9 August, 2013
• Says emergency rule a success
The Defence Headquarters has disclosed that about 1,000 members of the outlawed Boko Haram sect have been captured, since the declaration of emergency rule by President Goodluck Jonathan in the three north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, three months ago. This was revealed by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade,Thursday when some journalists demanded an assessment of the Joint Task Force (JTF) towards achieving the mandate of emergency rule, having reached the mid-way mark of three out of the six months approved by the National Assembly.
Olukolade, who refused to give specific figures for operational, tactical and strategic reasons, noted that military operations have been very successful in dislodging the Boko Haram terrorists from their former strongholds, especially in Borno and Yobe States. He said a lot of them have been captured, “over a thousand” and currently held in various locations for further intelligence gathering and questioning. He, however, noted that there were more who died during exchange of gunfire with the Special Forces of the JTF, where some were also carted away and buried by Boko Haram, while some others, who were captured with gunshot wounds died afterwards, despite the best medical attention.
The DDI further emphasised that the troops deployed to the affected areas of operations conducted themselves professionally and within the dictates of the Rules of Engagement (ROE).
He said: “As a matter of being accountable to Nigerians, we believe that the activities of the three months state of emergency be made known to the members of the public. Before the declaration of the state of emergency, substantial part of this country was taken over by the insurgents, with strange flags hoisted in several parts of these states but today, we can say that there is no way that the insurgents have that freedom of action anymore. It (military operations in the affected states) has been a success.
“We can also assure you that our troops have performed professionally excellent, and more attention have been paid to the border control issues. “We have also enjoyed mobilisation of civil population to volunteers information and intelligence. Also social, commercial and economic activities have been normalised.
“For now, giving the actual figures of the dead soldiers is not possible for operational and strategic reasons. The casualties figures will be given at the appropriate time, except in a situation where it can positively affect the military. The same with the actual figure of the terrorist but I can tell you that thousands of them have been killed,” he confirmed. “Conservatively, I can say that over a thousand have been captured and are in detention in various designated secured facilities. Another thing we also discovered is that the Boko Haram terrorist always ensure they carry their dead along if possible,” he noted.
Speaking further, Olukolade emphasised the growing importance of the citizens input in the internal security operations, especially in providing useful intelligence and information leading to the capture of Boko Haram members and destruction of their bases. He also commended the crucial role being played by the Borno Youths Vigilante Group popularly known as the ‘Civilian JTF’ at using their local knowledge to counter enemies’ hideouts and exposing where weapons could be hidden.
The DDI, however, cautioned against too much emphasis on the works of the group, and assured that the military would continue to give them security cover and as well checkmate their activities from exceeding the scope of their mandate. “We are also concerned about the activities of the Civilian JTF, a lot of us are carefully relating with them. The fact however, still remains that they are very useful to us and I am sure that the government should have a plan for them after their operations,” he said.
“Meanwhile, what happened recently (near Bama, Borno where about 40 were killed in ambush) is unfortunate, which was borne out of exuberance, and also the rivalry amongst them has not officially come to our notice but we are closely monitoring them,” he assured. “We really do not want to give too much prominence to the Civilian JTF. They were stepping out of boundaries and that is what happened when about 40 of them were killed at Bama,” he added. “The Civilian JTF also assist them (the troops) to search for weapons and some of them having worked with the terrorists knows some of the tricks of how weapons are hidden and discovered.”
In a related development,a military source have disclosed how some well connected northern professionals and the Palestinian-based terror group Hamas, have been aiding the activities of Boko Haram.
The source cited a case of a highly regarded Medical Doctor, who has links with World Health Organisation (WHO), who was apprehended, while trying to convey medical materials to the terrorists’ camp, the notorious Sambisa Forest.
The source said the medical doctor who was currently in detention now is well known amongst the international non- governmental and civil society organisations, through which they have launched smear campaign against the military under the guise of human rights watch.
The source said: “The medical doctor touted to be linked with the WHO was found with rifles, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) materials, laptop and surgery materials, was later discovered to be working for the Boko Haram terrorists.
“This is just one of the case as Abubakar Shekau’s (Boko Haram leader) messenger, who escaped with gunshot wounds after he refused search under the guise of carrying ICT equipment, were discovered in the load he abandoned, while escaping to have contained a freshly recorded message from the terrorist leader, urging members of the public not to support the military efforts.”
The source also revealed how the massacre of about 30 students in Yobe State was masterminded by a Boko Haram affiliated lawyer, who promised revenge for his arrest. “The lawyer after his arrest promised to make sure that the town becomes unbearable for the military and is still boasting to deal with us after the school massacre. He threatened to retaliate and did that by killing the innocent students in a most barbaric way,” it added.