Posted by: Duku Joel

 


It was another bad day for Boko Haram – the fundamentalist sect responsible for the insurgency in some parts of the North – yesterday.

A member, who is believed to be the field commander of the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, was shot dead in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, in a gun duel.

Also killed were 30 other members. Ten others were arrested.

The JTF, which announced the killings, also said it recovered arms and ammunition from the sect’s hideout.

Also in Yobe, gunmen believed to be members of the sect, opened fire on residents of a village and killed two people. Many others were injured.

In Borno State, three Chinese construction workers were killed.

Killed in Damaturu was a man called Bakaka, who is believed to be the field command of the Boko Haram sect.

In a statement, JTF spokesman Lt. Eli Lazarus said Bakaka was killed alongside 30 sect members. Ten members were arrested after a search at a hideout in Khandahar in the state capital.

The statement said: “In the early hours of Sunday, 7th October 2012, men of JTF in Damaturu, Yobe State on cordon and search operation in suspected Boko Haram hideout at Kandahar and the cemetery areas of Damaturu, engaged in a gun battle with the suspected terrorists.

“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. Ten (10) others arrested during the battle are presently assisting investigators to track other senior members of the terrorist group.

“Six (6) rifles, ninety (90) rounds of ammunition, several handsets and sim packs were recovered. Other items recovered include; knives, bows and arrows, diggers, knives and two (2) keke napep tricycles. Also, three (3) cans of IEDs recovered were detonated.”

He said the success so far recorded in the operation shows the cooperation of the residents, adding: “JTF wishes to appreciate the support so far received from the peace-loving and law-abiding people of Yobe State, urging them to volunteer more information that will lead to arrest of other suspected terrorists. JTF further requests that people should remain calm and go about their lawful activities as efforts are geared towards ensuring the safety of lives and property.”

The statement also announced the appointment of Colonel I.S. Ali as the new Commander of the JTF in Yobe state.

Ali is to take over from Colonel Dahiru Abdulsalam who proceeds to Defence College for further military studies. Until his recent appointment, Colonel Ali was a Deputy Director at the Army Headquarters Department of Training and Operations (DATOPS).

Two people were killed when unknown gunmen opened fire on residents of a village in Yobe, Police Commissioner Patrick Egbuniwe said yesterday.

“So far we have confirmed two people killed on Saturday by these criminals who went about shooting indiscriminately in the village,” Patrick Egbuniwe told AFP.

The gunmen stormed Dogon Kuka village and opened fire on residents, he said.

“The JTF (Joint Task Force) has deployed there and we are awaiting comprehensive details of casualties,” Egbuniwe said.

He declined to say if the attackers were members of the Boko Haram.

The village, inhabited mainly by Muslims, is about 70km from Damaturu, the state capital.

Suspected Boko Haram men reportedly shot and killed three Chinese construction workers in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon in Gubio Local Government Area, about 89 kilometers from Maiduguri, Premium Times reported.

The Chinese are said to be working for a construction company, working on several projects in the state.

Reports indicate that the victims, who regularly visited local markets, were shot as they patronised a local market.

Kaduna State Police Command yesterday confirmed the killing of two people in Zaria by gunmen at a pub.

Kaduna police spokesman Aminu Lawal, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Zaria, Kaduna State, that the incident, in which one other person was injured, took place on Saturday night along King’s Road, Sabon-Gari area of the town.

Lawal said security operatives were on the trail of the gunmen, adding that there were clues that would assist the police in tracking down the killers.

While applauding the people for reporting the incident, he urged them to be more security conscious and to promptly report any suspicious characters in their midst.

An eyewitness told NAN that the gunmen came in a vehicle and opened fire on their victims at the pub.

“The incident led to the death of two people and another was rushed to the hospital for medical attention.

“The security agents were alerted and they responded promptly. The security personnel pursued the killers but I can’t say what happened next.”

 

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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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by Olusola Fabiyi, Abuja

 


The Presidency has dismissed claims that President Goodluck Jonathan is afraid of Boko Haram.

Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe | credits: pointblanknews.com

Special Assistant to the President on Public Communication, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said this at a media briefing in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said it was wrong to assume that Jonathan refused to go to Eagles Square, Abuja, for the second year running to mark the country’s 52nd Independence on Monday because he feared he could be attacked by the Islamic sect.

Okupe said, “The President was not and is not afraid of the sect. To say he celebrated the anniversary in his bedroom because of Boko Haram sect is an insult.”

