Terrorists perceive security agencies as objects of mockery – Kukah

Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Bishop Mathew Kukah, has joined numerous of Nigerians in condemning recent killings in Plateau, asserting that citizens of Nigeria are gradually losing hope in their government’s ability to protect them.

Bishop Kukah in a statement he signed personally and made available to newsmen in the state of Saturday evening said religious leaders; both Muslim and Christians, had continued to use moral authority to encourage their people not to take laws into their hands.

Kukah’s states came on the heels of the killing of over 150 persons in Plateau State on Christmas Eve by suspected terrorists.

According to the statement titled, ‘Blood and Crucifixion on the Plateau’, he said the invisible men came to the Plateau again, bearing their gifts of death and destruction.

He said, “They came from the deepest pit of hell, the habitat of the devils that they are. They are children of darkness, sons of Satan. They opted to extinguish and snatch the light of the joy of Christmas from thousands of people on the Plateau.

(Punch)

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Military uncovers 636 illegal refineries, intercepts 21m litres crude

The military has in the last five months uncovered and busted  636 illegal refining sites and intercepted 21.7 million litres of crude oil valued at N54bn.

The figures were collated from press releases by the military on the activities of troops against oil thieves between August 3 and December 1.

The PUNCH reports that President Bola Tinubu met with service chiefs in June and gave them a marching order to end oil theft in the country, in order to shore up the country’s revenues.

Since then, there has been a heightened military onslaught against oil thieves, particularly in the South-South.

The data analysis by The PUNCH showed that no fewer than 610 suspected oil thieves were nabbed within the five months under review. Also, a total of 670 boats used to convey stolen crude oil and its products were impounded by the military.

According to the military,  on August 3,  36 illegal refining sites, 310,700 litres of stolen crude oil and seven suspected oil theft were arrested along with  32 wooden boats.

On August 11, 39 illegal refining sites were discovered; 1,247,700 litres of stolen crude oil valued at  N607,346,75 were recovered and 17 suspected oil thieves were arrested.

Military operations on August 25 led to the arrest of 22 suspected oil thieves and the recovery of 682,400 litres of stolen crude oil valued at N414,396.250.

On August 31, the military busted 34 active illegal refining sites, recovered 569,400 litres of stolen crude oil, valued at  N765,863,000 and arrested 16 suspects along with 36 boats.

On September 7, the military intercepted 191 suspected oil thieves and recovered 6,652,250 litres of stolen crude oil valued at N4bn.

On September 14,  the military uncovered 89 illegal refining sites, recovered 1,205,950 litres of stolen crude oil estimated at N1,011,851,250 and arrested 45 suspects.

In addition, during operations conducted on September 22, troops recovered 496,250 litres of stolen crude oil worth N946,387,570.00 and arrested seven suspects with 16 boats.

On September 28, troops in the Niger Delta region discovered 34 illegal refining sites, recovered 696,250 litres of stolen crude oil valued at N388,469,650.00 and arrested 22 suspects with 21 boats.

On October 26, the military uncovered 53 illegal refining sites, recovered 983,350 litres of stolen crude oil valued at N968m and arrested 19 suspects with 66 boats.

On November 17, troops discovered 49  refining sites,  recovered 151,850 litres of stolen crude oil estimated at N128m and arrested 49 suspected oil thieves.

Troops destroyed 50 illegal refining sites,  recovered 578,900 litres of crude oil valued at N1bn and arrested 49 suspects with 31 boats on November 23.

Also, On December 1, troops destroyed  51 illegal refining sites,  recovered 267,700 litres of crude oil estimated at N668m and arrested 58 oil thieves with 25 boats

A security expert,  Oladele Fajana, urged the military not to rest on their laurels,  adding that the activities of oil thieves had seriously impacted the economy of the country negatively.

 “Their arrests and recoveries are quite impressive.  They must do more because the activities of oil thieves are inimical to the nation’s economy,” he said.

(Punch)

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113 generals retire, defence minister demands loyalty from armed forces

A total of 113 Nigerian Army Generals on Tuesday bowed out of the service.

