Army Captures Boko Haram Commander, Rescues 212 Hostages

The Nigerian Army, has said it has rescued more than 200 persons held hostage by Boko Haram fighters in Sambisa forest, Borno state.

Briefing Journalists on the success recorded the force, Army Spokesman,  Sani Usman, said soldiers also cleared remnants of insurgents from some villages in the northern fringes of the forest, and captured a Boko Haram commander, named Amman Judee .

Usman said the captured commander was being interrogated, those rescued were being documented.

The army spokesman, added that the underaged children among the rescued persons were receiving oral polio vaccines.

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Boko Haram Raids Military Base In Yobe, Kills Six Soldiers

An heavy fighting which broke out between troops of the Nigerian Army and Boko Haram members at a military base in Sasawa village, some 45 kilometres (28 miles) from the Yobe state capital, Damaturu, has left six soldiers dead along with several Boko Haram fighters.

Confirming the incident which happened on Tuesday, Colonel Kayode Ogunsanya told AFP from Damaturu: “There was an attack by Boko Haram terrorists on a military location in Sasawa village which led to casualties on both sides.”

However, a local chief in the area said: “Six soldiers died in the attack along with several Boko Haram fighters.

“Heavy fighting broke out and continued till midnight,” he said on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

“When the gunmen realised they would be subdued, they sent for reinforcements and more fighters arrived in three trucks.”

They overran the base, forcing the soldiers to withdraw.

Rebel fighters then moved into the village, which had been deserted by residents to escape the fighting.

Another local resident, Aisami Gremah, supported the chief’s account.

He added: “They (Boko Haram) loaded grains from the recent harvest into the pick-up trucks and moved towards Kareto and Magumeri in neighbouring Borno state.”

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Army Kills 40 Boko Haram Members In One Month

The Nigerian Army said it had killed a total of 40 Boko Haram insurgents, arrested 18 and rescued about 230 victims during combat in Sambisa forest in the last one month.

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, on Wednesday, told a press conference at the Command Control Center, Maiduguri that ten insurgents surrendered within the period under review. He said that the Theatre had recorded many successes against the insurgents following concerted efforts of troops in the newly-launched Operation DEEP PUNCH 2 and Operation RUWAN WUTA in Sambisa forest.

He explained that the two operations focused on coordinated aerial bombardments by the air and artillery platforms supported by land operations to decimate the insurgents. The commander said that the Mobile Strike Teams inaugurated in August had steadily gained momentum and had continued to ensure that the Main Supply Routes were adequately patrolled and secured on a daily basis. He said the operations had enhanced safety of commuters as well as ensured the gradual return of economic activities in some affected rural communities.

“Some of the operations led to the killing of two key Boko Haram commanders, Abdu Kawuri and Abubakar Benishek, in a successful operation on Sept. 1 at Alafa in Bama Local Government Area. “Additionally, a prominent Commander, Ba’abba Ibrahim, and two other commanders died after sustaining injuries during their last encounter with our Special Forces in an ambush at Magumeri council.

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Boko Haram Using Abducted UNIMAID Lecturers, Others As Human Shield – Army

The Nigerian Defence Headquarters has said that the inability of the military to rescue lecturers, oil workers and women in Boko Haram enclave is because the terrorists were using the captives as human shield.

It said the military cannot apply full force to free the captives because doing so would endanger their lives.

On June the 21, ten women among them female police personnel were abducted in a raid by the militant group on a military/police convoy along Damboa Road, in Borno State.

They were abducted after Boko Haram fighters reportedly attacked a convoy of security personnel in the Damboa area of Borno State when the officers were said to be going to a burial in Adamawa State.

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Troops Kill Two Boko Haram Insurgents In Borno

The Nigerian Army on Saturday said its troops had killed two Boko Haram insurgents at Mayanti village of Bama Local Government Council of Borno State.

Lt. Col. Kingsley Samuel, the Deputy Director Army Public Rations, 7 Division, said in Maiguri the troops had ambushed a group of insurgents while trying to cross into the Sambisa Forest.

The statement partly reads:

“The Mobile Strike Teams (MSTs) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE resolve to rout out the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists.

“MST yielded yet another result with the troops successfully ambushed unsuspecting terrorists at about 10: 45 p.m. on Friday, 6th October 2017.

“The insurgents were attempting to cross into Sambisa Forest from Mayanti village in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.

“The troops sprung the ambush on the terrorists and neutralised two of them, while several others escaped with gunshot wounds. The troops also recovered two bags of maize from the ambush site.