But when asked why the President increased the number of the Special Forces Battalion of the Brigade of Guards in the Presidential Villa, Okupe said it was because the Boko Haram issue was a very serious one.

He said, “We are dealing with a very serious sect, Boko Haram, and I am surprised that people are asking why the President is ensuring that his security is beefed up.

“Under this circumstance, the President is the commander-in-chief. When you go to war; the commander-in-chief is the one in charge.

“When you go to war, in those days the man that carries the flag, when he falls down, that is the end of the war.

“So, you have to make sure that he (the C-in-C) stands and stands erect. The fact that the security in the Villa is beefed up is borne out of necessity and circumstances.”

President presented regimental colour to the newly established 176 Special Forces battalion of the Brigade of Guards at the Presidential Villa on Monday.

The new battalion was said to have been established due to insecurity in the country.

Its establishment brought the number of battalions under the guard to three.

Our correspondent reports that a battalion is made up of between 700 and 1000 soldiers.

However, a typical battalion under the United Nations is usually made up of 776 soldiers.

Okupe chided the opposition political parties for their criticisms of the government.

He said the only thing  the opposition celebrates was “evil and disasters,” wondering why they refused to join hands with the Federal Government to fight corruption in the country.

He said the way the opposition was conducting its affairs, indicated that its members were not ready to assume power in 2015.

 

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MTN HeadOffice

 


Mobile phone carrier, MTN Group Limited, Monday said attackers of telecommunications’ towers in the North-east geo-political zone of the country destroyed its fibre-optic lines, which ran through the region.

In a statement, the South African-based company, it said the multiple cuts on the line had disrupted “the lives of millions” in the region.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the company offered no estimate on how much damage was done nor the cost of repairs.

Gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram had on September 5, attacked about 30 mobile phone towers across the region, disrupting service for all telecommunication companies.

Though Boko Haram later claimed responsibility for the attacks, the sect in justifying its actions alleged that mobile phone companies had helped the government to arrests its members.

 

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BY HENRY UMORU

 


…Security, state police, excess crude, PIB top agenda
ABUJA—WORRIED by the security challenge in the country, especially with activities of Boko Haram sect where killings and destruction of property have been carried out, President Goodluck Jonathan has summoned the governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to a meeting.

Vanguard gathered yesterday that others who have also been summoned to the meeting which will hold at the Presidential Villa today, are the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, National Secretary, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Secretary, PDP Board of Trustees, BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin.

It was gathered that the meeting has become imperative to save the governors because the President was no longer comfortable with the situation where the governors sing different tunes when they ought to have agreed on a position when national issues come up for discussions.

President Jonathan

The President is said to be unhappy because of discordant tunes by the PDP governors over the constitutional amendments, especially with regard to the demand for State Police, as well as activities of Boko Haram.Other issues that will feature in today’s meeting include the onshore/off shore dichotomy debate and the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB.

A source at the party said, the PDP was pushing for a coordinated constitutional amendment. Vanguard was told: “The idea where the President, who is a product of the PDP would be continually at logger head with governors produced by the same PDP is not good for the polity. There are 36 governors, and 23 of them are from the PDP, yet they cannot speak with a voice, this is not good for the system; the meeting will endeavour to have a coordinated stand on issues.

Common stance on national issues
“It is expected that there would be a unified position at the meeting, especially as the National Assembly is about to reconvene from break.”

It will be recalled that there was a split among the governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, on the demand for State Police, just as it became a confrontation between the northern governors and the rest.

At the end of its meeting in Abuja, on July 27, the Northern governors had through their Chairman and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu said they did not agree on State Police at an earlier meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum held June, 25 at the Rivers State Governor’s lodge.

According to the Northern States governors, “the forum was not in support of the creation of State Police. It however, resolved to prevail on the Federal Government to embark on Police Reform that will assist the states in control and management of Police affairs, and further emphasise on the sound philosophy for modern policing by amending the provision of section 215 of the Constitution.

Also recall that President Jonathan had said last week during the conference of the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA that Nigeria as a country was not ripe for State Police.

Strong indications emerged that there was crisis on the issue of on/off shore when the Northern Governors set up a committee to discuss the on and off shore dichotomy, just as they also directed their various Commissioners for Justice to discuss the implication of the on/offshore oil production and advice on the way forward.

Kano State governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso had spoken for the northern governors, when he stressed that the policy of on/off crude oil production was not acceptable to the northern governors.