The breakdown includes one General, one Lieutenant General, 67 Major Generals, and 44 Brigadier Generals.

At the Regimental Dinner Night organised in honour of newly retired and retiring Nigerian Army senior officers in Abuja,  the Minister of Defence,  Abubakar Badaru, hailed the support of the Nigerian Army towards the growth of democracy in the country.

Badaru said this has made the Army a shining example in the West African region and beyond,  urging other services in the region to take a cue from the Army.

According to a statement on Wednesday by the Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen.  Onyema Nwachukwu, the minister urged the Army to continue to remain loyal to the constitution and support the development of democracy in the country.

The statement partly read,  “The minister charged members of the Armed Forces to remain loyal and sustain the culture of supporting democracy in Nigeria and across the shores.

“He added that the disposition of the Armed Forces towards democracy had made it a shining example in West Africa and an influencer in the comity of nations.

“The minister noted that the occasion provided the Nigerian Army the opportunity to reflect on its service and profound dedication as demonstrated by the retired and retiring senior officers.

“He noted that the Federal Government will continue to do all within its reach to improve the well-being of serving and retired personnel.”

Badaru also hailed retired and retiring officers of the Nigerian Army for their sacrifices and unwavering commitment to the nation’s stability.

He assured prompt payment of their pension.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, thanked President Bola Tinubu, the National Assembly and the defence minister for their untiring support to the Nigerian Army.

He reaffirmed the unalloyed loyalty of the NA to the President and the nation in the discharge of its constitutional roles in defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

He advised the retired senior officers to appreciate God and the Nigerian Army for a successful sojourn in the ‘noble profession of arms’ and attaining the point of meritorious disengagement from active service.

(Punch)

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Some countries supporting Simon Ekpa to destabilise Nigeria – CDS

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Christopher Musa, said on Friday that the military was gaining nothing from the fight against insecurity in many parts of the country.

According to him, the military daily loses troops in the ongoing fight against insecurity across the federation, adding that he has nightmares.

Musa spoke during the maiden parley with journalists in Abuja on Friday.

The CDS cautioned the citizens against demoralising the troops from effectively discharging their constitutional duties with their actions.

He alleged that some individuals and countries were sponsoring Simon Ekpa to destabilise the country.

He urged them to desist from such act, adding that the military would not relax in its effort to ensure that peace returned to the South-East.

Musa said, “On the issue of Nnamdi Kanu, there are people that have continued to sponsor these people by contributing money. And you can see that they are not only killing people outside, they are also killing their people.

“So, you are funding to somebody who is also killing you. So, our appeal is that people should stop supporting them, and expose all those doing those things, especially people like Simon Ekpa.

“He is sitting down there in comfort. Some countries are encouraging him to do what he is doing to Nigeria, and we are here supporting him. So, people must desist. We must call what is wrong, wrong. But I know that we are making efforts to ensure that we secure the whole of South-East and we will continue to do that.”

On the accidental bombing in Kaduna, the CDS promised that any personnel found culpable would be punished.

The CDS noted that the solution to the ravaging insecurity in the country was good governance, adding that the military solution currently being in use would solve 30 per cent of the problem.

He said, “Military solution is only 30 per cent, 70 per cent is good governance, equity, fairness and justice. Anywhere you apply this, you will see that you have a good community.”

Musa said porous borders and unmanned forests had contributed to the challenges faced by the military.

He said, “If you go to Chad, Cameroon and Niger, once you come as a foreigner, they know because they have a database; they can identify you. And then there’s this security awareness within the public, which we lack.

(Punch)

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Dont judge us based on Kaduna bombing – Defence Chief, Musa begs Nigerians

The Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General Christopher Musa, on Saturday, pleaded with Nigerians not to judge the military based on last Sunday’s unintentional drone assault in Tudun Biri, Kaduna State.

He stated that nothing should be done to demoralize the troops tasked with combating insecurity in the country.

Musa made the call at the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 45 graduation ceremony of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at Kuru, near Jos.

