Borno Four people have been seriously injured in a bomb blast at the Moru-Moru market in the Gamboru area near Maiduguri the Borno State capital.

The bomb attack comes barely 24 hours after a suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Maiduguri.

Our correspondent in Maiduguri, Blessing Tunoh reports that the explosion is believed to have been caused by a concealed improvised explosive device.

The explosion reportedly emanated from a bagful of coal where where an IED was planted by an unknown person.

All four victims are traders in the market where the blast occurred and they were rushed to a hospital where they are said to be receiving treatment.

Normalcy has since returned to the area and other traders in the market have been carrying on with their normal activities.

Parts of the town have also been deserted as residents have kept off the streets for fears of further attacks.

Some residents have, however, expressed hope that President Buhari’s pronouncement concerning the security of Borno State would start yielding results within few days.

This is the fourth incident in three days. The first one happened in Hawul LGA in the early hours of May 29  – Democracy Day – and another in the night of the same day.

Early on Saturday soldiers had repelled an attack by the Boko Haram sect as they attempted to invade Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The insurgents are reported to have approached Maiduguri through Dala, a suburb of the town but could not gain entrance because of the military troops stationed there.


At Least 11 Killed In Bomb Blast At Maiduguri Mosque

bomb blastAt least 11 persons have been killed in a bomb blast that occurred at a mosque along the popular Yan Kwali area of the Maiduguri Monday Market in Borno State, Nigeria’s volatile north-east.

The explosion occurred after the first ‘Rakaat’ prayer session on Saturday.

After the blast witnesses said unspecified number of casualties were recorded.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the Boko Haram terrorist group is largely suspected.

The attack is coming just few hours after an earlier incidence that claimed at least 11 lives along Gomari Airport Ward of Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital.

The incidence has forced the State Government to cancel activities lined up to commemorate the Democracy Day on Friday.

Counter-terrorism operations to chase the terrorists out of the oil-rich nation’s north-east have been on for over five years.

Recent efforts have been concentrated on the Sambisa Forest stronghold of the terrorists, with several camps destroyed and many women and children held captive rescued.