By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The current clampdown on fleeing terrorists in the North-east has paid off with the arrest of five fleeing insurgents and logistics suppliers.
This is coming as the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, has raised the alarm that politicians in the state are recruiting Boko Haram fighters in order to destabilise the state.
Also, three serving personnel of the Nigerian Army were dismissed and handed over to police for prosecution following their involvement in a cult initiation process in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
An update on the war against insurgency released by the Nigerian Army revealed that five key terrorists and logistics suppliers were apprehended in the course of “Operation Positive Identification” launched to crack down on fleeing insurgents from the North-east.
The operation required residents and travellers in the North-east to identify themselves using valid identity cards, international passport, voter’s card and national identity card.
“Following the commencement of Operation Positive Identification by the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) across the North-eastern part of Nigeria, troops have intensified searching for and arresting all suspected criminal elements that roam parts of the North-astern part of Nigeria.
“Consequently, five key terrorist logistics suppliers and fighters have so far been apprehended,” a statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col Ado Isa, said.
Meanwhile, Governor Matawalle of Zamfara State raised the alarm that some politicians in the state were collaborating with the terrorist group, Boko Haram, to destabilise the state by launching attacks on seven local governments of the state.
He said intelligence reports indicated that the attacks were targeted at seven local government councils and other strategic places in the state.
A statement signed by the Director of Press, Idris Gusau, said two important personalities were targeted for elimination.
He said the recruited terrorists were to launch attacks between September 23 and 25.
“Zamfara State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Governor Bello Mohammed MON (Matawallen Maradun) wishes to announce that it is in possession of credible intelligence reports suggesting that some disgruntled politicians of the state origin are making clandestine moves to destabilise the state.
“They are intending for sinister and personal gains, collaborating with dispersed elements of Boko Haram, to launch series of attacks on innocent and peace loving people of the state in order to scuttle the relative peace being currently enjoyed as a result of the peace and dialogue process initiated by the present administration,” the statement said.
Governor Matawalle lamented the unpatriotic disposition of some politicians to the extent of plotting to visit the state with destruction.
“Matawalle notes with total dismay the unpatriotic attitudes of some evil politicians and their collaborators to cause mayhem and visit destruction on the lives of innocent citizens and properties ostensibly to gain personal relevance while forgetting that security is a collective responsibility of all well meaning citizens of the state irrespective of their political affiliation. He declared this as completely unacceptable,” it said.
The statement said: “According to the intelligence report, the cruel and mischievous elements have perfected plans to launch the attacks on seven local government areas of the state and in other strategic places within the state capital.
“According to the report, two important personalities of the state are also targeted for elimination should this dastardly act succeed.”
It said the targets of attack included Gusau, which doubles as the state capital, Tsafe, Talata Mafara, Anka, Zurmi, Maru and Maradun.
Other strategic places targeted are Gusau Central Mosque and Gusau Mammy Market where soft targets are known to gather both at day and night.
The governor appealed to the people of the state not to panic as security measures were already in place to forestall such eventuality.
He specifically appealed to drivers of commercial vehicles and motorcyclists in the state to be more security conscious and vigilant while carrying out their legitimate businesses and report any suspicious movement of persons, groups or goods to the security agencies in the state.
Similarly, the Nigerian Army has dismissed three soldiers for involvement in cultism.
The Army said the three soldiers were arrested when troops cordoned off an 18-man gang of cultists and kidnappers during an initiation rites in Maiduguri.
“The general area was cordoned off and 18 members of the cult group, comprising civilians and alleged students of the University of Maiduguri were arrested at the initiation scene.
“Three serving personnel of the Nigerian Army were also arrested. Those arrested were all handed over to the Nigeria Police Force Borno State (Maiduguri) Command for further investigation/necessary action,” an army statement said.
It said the arrested soldiers were immediately interrogated and tried in line with military justice system by 7 Division Military Police, in conjunction with their units.
“Consequently, the soldiers were dismissed and handed over to the Borno State Police Command for further action,” the statement issued by Col. Ado Isa said.