Vice President Namadi Sambo
* JTF airstrike kills 17 Boko Haram members
By Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri and Segun Awofadeji
In a trend-defying move, Vice President Namadi Sambo will pay an official visit to Maiduguri today.
A press statement issued by the Borno State government said the vice president would commission some state projects in the town that has been the hotbed of Boko Haram operation since the sect began its violent campaign almost four years ago in Northern Nigeria.
Coming a few days after a faction of the Islamic sect declared a ceasefire Sambo's visit may be seen as having been influenced by that peace offer. But an airstrike carried out yesterday by the military on Boko Haram camps in Borno State is an indication the federal government's optimism is tempered with caution.
The airstrike resulted in the death of 17 members of the sect and a security personnel, the Joint Task Force in Borno, Operation Restore Order, revealed.
Also, Friday some yet-to-be identified gunmen shot and killed two people in Zango, a suburb of Bauchi metropolis in Bauchi Local Government Area, Bauchi State.
President Goodluck Jonathan has not travelled to Borno and Yobe states since Boko Haram launched its campaign of terror and he has been strongly criticised for that, lately. The two North-east states have borne the heaviest brunt of the violence unleashed by the sect. But the vice president visited the state two years ago when he was awarded a honorary doctorate degree by the University of Maiduguri.
The Secretary to the Borno State Government, Ambassador Baba Ahmed Jidda, said in a press statement that the vice president is expected to lay the foundation for the Shettima Ali Monguno Teachers Village, comprising 300 units of houses to be built for primary and secondary school teachers.
He will also commission a new 250-bed hospital named in honour of slain civil war hero, Brigadier General Muhammad Shuwa, and commission the Maduganari bye pass road, as well.
The Vice President is also expected to commission 144 heavy duty road construction and maintenance equipment and four super rigs and, later, round off with the inspection of some projects which include the Women and Children Hospital as well as expansion works at Mohammed Goni College of Legal and Islamic Studies in Maiduguri.
The JTF in a statement issued by its spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, said the task force conducted two special operations supported by a Nigerian Air Force helicopter gunship to dislodge Boko Haram camps located in Sambisa Game Reserve in Bama Local Government and Farin – Ruwa Forest in Damboa Local Government Areas of Borno State on Wednesday and Thursday.
Sagir said the terrorists camps were fortified and had training facilities, armoury, accommodation, drugs store, kitchen, vehicle holding area, latrine and water points .
He further revealed that the camps were used as training facilities from where the recent attacks and bombings in Maiduguri, Musari, Konduga, Biu, Bama, and Damboa communities were hatched.
He said the efforts of the JTF troops to destroy the camps led to fierce exchange of fire that resulted in the death of 17 sect members and one JTF personnel.
Musa said the camps have been destroyed, adding that six Ak-47 rifles, two G3 rifles, three pistols, a rocket-propelled grenade, one RPG tube and 20 RPG chargers were recovered.
Also recovered were two double barrel rifles, 2543 assorted ammunition, 33 assorted empty magazines, three laptops computers, 10 Motorola Walkie Talkies and 40 primed IED canisters.
Police spokesperson in Bauchi, ASP Hassan Mohammed Auyo, has confirmed the killing of the two men in an interview with THISDAY,
He said three people on motorcycle shot a shop owner and killed him in an instant. A man sitting with the shop owner was said to have been injured in the attack and was rushed to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital where he later died.
Auyo said police had commenced investigation and promised that the perpetrators would be apprehended soon.