However, a group of Northern lawyers announced that they would sue the federal government for the bombing while the House of Representatives agreed to supervise an investigation.

“The incident wasn’t on purpose. We are meant to protect Nigerians and cannot be seen killing them.

“And so, I want to appeal to Nigerians not to use this incident to demoralize our troops because we are determined to end all forms of insecurity currently confronting our nation,” he said.

The Defense Chief underlined the military’s commitment to safeguarding the sanctity of human life, saying that troops would never harm law-abiding individuals.

He also urged Nigerians to pray and support the military and other security agencies in their efforts to rid the country of all types of security concerns.

Musa told reporters during the 4th Edition of the Chief of Defence Staff Armed Forces and Security Agencies Half Marathon Championship 2023 in Abuja that the military will take all precautions to ensure that the mistake never happens again.

(Daily Post)

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Military neutralises terrorist kingpin, others in Niger air strikes

The Air Component of Operation Whirl Punch has killed a dreaded terrorist and kidnap kingpin, Yellow Jambros, as well as scores of other terrorists in airstrikes in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State.

The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, announced this on Sunday in Abuja through the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet.

According to Gabkwet, the terrorists were killed while attempting to cross the Jikudna River in Galadima Kogo District while headed towards the Wurukuvhi axis of Chikun LGA.

Gabkwet said before the strike, Yellow Jambros and his associates were traced from Zamfara into Niger on 13 motorcycles along the Kaduna-Niger State border.

“At Kusasu, five other motorcycle-riding terrorists joined Yellow Jambros’ convoy, bringing the total number of motorcycles to 18, which then headed to the bank of River Jikudna.

“At the river bank, the terrorists and their 18 motorcycles boarded a large motor-powered canoe in an attempt to cross and link up with other terrorists across the river.

The NAF spokesman added that Yellow Jambros and his associates were responsible for multiple kidnappings and killings along the Abuja-Kaduna Road as well as in several communities in Kaduna, Niger, Katsina, and Zamfara States.

He stated that a kidnap kingpin named Mohammed Sani, who was apprehended by police in Zamfara in October 2020 for murdering over 50 of his victims owing to their inability to raise ransom, claimed to work for Yellow Jambros.

Gabkwet said the terrorist revealed that Yellow Jambros usually supplied him with fake military and police uniforms, guns, and other weapons needed to execute his operation.

(Daily Post)

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Kaduna village bombing: Death toll hits 120, villagers allege military bombed twice

One family loses 32 members, culprits must be punished, survivors, ACF, JNI tell military

•Army chief begs victims, says soldiers mistook villagers for bandits, Tinubu, Atiku mourn

Survivors of the accidental bombing of Tudun Biri in the Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Tuesday said they were bombed twice by the Nigerian Army.

It was also gathered that the death toll from the incident had increased to 120 as officials of Amnesty International who visited the affected communities confirmed the increase in the death toll.

An air strike intended to flush out terrorists had on Sunday night accidentally hit civilians during a religious celebration at Tudun Biri.

While the Army claimed responsibility for the incident, the National Emergency Management Agency had on Monday night put the casualty figure at 85, adding that 66 victims sustained injuries.

But the accidental bombing on Tuesday attracted more condemnations from the pan-Northern political and cultural association, the Arewa Consultative Forum, and the Jama’tu Nasril Islam, saying that those found culpable should be punished.

On their part, President Bola Tinubu, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar mourned the victims of the bombing.

As the nation mourned the dead, survivors of the bombing recounted their experiences.

 Forty-five-year-old Saudatu Alamagani, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the community was bombed twice.

Alamagani, who narrowly escaped being killed in the attack, said the incident started like a Nollywood movie around 10pm when a large number of Muslims celebrating Maulud, the birthday of Muhammad, were bombed.

She said while celebrating the Maulud, “The military started raining bombs on us’’, adding that at first, the worshippers mistook their attackers to be bandits.

She stated that while everybody scampered for safety, dead bodies littered “everywhere.”

