Omololu Ogunmade and Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari last night condemned the recent murder of five staff of humanitarian agencies who were kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists last month in Borno State.
The terrorists group, yesterday reportedly executed five aid workers in Borno State following their refusal to pay $500,000 ransom.
The terrorists, in a video released yesterday, said they executed the hostages, who have been in their custody for over a month.
The humanitarian workers executed include a staff of the Borno State Emergency Management Agency, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, and International Rescue Committee and a security guard.
The humanitarian workers were traveling from Maiduguri to Monguno, a town in the northern part of Borno, when they were ambushed by Boko Haram on June 29, 2020.
In a 34 seconds’ video, one of the insurgents who spoke in Hausa, said the humanitarian workers were executed for “working with the infidels”.
“This is a strong message to those who are being used by unbelievers to convert people to infidels… those who are working for the organisations of disbelievers,” one of the Boko Haram fighters said.
“You work for them to achieve their goals but they do not care about you; that is the reason when we abducted you, they showed no care. We are calling on you to repent and turn to God.
“For those of you remaining, we will surely get you… we know the routes you follow. If you do not desist, you’ll end just like these people too.”
After speaking, five of the insurgents opened fire on the captives from a close range.
It is unclear when the victims were killed but the video was released on Wednesday.
Reacting to the incident, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement, said Buhari sympathised with families of the five aid workers, and prayed God to comfort them over the irreplaceable loss.
The president said his government would continue to do all it could to ensure the remaining vestige of Boko Haram is wiped out completely from the North-east while the perpetrators of this heinous crime face the wrath of the law.
“President Buhari also condoles with the State Emergency Management Agency, Action Against Hunger, Rich International, and International Rescue Committee, whose staff have suffered this gruesome fate.
“He thanks them for their continued dedication and service to the victims of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. He assures them that security agencies in the state will work closely with their organisations to implement measures to ensure that no such kidnapping of staff occurs again,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the air component of Operation Hadarin Daji killed scores of armed bandits in Kagara Forest in Zamfara State.
An update issued by the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), said the mission was conducted pursuant to human intelligence reports, indicating heavy presence of the armed bandits, along with a large number of rustled livestock in a portion of the forest.
This, it said, was later confirmed by series of aerial surveillance missions.
“Accordingly, the air component dispatched Nigerian Air Force fighter jets to engage the location, with their munitions hitting the targets leading to the killing of some of the armed bandits.
“Some of them who were seen attempting to escape camouflaged in between the livestock were taken out in follow-on attacks”, it said.
The update issued by the Coordinator of DDMO, Major General John Enenche, said the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, commended the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji for their professionalism and urged them to remain resolute in the conduct of air strikes whilst continuing to provide close air support for ongoing ground operations in order to eradicate all armed bandits.
By so doing, he said, they would have accomplished the directives of the Chief of Defence Staff to restore normalcy in the North-west and North-central zones of the country.