Paul Obi in Abuja
Soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgents on Wednesday said they arrested 1,400 terrorists in one week.
The Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Leo Irabor, explained that the suspects and rescued persons were also parts of those involved in the operation.
He said: “A total of 1,400 civilians were arrested by our troops during all our operations conducted between 28 December, 2016 and 4 January, 2017
“On December 25, 2016, at about 1000hrs, troops deployed in Fob Potiskum apprehended a suspected Boko Haram member Musa Abdullahi at Fika. The suspect is in custody undergoing interrogation.
“Troops in conjunction with NSCDC arrested a suspected Boko Haram suspect, Rabiu Ibrahim, at Bajoga in Funakaye Local Government Area of Gombe State. The suspect fled to Gombe as a result of the recent attacks on Boko Haram terrorists by troops.
“During preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed that he joined the sect about four years ago and took part in the attack of troops along Damaturu – Maiduguri road. The suspect is in custody for further interrogation.
“On December 30, 2016 at about 1330hrs, the troops arrested a confirmed Boko Haram terrorists member at Goni Kalla. While the suspect was being moved from Goni Kalla to Damaturu, the Boko Haram terrorists member attempted to escape by jumping out of the vehicle. He was therefore shot and killed. His corpse has been deposited at General Hospital Damaturu.
“On Christmas Day at about 1330hrs, troops and Department of State Services (DSS) personnel trailed two suspected high profile kidnappers (Mohammed Ali and Sani Digaru), for an alleged plan to carry out an operation in Gombe and possibly escape to their camp at Yuga Forest in Bauchi State. The two kidnappers were tracked and arrested by DSS in conjunction with troops at Silas area along Gombe-Dukku road.”
He further stated that “during the operation, one of the suspects (Sani Digaru) attempted to escape and was shot in the leg and later died in DSS custody. However, the other suspect Mohammed Ali, was taken into DSS custody. Items recovered from the suspects included the sum of N28,800, three mobile phones, three rings, tobacco, one eye glass, wrist watch and a lighter.
“On January 2, 2017 at about 1920hrs, troops deployed in Numan arrested one Dahiru Saidu who was on transit from Lafiya- Lamurde to Jada in Adamawa State. He is suspected to be among the Boko Haram members declared wanted in Serial 164 of Wanted Insurgents Poster circulated in the Theatre. He is in custody undergoing investigation,” Irabor said.
The Theatre Commander also provided an update on the troops’ operations in Sambisa forest, stressing: “The operation in Sambisa Forest and its environ is continuing; our troops are conducting various exploitation and mop-up operations against fleeing Boko Haram terrorists who are in complete disarray. In that regards, some clearance operations were conducted during the period under review.”
He added that “troops embarked on clearance operation to Dumur forest in continuation with Operation Rescue Finale. The troops cleared Dumur and Bula Julta villages and carried out bombardment of Adzunge, Gombole, Malabi, Sowolowo, Izuwe, Ngwalimiri and Latan villages.
“However, a mini Boko Haram terrorists camp was discovered and destroyed. At AIWA village, villagers were assembled and thoroughly screened which led to the arrest of a suspect named Modu Babagana Goni.
“The locals informed the troops that the suspect sometimes assists Boko Haram terrorists in getting food items. He has been arrested and currently undergoing investigation,” Irabor submitted.
Speaking on efforts to enable some internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return home, he said: “The residents of Damasak have started returning to the town following the re-opening of Maiduguri – Gubio – Damasak road.
“Most of the returnees who were earlier displaced by Boko Haram terrorists attacks on the community are returning from either Maiduguri or Niger Republic where they had taken refuge. Clearing and sanitation of Damasak town have been taking place while troops in conjunction with CJTF continued to dominate general area of the town with aggressive patrol and screening of locals coming into Damasak.
He added that “a female suicide bomber detonated her explosive device strapped on her at Customs Area in Maiduguri. She was the only casualty. Also, on January 1, 2017, at about 0930hrs, own troops in conjunction with CJTF discovered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) suicide vest that had been dropped by a suicide bomber around Gomari low cost area.
“The Nigeria Police EOD Team was contacted and they recovered and detonated the IEDs vest safely. Again, early this morning at about 0615hrs, three female suicide bombers enroute Banki Dutse village were gunned down by own troops deployed for an ambush operations. The 3 female suicide bombers were killed in action and no other casualty recorded.”