MNJTF troops neutralise 300 terrorists in Lake Chad fringes

Troops of the Nigerian Army under the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) successfully eliminated over 300 terrorists of the Boko Haram/Islamic State of the West African Province (ISWAP) sects in the ongoing clear-out operations in the fringes of Lake Chad Basin in North-east Nigeria.

Chief of Military Public Information Officer HQ MNJTF N’Djamena, Lt.-Col. Kamarudeen Adegoke, announced this at a media parley in Maiduguri, Borno state on the progress of the war against insurgents in the region.

Adegoke said the Force Commander, Gen. Abdul Khalifa, had, during an appraisal meeting with all MNJTF commanders drawn from all sectors, ordered the troops to go all out and eliminate the insurgents.

Khalifa said the meeting was designed to appraise the operations so far in preparation for the next decisive stage.

He added that during the clear-out operations, four Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) factories run by the insurgents were discovered and destroyed while necessary counter measures were proffered.

“About four IED making factories were destroyed in the course of the operations so far.”

The MNJTF spokesman lauded the decisive role played by the air component of the MNJTF/ Operation Hadin Kai for its remarkable role in taking out several enemy camps, equipment and commanders, including the recent killing of an ISWAP leader, Abu Ibrahim,  who he described as a ferocious commander in the Timbuktu General areas, in the Lake Chad Tunbumas.

According to Khalifa, more than 52,000 terrorists comprising of fighters, those conscripted by force, and their families have surrendered in the MNJTF and Op Hadin Kai areas of operational responsibility.

The MNJTF, however, regretted the loss of some troops  and personnel in the various theatres of operations.

“Regrettably, the Operation recorded about seven casualties comprising six soldiers and a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force supporting the operations.

“Several troops have also been injured but are recuperating well,” he stated.

Niger LGAs

In a related development, the joint security team has aborted attempts by terrorists to attack three local government areas of Niger state and neutralised scores of the criminals.  

The terrorists were reported Sunday to have invaded communities in Shiroro, Munya and Paikoro local government areas before they were repelled by the joint security team.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Niger state police command, DSP Wasiu Abiodun, confirmed the incident in a statement in Minna Sunday. 

He said some of the bandits were neutralised in gun battle in various locations.

 “On 15/05/2022 at about 0700hrs, information was received that suspected armed bandits were sighted at Zazagha and Injita villages of Munya LGA,” Abiodun said, adding that the joint security tactical teams were immediately drafted to the area.

He explained that the teams discovered that the bandits had divided themselves into different groups, with some moving to Fuka and Daza villages of Munya LGA

“The tactical teams advanced to these areas where the hoodlums were fiercely engaged in gun battle and repelled. The hoodlums later extended to Gwalo village, Kafin koro area of Paikoro, LGA and the joint team responded swiftly, with recovery of cattle from the bandits,” the statement said.

He explained that reinforcements were sent to Mutun-Daya village, via Gwada, Shiroro LGA upon the receipt of information that another group of bandits was sighted in the area.

The command’s spokesman said:  “The bandits were equally engaged in gun duel and some of them were neutralised, while others escaped into the forest with gunshot injuries.”

The PPRO said the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Monday Bala Kuryas, also  led additional tactical reinforcement team from Minna to Sarkin-Pawa, Munya LGA to consolidate on  the peace of the area,  adding that normalcy had been restored in all the areas.

Pregnant abductee freed

Also, a pregnant woman abducted by terrorists who attacked an Abuja-Kaduna train March 28, has been reportedly released by the abductors on compassionate grounds.

The woman was said to have been released Saturday by the terrorists said to be members of the Ansaru Islamic sect, which broke away from the Boko Haram sect.

In a video by the group meant to authenticate the release of the pregnant woman, she is seen dressed in a long black gown with a face mask, and was also heard calling on the federal government to negotiate with the terrorists to secure the release of other captives still with the terrorists.

She also said it was necessary for government to go into negotiations with the gang because of the uncertainty surrounding the plight of others still languishing in their den.

The woman also stated that though the terrorists fed them well and treated them with some form of dignity, no one could tell what would trigger anger and they could turn violent.

Spate of insecurity alarming – Ehusani

Meanwhile, Executive Director Lux Terra Leadership Foundation Fr. George Ehusani has decried the spate of insecurity in the country, saying it has reached an alarming level.

A statement from the foundation quoted Ehusani as speaking Saturday in Abuja during a town hall meeting themed: “2023 Elections: Towards Selecting Credible and Competent Leaders.”

The cleric said  he was deeply saddened, distressed and depressed over the nation’s current situation and prayed it does not collapse, as those steering the affairs of the country seem lost, adding that he is worried “about the future of our youth.

Ehusani also advocated restructuring of the nation, and called on the people “to know the common enemy and fight towards securing a nation we believe in by participating in the electoral process.”

Speaking on the theme, Convener Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room on Elections and Country Director ActionAid Nigeria, Mrs Ene Obi, said Nigerians must take charge of their destiny, and be responsible citizens.

Obi, who said voter apathy was not an option, called on all Nigerians to make a choice to build the nation for the incoming generation, adding that “changing what we do not want is a long road that requires total commitment.”

She, however, enjoined all Nigerians to let their voices be heard by registering, obtaining the Permanent Voter Card, PVC, and vote to make the change.

On his part, Executive Director Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) Clement Nwankwo, who spoke on the topic, “Protecting the Integrity of the Electoral Process”, said the most fundamental principle defining credible elections is that they must reflect the free expression of the will of the people.

This, he said, could only be achieved when elections are transparent, inclusive, and accountable.

“We are in a country where bad deeds are rewarded positively and this notion can only be changed when people use the most powerful tool, which is the PVC. It is everyone’s business to determine and decide who should lead the country,” Nwankwo said.

Some participants at the event said the only way to successfully achieve free, fair and credible polls was “to strive for, and imbue the Nigerian electoral process with requisite integrity that would guarantee the actualisation of the aspirations of Nigerians for both stable democratic development and consolidation”.