Military captures Boko Haram fighters in forest

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Mar 11th, 2014
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House mourns slain Yobe pupils

Many injured Boko Haram fighters have been captured in some parts of Borno State and on the fringes of Lake Chad, military authorities said yesterday.

Besides, weapons have been recovered by troops in collaboration with the Multi-National Joint Task Force.

The captives, who were described by a military source as “famished”, were said to be begging troops to spare their lives.

But air raids on Boko Haram camps continued yesterday. Besides, security has been tightened in borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic to prevent the insurgents from fleeing.

According to a statement by Defence Headquarters (DHQ) spokesman Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, some of those arrested have made vital disclosures.

The statement said: “Scores of wounded terrorists who escaped from various camps under the fire of security forces have been captured in the fringes of Lake Chad.

“The captured terrorists, some of whom are fatally wounded, are already making useful statements to interrogators of the Multi-National Joint Task Force.

“Others were captured by troops in locations around Dikwa, Cross Kauwa, Kukawa and Alargarmo.

“In their confessions, it was revealed that some of the camps have been disbanded following the directive of their clerics who declared that the operation of the sect had come to an end as the mission could no longer be sustained.”

The DHQ also claimed that some of those being interrogated pleaded with troops not to kill them.

The statement added: “The terrorists, who gave useful information as to the locations of their remnant forces, were full of apologies and pleas for their lives to be spared, promising to cooperate.

“They confirmed that starvation was a major problem, in addition to ceaseless bombardments on the camp locations even when they kept relocating.

“They also confirmed that several members of the group have been wounded and no treatment was forthcoming. Troops have continued their assault on other locations across the states covered by the state of emergency.”

The DHQ however warned members of the public against visiting captured camps of Boko Haram for “sight-seeing.”

It said: “Meanwhile, members of the public who have started visiting to engage in sight seeing in some dislodged camps and fringes of forests, such as Sambisa and others have been warned to desist from doing so as the tendency will no more be condoned where operations are still ongoing.

“The general area still remains a theatre and movement remains restricted as the environment has to be cleared for safety of citizens. The public will be informed when the locations are safe enough.”

A top military officer said air raids and surveillance in borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic were heightened yesterday to prevent the insurgents from fleeing.

The source said: “You see, continuous air raids and water-tight security along our borders with neighbouring countries have helped in our campaign against the insurgents.

“We are determined not to relax air assaults and stoppage of movement along the borders until the insurgents surrender.

“The troops are really taking the battle to the insurgents instead of being on the defensive.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “Preliminary findings confirmed that Boko Haram manages rag-tag fighters similar to those in Mali, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“No matter how long they pretend to be organised, the battle continues as our troops will not give up.”

On the outcome of the search for some missing pupils of the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, the source said: “The Yobe State Government set up a committee on this and the state will be able to talk appropriately on this.”

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