Yemi Adebowale with agency report and Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
A suspected suicide bomber intercepted in northern Cameroon friday before she could blow herself up is claiming to be one of 219 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists in Chibok, Borno State in 2014, military and local government sources in Cameroon said.
Also friday, the military in the ongoing Boko Haram clearance operation, intercepted two female suicide bomber in a Borno State town; one of them was killed before she could carry out the act, while the second one blew herself to death.
The two girls arrested in Cameroon friday were carrying explosives and were stopped by local self-defence forces in the village of Limani, in an area of northern Cameroon that has been the target of frequent suicide bombings in recent months.
They were then handed over to Cameroonian soldiers belonging to a multi-national force set up to take on Boko Haram.
“One of them indeed declared that she is one of the Chibok hostages. She is around 15. We are now verifying, because on the Nigerian side they have the names and photos of these girls,” said Cameroonian local government administrator, Raymond Roksdo.
Two military sources, who asked not to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the press, also confirmed that the girl had claimed to have been one of the Chibok abductees.
“We need a few days to be able to confirm this information. We have to debrief all the men who were present and interrogate the two girls before we can say anything,” one of the military sources said.
In a high-profile attack that sparked a global outcry, Boko Haram militants raided the school in April 2014 while the girls were taking exams. They loaded 270 of them onto trucks, though around 50 escaped shortly afterwards.
Former president Goodluck Jonathan was criticised for his slow reaction to the Chibok abductions.
It was nearly a month before a fact-finding committee travelled to Chibok to establish whether the abduction actually happened and how many girls were missing.
Muhammadu Buhari, who defeated Jonathan in an election last year, ordered a new investigation into the kidnappings in January.
Joint operations between Nigeria and its neighbours Niger, Chad and Cameroon succeeded in driving Boko Haram from many of its strongholds in Nigeria last year.
However, as an 8,700-strong regional task force seeks to stamp them out once and for all, the Islamists have stepped up cross-border attacks and suicide bombings, many of them carried out by young girls.
Military Kills Two Female Suicide Bombers in Borno …
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman in a statement yesterday said that the ever alert and vigilant troops of 7 Division Garrison based in Maiduguri, in conjunction with Civilian JTF averted yet another suicide attack on the innocent citizens in Borno State by intercepting two female suicide bombers.
According to Usman, “the troops intercepted two female suicide bombers at about 1.20am, almost 100 metres south of Umurari Village, on the outskirts of Maiduguri.”
He said “one of the suicide bombers on sighting our troops detonated her explosive device, killing herself instantly, while the second bomber in an attempt to escape was gunned down by one of the Garrison’s snipers.
He said that the combined team of the Nigeria Police and Nigerian Army’s Explosive Ordinance Device team safely detonated the unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) strapped on the gunned down suicide bomber.
Usman however noted that there was no casualty beyond the two suicide bombers. At present, he said, the troops and the Civilian JTF deployed in the village are now combing the general area to forestall further breach of security.
“The situation in the area is calm and law abiding citizens are going about their normal activities without fear,” he added.
In a related development, Usman said that the troops of newly inducted 3rd Battalion, 22 Brigade, in conjunction with Army Headquarters Strike Group (AHQ SG) and the Armed Forces Special Forces (AFSF), carried out a spectacular clearance operation on Tuesday, March 22, 2016.
According to him, the military forces cleared the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists hibernating in Kala Balge general area.
He said: “The triumphant troops apart from killing 22 terrorists cleared pockets of the terrorists in Wumbi, Tunish, Tilem and Malawaji. Others are Makaudari, Daima, Buduli, Sadigumo, Jiwe, Sidigeri and Kala villages. The troops also rescued 309 persons held captives by the terrorists.
“They also discovered and destroyed the terrorists training camp, factory, locally made weapons and warehouse at Tilem and then secured Rann, the headquarters of Kala Balge Local Government Area.”
In the same vein, the DAPR said that the troops of 3 Battalion with the support of Civilian JTF also conducted a fighting patrol at Kusumma Village in which they killed three Boko Haram terrorists and captured one alive.
“They also rescued 520 persons held hostage by the terrorists and recovered a motorcycle, weapons and axes,” he stated.
The troops, Usman said, basking in the unprecedented achievement, are also making efforts to clear remnants of the terrorists in the surrounding areas.