FOUR terrorists suspected to be suicide bombers, apparently heading for an NNPC facility along Maiduguri-Damboa road were killed when their Improvised Explosive Device (IED)-laden vehicles exploded on Tuesday.
Director, Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, who disclosed this yesterday while briefing on the update on counter terrorism campaign, said that the explosions took place at Mule on the outskirts of Maiduguri.
According to him, three of the four explosive-laden vehicles were demobilized by shots fired at them by soldiers at the check point shortly before the explosions that rocked the area.
The defence spokesman, however, announced that five soldiers were wounded while the civilian casualties are yet to be determined.
288 rifles, 35 rockets seized from terrorists in Cameroon
The resolve for collaborative efforts in fighting terrorism in the sub-region got a boost recently when the Cameroon security forces made a huge seizure of arms apparently meant for use by terrorists operating in Nigeria last weekend.
Director of Defence Information Major General Chris Olukolade in a statement in Abuja yesterday on the development on the war against terror said that over 288 rifles and 35 Rocket Propelled Guns as well as 35 locally made IEDs were recovered after a fierce encounter at Abugasse, Cameroon, close to the Chadian border.
He said that other weapons recovered included pistols, mortar bombs, sub-machine guns and various calibres of ammunitions following the arrest of two suspects believed to be major arms suppliers to the terrorists in Nigeria.
They were nabbed in Abugasse near the Chadian border with Cameroon, while, in their possession were over 50 Cameroonian passports as well as a Toyota Jeep.
General Olukolade recalled that the Cameroonian authorities recently pledged to back Nigeria’s counter terrorism efforts.
He said that the renewed offensive on terrorists by Nigerian troops had continued to record series of arrests of terrorists and recovery of arms especially close to the nation’s border with Cameroon.
According to him, apart from arms recovered following disclosure from captured terrorists lately, more arms have been captured in the ongoing offensive in different fronts.
The defence spokesman added that the arrest at a check point of a terrorist driving in a green Peugeot vehicle with registration Number Bauchi 264 AA heading to Maiduguri from Alagarno during the weekend, led to the recovery of 15 AK47 rifles and 12 magazines and various yet-to-be-assembled rifles.
He said the offensive on terrorists on various fronts was continuing. While the Alagarno area as well as various points of Sambisa forest and suburbs have been witnessing intense operations since Monday.
Apart from several dead terrorists, 14 vehicles which were either being used for operation or hidden by the terrorists in various parts of the forests and theatres have been destroyed.
The Director of Defence Information said that various calibres of weapons and ammunitions were also recovered in the course of fighting and subsequent cordon and search of the areas.
Furthermore, he added that intensive air and ground surveillance are also ongoing in the general area.
Nigerian military, Boko Haram kill over 1,500 people in 2014 – Amnesty International
At least 1500 people, more than half of whom are civilians, have been killed in the first three months of 2014 alone following an upsurge of the conflict in the northeast of Nigeria, Amnesty International (AI) has said.
In a report published on Monday, the global human rights organisation said many of those killed are victims of the terrorist group, Boko Haram and “uncontrolled reprisals” by the country’s security forces.
In the light of this revelation, AI is asking for independent investigations into what it said may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.
“More than 1,500 deaths in three months indicate an alarming deterioration in the situation. The international community cannot continue to look the other way in the face of extrajudicial executions, attacks on civilians and other crimes under international law being committed on a mass scale. Civilians are paying a heavy price as the cycle of violations and reprisals gather momentum,” said Research and Advocacy Director for Africa at Amnesty International, Netsanet Belay.
The organisation particularly mentioned the incident of March 14 when Boko Haram fighters attacked Giwa Barracks in Maiduguri to free their fighters imprisoned in the military facility. AI said the military “unleashed a brutal crackdown on former detainees as they tried to flee after being freed by the gunmen.”