Eight Soldiers, Two Suicide Bombers Killed in Boko Haram Attacks

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  •  IG deploys 2,000 policemen, others to tackle terrorists  
  •  Army yet to access $1bn approved to fight insurgency 

By Kingsley Nwezeh and Alex Enumah in Abuja

Eight soldiers and two suicide bombers were killed in separate attacks in Borno and Yobe states, THISDAY has learnt.

This is coming as the Inspector General of Police (IG) has deployed additional 2,000 Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Counter Terrorism Units (CTU) personnel of the Force and the Sniffer Dog Sections to the North East in the last few days  to fight Boko Haram insurgency under the Operation Lafiya Dole. 

The Nigerian Army has however, confirmed that it has not accessed the  $1 billion approved to fight insurgency and other security challenges in the country.

Military sources within the theatre of war said eight military personnel were killed when the insurgents attacked a military base in Burni Gari town in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.

THISDAY gathered that an Armoured Personnel Carrier and a gun truck were lost to the insurgents.

The terrorists were, however beaten back when the Nigerian Air Force jet fighters pounded their locations.

Meanwhile, two unidentified suicide bombers suspected to be agents of Boko Haram died near Mina garage in Maiduguri, Borno state.

Nigerian Army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, disclosed this yesterday in a statement issued  in Abuja.

According to him, the suicide bombers, a male and a female, on a mission to infiltrate the garage hurriedly, detonated one of their suicide vests upon sighting troops of 195 Battalion on patrol.

Usman further said the incident, which occurred at about 8 p.m. on Saturday, left no fewer than five members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, injured.

 “Subsequently, the area was cordoned off and the Explosive Ordinance Device Team were drafted to defuse the other unexploded vest, while Borno State Emergency Management Agency and the Red-cross evacuated the mutilated body parts of the suicide bombers.

“The wounded persons were rushed to 7 Division Hospital for medical attention.”

In another development, the Inspector General of Police (IG) has deployed additional 2,000 Police Mobile Force (PMF) and Counter Terrorism Units (CTU) Personnel of the Force and the Sniffer Dog Sections to the North East in the last few days  to fight Boko Haram insurgency under the Operation Lafiya Dole. 

A statement from the Force Public Relations Officer, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Jimoh Moshood, which noted that the move was to support the strength of the military to defeat the Boko Haram insurgency, said the new deployment was consistent with Section 4 of the Police Act and Regulations which allows them to perform such military duties both within and outside Nigeria as may be required of them by or under the authority of the Act or any other.

The statement disclosed that before now, the Nigeria Police Force has on ground 47 PMF Units ( 2, 961) in Borno State in addition to the Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron in the state. “Twenty six units (1,638) on ground in Yobe State in addition to the Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron in the state

“Eighteen  units (1,134) on ground in Adamawa State in addition to the Police Mobile Force (PMF) Squadron in the state,”  part of the statement read.

The statement added that the Counter Terrorism Units of the Force have deployments of over 1,250 specially trained Counter Terrorism Police personnel, the Police Anti-Bomb Squad 300 personnel while over 100 Sniffer Dogs are working with the military in the fight against Insurgency in the North East.

 Moshood said, “It is of significant to note that the Police Mobile Force (PMF) personnel, Counter Terrorism Units (CTU), Anti-Bomb Squad (EOD), Sniffer Dog Sections, the Federal Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and conventional Police personnel have been fighting along with the military in the front line against Boko Haram insurgency and also providing security for restoration of law and order in the North East, security for all the liberated towns and villages in the North-East, escort of foreign and local humanitarian workers and relief materials, protection of IDP camps and security of public and private infrastructures.

“The Police Air-wing Surveillance Helicopters and crews are also deployed to support most of the operations of Operation Lafiya Dole throughout the North East in the fight against insurgency in the North East”. 

 He reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to the fight against insurgency, adding that the Force will do all it takes in collaboration with the Military to bring a quick end to Boko Haram insurgency and crisis in the North East.

In a related development, the Nigerian Army has confirmed that it has not accessed the $1 billion approved to fight insurgency and other security challenges in the country.

In 2017, the National Economic Council (NEC) approved the request of the current administration to withdraw $1 billion from the excess crude account (ECA) for the fight against insurgency.

Fielding questions on Weekend File, a news programme on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), spokesman of the army, Brig-General Sani Usman, said the money is still being processed.

“People should understand also that this is a democratic system in which procurement and of course funding of defence related issues takes such a long time,” he said.

“Take for instance the issue of the $1 billion approved recently by the president – up till now, the process is ongoing. The ministry of defence is still pursuing the matter to the point that when it is done, the armed forces will definitely get more equipment, more arms and ammunition.”

He added that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai, and the hierarchy of the army have been going round to meet with the troops in different locations.

In an interview with journalists in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, at the weekend, Buratai also confirmed that the army has yet to access its share of the fund.

“You know the process of funding is another major issue. The bureaucracy and so on is another issue. Approvals are given but before you really get the money out is another challenge.

“So, the people are talking or the media have been talking of $1 billion that has been approved but I tell you up till today the fund that is supposed to come from that amount to the army in particular, is still in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” he added.