 

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by Akinwale Aboluwade and Friday Olokor

 


General Overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye; President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; and the Presiding Bishop, Living Faith Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo, are expected to meet in Ibadan and pray against insecurity in the country.

L-R: Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo | credits:

The Presiding Bishop, Sword of the Spirit Ministries, Bishop Wale Oke, said this during a press conference heralding the 30th Holy Ghost Convention of the church.

Oke also criticised the reported talks between the Federal Government and Boko Haram.

Instead of dialogue, he said the FG should use its powers to deal with the sect.

He said, “Boko Haram is evil. We are going to join our Christian brethren in the North and fight Boko Haram to a standstill. We are not fighting Islam because I have Muslims in my family.

“It may look as if they are succeeding, but they will fail.”

Meanwhile, the Director, Institute for Development Studies at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, Prof. Osita Ogbu, has attributed the security challenges facing the country to “absence of justice and equality”.

Ogbu spoke with our correspondent in Abuja during the installation of Chuka Edward Oboli as the 3rd President of Rotary Club of Abuja Metro, District 9125.

He said, “Poverty and economic inequality may not instantly breed terrorism or influence the leaders of terrorist organisations, but they can help to create rich recruiting grounds for the foot soldiers of the terrorist camps.”

 

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by Olalekan Adetayo

 


Facts emerged on Friday that the Federal Government was considering some of the peace terms of Boko Haram, the fundamentalist Islamic sect, which had masterminded bombings in the North for more than one year.

Minister of Information, Labaran Maku | credits: File copy

The Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, had after the Federal Executive Council meeting last Wednesday, told journalists that government had accepted to hold talks with Boko Haram in the interest of peace.

Earlier demands of the Islamic sect had included release of their members being detained and prosecuted, and President Goodluck Jonathan’s conversion to Islam.

However, the Presidency had spurned these demands.

But it was authoritatively gathered that one of the sect’s fresh demands was the payment of compensation or Diyya for their members they considered “killed unjustly” by security forces.

Our correspondent learnt that government might accede to the Diyya demand.

The sect is reported to have identified about 24 of such members.

One of them was the leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in 2010 in Maiduguri, after he was reportedly captured alive by soldiers.

Yusuf was then handed over to the police, under whose custody, he died mysteriously.

Our correspondent learnt that the sect put the compensation to the family of the 24 deceased members at N2million each.

Consequently, for the 24 families, the Diyya to be paid is N48million.

Apart from compensation, the sect is also pressing for the release of those clamped into detention without committing any crime.

Presidency insiders said these were “not too difficult conditions.”

Under this category of persons are women and children whom they said were innocent.

The thinking of the government based on ongoing dialogue, is that the sect might not object to the trial of those found to be deeply involved in crime, once those “wrongly arrested or detained” breathe the air of freedom.

Once these conditions were met, they would cease fire, a source stated.

Contrary to the widely-held view, it was discovered that the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), was not the brain behind the ongoing talks between the Federal Government and the sect.

Government does not want to expose those behind the talks to avoid a previous experience, when the disclosure of the identities of the dialogue handlers frustrated the move.

A top presidency source said, “I can confirm to you that it is true that the group is currently dialoguing with the government.

“The good news is that they are talking and they have promised to cease fire once some of their demands are met.

“For conditions that are not difficult to meet such as the demand for Diyya for their 24 identified members that were killed, the government may meet such demands.

“Government can also give critical thought to those found to be innocent, but are being detained or prosecuted, particularly women and children as demanded by the group since they do not have any objection to the trial of those genuinely involved in crime.

“They have on their own promised to cease fire and go after the ‘political Boko Haram’ once the demands are met.”

The Voice of America had reported on Tuesday that Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, a top member of the sect, claimed that Boko Haram decided to initiate the peace moves in response to numerous public appeals for peace in the country.

Earlier peace talk between the two parties was stalled when a Muslim cleric, Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, who was a mediator in the discussions called it quit.

Ahmad, the President, Supreme Council of Shariah in Nigeria, said in a statement that he had come to doubt the sincerity of the Federal Government after information from a confidential meeting was leaked to the press.

He had confirmed that his group had made contact with “leadership of the sect and established from them that as Muslims they were prepared to consider ‘Sulhu’ which means ‘broad reconciliation’ regarding the dispute between them and the government.”

Ahmad had then set up a meeting with members of the top echelon of government in Nigeria to discuss a possible reconciliation. The meeting, he said, had taken place on March 5, 2012.

 

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