She stated that while members of the community went in search of motorcycle operators to convey the critically injured to the nearest medical facilities for treatment, the military bombed the community again.

“They bombed us twice,” she said, adding that “it all started around 10pm when the military started bombing our community. We were celebrating the Maulud, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad.

“While we were looking for motorcycles to convey those that critically needed medical attention to the hospital, the military returned with the bombardment. Many villagers including women, men, children, and even pregnant women were killed during the attack.

“Four members of my family were killed in the attack. Some of the bodies of the dead littered the ground.”

Saudatu appealed to the government to assist members of the community, especially victims’ families to cushion the effect of the bomb attack.

Another survivor, 60-year-old Sulaiman Umar, told our correspondents that the village was bombed twice.

He stated, “I was eating that night when we were bombed. Many people died. We could hardly identify our children; some with their intestines out. They bombed us twice. After the first round of bombs, they came back to bomb us again.

“I ran into a deep forest where I slept till daybreak. We covered the dead with leaves. We separated the males from the females and covered them with leaves.”

120 dead

Giving an update on the tragic incident, The Country Director of Amnesty International, Isah Sanusi, said officials of the organisation were on the ground at the affected communities and counted over 120 persons who died in the bombing.

He said, “I can confirm to you that the current number of casualties in the affected areas is more than 120 persons.”

He explained that there were at least 77 bodies buried in each of the mass graves, insisting that the casualty figure was higher than what NEMA stated.

“According to our contact who was at the scene of the mass burial, there were at least 77 dead bodies in each of the mass graves. There also 17 other persons who are from adjoining villages who lost their lives in the ugly incident,” he stated.

 But the NEMA Chief Information Officer, Kaduna State, Halima Suleman, told one of our correspondents that the casualty figure of 85 persons released on Monday by the agency had not been updated when contacted on Tuesday.

She, however, stated that NEMA was intervening in the affected communities, as it took some of the injured persons to hospitals and was providing relief items to others.

“We are, of course, intervening in the communities, because our officials are on the ground there today. They took some persons to hospitals, provided relief items and gave moral support,” she stated.

But the pan-Northern socio-political organisation, ACF, and the Sultan Sa’ad Abubakar lll led Jama’atu Nasril Islam, called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the military bombing.

Reacting separately to the incident, the ACF described it as “horrific”, noting that the northern organisation was highly disturbed that such an operation could be contemplated and executed in the densely populated area, “suggesting an inexcusable, scandalous and plausibly incompetent failure of intelligence.”

In a statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Prof. Tukur Muhammed-Baba, on Tuesday, the forum commiserated with the state government and families of victims, praying that “God grant the dead peace.”

The forum noted that efforts must be put in place to avert such “avoidable” loss of lives and property in the future, adding that communities in the Northern states had had enough problems with banditry and should not in any way be further inflicted with more pains.

Consequently, the ACF demanded an apology from the Nigerian Army as well as a full, thorough, honest, and open investigation of the incident, to establish what exactly happened.

According to the ACF, any and all those found guilty of professional or operational incompetence must be severely disciplined, and transparently so.

It also noted that the investigation must be undertaken with the full participation of the people of the affected community (who must not be intimidated into keeping quiet about the gory details of their losses).

“For emphasis, the Kaduna State Government has a duty to act to protect the interest of the victims and not the Nigerian Army personnel that perpetrated the incident.

“Full compensation must be paid for the dead in accordance with current Islamic diya value for individual lives.

“The injured must not only be fully treated free of charge but must also be rehabilitated on full recovery, as well as fully compensated for losses of livelihoods and incomes while on the road to full recovery,” the statement added.

On its part, the JNI in a statement by its Secretary-General, Prof. Khalid Abubakar-Aliyu, reiterated the organisation’s commitment to seeking justice for the victims’ families.

The statement partly read, “The Jama’atu Nasril Islam, representing the collective voice of the Ummah, stands in profound consternation and grief over the tragic incident that unfolded at Tudun-Biri village in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, during a Maulud celebration, as was reported.

