From Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna), Francis Obinor (Lagos), Njadvara Musa (Damaturu) and John Ogiji (Minna)
• Security operatives uncover bomb, kill 30, arrest 11
• Gunmen slay doctor, friend in Zaria
THOUGH communities and individuals are currently reeling from the pains and shock inflicted by Boko Haram in some parts of the country, the Federal Government has claimed that it is winning the fight against the terrorist group.
Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo stated the government’s position at the weekend as soldiers and policemen disclosed their uncovering of a bomb factory in Minna, Niger State.
This came as the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Yobe State yesterday killed about 30 suspected members and arrested 11 of the violent group, Boko Haram, including a close associate of the group’s leader during a gun-battle in northeastern Yobe State, an army spokesman said.
The Agence France Presse (AFP) yesterday quoted as saying: “About thirty (30) suspected Boko Haram terrorists were killed in the battle which lasted several hours. In the battle, the notorious, one-eyed Bakaka, the field commander of Boko Haram in Damaturu and a close associate of Abubakar Shekau was killed,” army spokesman, Eli Lazarus, said in a statement.
The state Commissioner of Police, Patrick Egbuniwe disclosed that the task force which comprises the police, military, the State
Security Service (SSS) and other para-military organisations in the state carried out the special operation at Kandahar, a suburb of Damaturu, the Yobe State capital at the weekend.
The raid led to the arrest of 11 and killing of four suspected Boko Haram gunmen, he said.
Sambo, who was among indigenes of Kaduna State who were honoured by the state government at the weekend, canvassed support for the fight against Boko Haram.
Sambo said: “Our effort is geared towards transforming the country positively to ensure that the lives of our citizens are not only secured but are adequately protected, including the property of our citizens.” He noted that “no meaningful development can be achieved without peace.
“It is therefore safe to state that peace is a sine qua non for progress. Our effort at maintaining peace is yielding the desired result as government is tackling the menace in a multifaceted manner. The various security agencies’ efforts have also yielded positive results as they have drastically reduced the potency of the aggressors.
“We can achieve more successes only if we have the full support of all and sundry and I call on all citizens of the state and the country in general to partner and participate in fighting this menace”, the vice president added.
A combined police and military team yesterday uncovered a bomb-manufacturing factory in Maitunmbi, a suburb of Minna. The factory is suspected to belong to Boko Haram.
Acting on a tip-off by one of the five suspects arrested in respect of the killing of three policemen in two different operations in the town last week, the team stormed the bomb factory located behind a popular private school in the area.
The raid lasted for about two hours and was led by an assistant commissioner of police (name withheld) from the state headquarters of the Nigeria Police. They recovered from the building two 1.5gms gas cylinder cans already prepared for explosion.
Other lethal weapons found in the house included about 30 empty cans of disposable food beverage and soft drinks also filled with explosives, 25 kilograms of fertilizer, batteries, remote control devices and other electrical gadgets.
But no arrest was made at the time of the raid because nobody was found in the building. It was learnt that the team was very discreet in their operation as the majority of the residents in the neighbourhood were not aware of it while it lasted.
A senior member of the team that raided the bomb factory explained that the operation had to last for about two hours in order to avoid any casualty and to keep innocent members of the public from any possible attack.
‘’We took our time before we stormed the bomb factory. We did not want to cause any chaos in the area and in the town. We also want to avoid any loss of lives and this we were able to achieve. Though nobody was found in the house, we found about 30 empty cans of soft drinks stuffed with explosives, two gas cylinders, a 25kg bag of fertiliser, remote control devices, batteries and other electrical gadgets,’’ our source disclosed.
He further said that all the lethal weapons found in the factory were later taken to the police headquarters.
Efforts to get residents of the area to comment failed as all the people approached refused to speak on the issue.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Pius Edorbo, refused to give details on the raid, but said that investigation had begun and that the police would make their findings public.
Also, as the people of Kaduna State continued to contend against the spate of blasts in recent times, two unidentified gunmen at the weekend, stormed a club house in Zaria, killing a medical doctor and one other person.
According to an eyewitness, the gunmen entered the club house at about 8.00 p.m. on Saturday, along Enugu/Kings Road, Sabo Gari area of Zaria and shot the medical doctor whose name was given as Dr. Martins C. Agu and his friend. He was said to be a worker at the railway staff hospital, Zaria.
Confirming the incident, the Kaduna State Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Malam Aminu Lawan said two men on a motorcycle opened fire on people relaxing by a beer parlour.
Besides, with the rising terrorism, Niger is seeking a joint military patrol along its border with Nigeria.
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