“It is thus with heavy hearts that we express our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families, as well as the loved ones of the deceased victims, and we fervently pray for the swift recovery and healing of those injured.

“JNI therefore vehemently condemns this tragic incident in its entirety and calls for a thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the devastating and most unfortunate event. We urge authorities to ensure that those responsible are held accountable in accordance with the subsisting laws.”

Tinubu grieves

Tinubu described the accidental bombing of locals in Kaduna State by the Nigerian Army as “very unfortunate, disturbing, and painful,” expressing indignation and grief over the tragic loss of lives.

This was as he sympathised with the families of victims, the people, and the government of Kaduna State.

Tinubu’s grief was conveyed through a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, titled ‘President Tinubu condoles with Kaduna State Government, families of victims over bombing mishap.’

Tinubu directed a thorough and full-fledged investigation and called for calm.

He also directed swift and comprehensive medical attention for surviving victims while praying for the repose of the souls of the deceased.

Mourning the dead, the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, said that the incidence of miscalculated air strikes was assuming a worrisome dimension in the country.

Atiku, who said this in an X post on Tuesday, stated, “I am grieved by the news of the drone airstrike that killed dozens of people and left scores of others with various degrees of injury in the Tudun Biri community in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Ironically, the victims of this unfortunate incident were celebrating the Maulud anniversary.’’

The Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum and Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Yahaya, expressed deep sorrow and heartfelt condolences to the families of the Maulud celebrants.

Yahaya, on Tuesday, extended his condolences to the government and people of Kaduna State, describing the loss of innocent lives as a heartbreaking tragedy.

The governor emphasised that while the fight against banditry and terrorism remained crucial, “it must be executed with the highest level of professionalism and care to prevent such heart-wrenching accidents.”

On his part, the Chairman of the Transparency International, Auwal Rafsanjani, said all security agencies involved in the bombings should be sanctioned. He faulted security agencies’ failure in intelligence gathering and sharing.

He further stated that identifying members of terrorist groups should ideally not be the job of the military, but the job of the police, the Department of State Services, and other relevant intelligence agencies, noting that some of the said agencies were grossly underfunded by the government.

Also, the Head of the National Coordinating Secretariat, United Action Front for Civil Societies, Olawale Okunniyi, said the military should rather be reoriented and re-jigged to operate on the side and in the interest of the masses.

“It is an unfortunate incident. Our military should be more revolutionary than reactionary. But presently they are reactionary and so they are not on the side of the people. They have to upgrade. We think that they must improve”, he said.

The Chairman of the Centre for Accountability and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, while lamenting the errors of the military, said those responsible must be held accountable and punished accordingly, as a deterrent for others.

DHQ panel

Meanwhile, the military high command at the Defense Headquarters, on Tuesday, said it would be investigating the accidental bombing and would establish a panel for this.

Responding to an inquiry from one of our correspondents, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Maj. Gen. Edward Buba said the military would probe the incident.

He said a panel would be instituted to look into the matter, adding that the details would be communicated.

Buba said, “Yes, the military will probe the incident. When the panel is set up, the details will be communicated accordingly, please.”

Also speaking on the issue, the Director of the Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu stated that with the on-the-spot assessment done by the Chief of Army Staff, he would be able to assemble the right persons to make up the panel.

He said, “From what the COAS has done now, which was to visit the scene of the incident, he would be able to gain insight into the expertise that would be required to carry out the inquiry. This will help in guiding us on the kind of persons that will be in that panel. I can’t speak on how long the investigation will take.”

(Punch)

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Nigerian army gets first professor

The Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Kaduna on Friday announced the promotion of Lt. Col. Abubakar-Surajo Imam to Professor of Mechatronics Engineering.

Imam is said to be the first ever professor among serving personnel in the history of the Nigerian Army.

Brig.-Gen. AM Tukur, Registrar of the Academy, announced the promotion in a statement on Friday in Kaduna State.

According to him, the promotion was ratified during the NDA Council Meeting in September and took effect from October 1, 2023.

The registrar said that the council’s decision was a reflection of the confidence and recognition of the contributions of Imam to the Department of Mechatronics Engineering of the Academy.

He said the new professor had provided exemplary services and upheld the standard of excellence expected in his field.

“This recognition not only honours Professor Imam but also highlights the commitment of the Nigerian Defence Academy to acknowledging and rewarding outstanding contributions within its academic community,” he added.

(Daily Post)

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Army raids illegal refineries, recovers arms in Anambra

The Nigerian Army said it has raided some illegal refineries and recovered artillery weapons armed with projectile launchers, allegedly belonging to the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra and Eastern Security Network in Anambra State.

This was disclosed on Tuesday, in a statement signed by the Director of Army Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu and shared on the X (formerly Twitter) page of the force.

According to the statement, one suspected member of the IPOB/ESN was arrested during the operation while other weapons were seized.

The statement read, “Combined troops of 302 Artillery and 14 Field Engineer Regiments of the Nigerian Army, conducting operations against terrorists, have on Monday 16 October 2023 captured two locally made Artillery Projectile Launchers from fighters of the Indigenous People of Biafra and its armed affiliate, Eastern Security Network (IPOB/ESN).

“The artillery weapons, armed with projectiles were seized alongside other items, as troops swooped on the dissident fighters, who fled in disarray, deserting their camp on sighting troops’ advancement.

“In the operation, one combatant of the dissident group was arrested and several items, including 48 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO ammunition, 4 mobile phones, one handheld communication radio and substance suspected to be cannabis, among others were recovered by the troops.”

The force also disclosed that in another operation, illegal refineries were raided and about 50,000 litres of crude oil and sacks of illegally refined automation gas were discovered among other illegal items.

“In a separate operation on the same day, troops of 34 Artillery Brigade  conducted an offensive operation against oil thieves in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State.  Troops recovered several items from the camp, including one crude oil cooking oven, three reservoirs,  several connecting hoses and pipes, three mobile phones, one Power Generating set, 3 Pumping machines, one CCTV Camera mounted on a tree top,  substance suspected to be cannabis and some fetish objects.

“Same troops, in a similar operation conducted the same day, uncovered and destroyed an illegal refining site, operating with several drums and crude oil ovens, laden with stolen crude oil,  a dug out pit containing about 50,000 litres of crude oil and 57 sacks of illegally refined automation gas oil.

“Surprisingly,  the sacks of illegally refined products were surreptitiously  concealed in a community health centre at Egbema Shell and Egbema West respectively in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State,” Nwachukwu disclosed.

(Punch)

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Top Boko Haram Commander eliminated as troops rescue nine farmers in Borno

Troops of 144 Battalion, in collaboration with hybrid forces, have nutrialised a top Boko Haram commander, Ari Ghana, and five of his bodyguards in Borno State.

Zagazola Makama, a counter-insurgency expert and security analyst in the Lake Chad region, disclosed this on his X handle, (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, noting that the troops engaged and killed the terrorists in Takaskala in Gwoza Local Government Area.

Makama quoted one of the intelligence sources as saying, “On September 25, our troops laid an ambush at the crossing point of the terrorists around the Mandara Mountains. After one hour, a large number of terrorists came to cross with motorcycles.

“On noticing that the team were two in number, the troops waited for the second badge, suspecting that it was Ari Gana and his team. The troops then opened fire at them, killing five terrorists, including Ari Gana.

“It was gathered that Ari Gana, before meeting his waterloo, was deputising Ali Ngulde, the leader of Shekau’s faction of Boko Haram in Mandara Mountains and had led dozens of attacks around Bama, Banki and Gwoza in Borno State.”

In another development, reports have it that troops of 195 Battalion under the Joint Task Force North East Operation HADIN KAI yesterday rescued nine local farmers kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists around Maiwa village, Mafa local government area of Borno state.

It was learnt that among the nine rescued farmers, three are women, the remaining six are men.

The troops were said to have recovered one AK 47 rifle, one magazine and 30 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition.

(Daily Post)

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