“The MST has been a potent deadly mobile lethal force engaging and neutralising the insurgents in several staging areas”.

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More Boko Haram Members Still In Ondo, Says Arrested Suspect

A top Boko Haram member, Mohammed Bashir, who was recently nabbed in Ondo State, has revealed that more members of the dreaded sect are still hiding in the state.

Bashir who was paraded alongside twelve suspected criminals, confessed that some members of the sect are at different locations in the state.

He told reporters that he is ready to face the consequence of his action.

The unrepentant Boko Haram member who is from Adamawa state also confessed that he had  killed two persons.

The police commissioner, Gbenga Adeyanju, however vowed to fish out other members of the sect hiding in the state.

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Fulfil Your Promise To Make Nigerians ‘Feel Safe Again,’ Atiku Tells Buhari

Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government to fulfil its promise of making Nigerians “feel safe again”.

In a statement signed by his media aide, Atiku said those who have suffered from the Boko Haram insurgency deserve to get the treatment and support they need.

According to him, his intention was to give the freed Chibok girls “the best possible education”.

The statement partly reads:

“The Waziri Adamawa prays that those who have suffered so much get all the treatment and support they need, and urgently calls on the federal government to honour its promise to make Nigerians feel safe again.

“Atiku, the founder of the AUN Group of Schools, is shocked that some would-be journalists think it is fair game to exploit a young girl’s trauma to score cheap political points.

“Atiku Abubakar is not aware that anyone is forced to attend ABTI Schools. The story is contrived hogwash. He urges the media, a critical partner in our march to progress and development, to remember that not everything is about 2019.

“I wish to stress that the intention of the Waziri Adamawa was to give the freed Chibok girls the best possible education, and that was why he helped set up the foundation programme to create such an opportunity in a familiar environment.

“Unfortunately, the best intentions can backfire. These girls are still healing, and clearly, the recent deterioration of the security situation in the north-east has opened old wounds.”

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Winning The Boko War: Peace And A Path Of Fresh Handshake Across The Niger, By Jimi Bickersteth

On a trip on this wet day from Lagos enroute Abaji,a locale of the IPOB,thoughts about the Boko Haram,another of the nation’s distress rocket and a  rollicking good family film,produced by insurgents and idle politicians,directed by op Lafiya dole in the savannah and sambisa forest,the all conquering op Python Dance II in the South East and the placating by palliatives in the Niger Delta region all of which bore seemingly but striking contrast, even though direct offshoot of intractable national questions which the struggles so to speak set out to correct, leadership problems,economic independence or resource control if you like and religious independence, forget that they almost ruined the nation by their neo fundamental stances.

The agitations in the Northeast axis, Niger Delta, MEND,IPOB,MASSOB, and the rest of such distraction were the best the six geopolitical booby-trap presented the nation, which also like an algae, has engendered,and thus, creating more local agitation for independence and secession.

But beyond that, this struggles had structures that could not muscle or isolate the truth and the reality about the Nigerian Dreams,as the questions of all the different nationalities in the federation, of full representation,has been answered by the nation’s return to civil rule in a participatory democracy,and that is the only panacea that could fast track development and unity in a multi national Nigeria.

The conquests and winning the battle of Sambisa, Oraifite after so long a time and loss of lives, property, history and in some cases even identity, couldn’t have come at a better time, as it infused new life into the debates and running commentaries, about credible and or failure of leadership, basically, because of the nation’s leaders poor response and below par attempts at tackling the challenges of ethnic domination,religious bigotry and intolerance.

If the nation care to do a case study, the Boko Haram war, the ND insurgencies,and the Biafra agitations, and what have you, could have been nipped in the bud, if we had applied:
i.the correct test under the rule and
ii.measures congruent with the seriousness of the situation,using dialogue as a major weapon at the table of democracy.

National development,democracy and insurgencies are mutually exclusive and of the trio,  democracy is believed to be a rehash of constitutional imperatives. But where is the rallying point and where are the leaders to:
a.) facilitate the handshake across the Niger:
b.) determine who governs the people through fair and free elections;
c.) work on a collective attempt to drastically reduce all corrupting influences in the society through legislation;
d.) give workers right to full and gainful employment and right to decent living by legislation.

All of the above  are salutary reminder of the positive correlation between the quality of life of the people,good governance and democracy. All of which are antithecal to the ploy inherent in the six geopolitical expression – a mere ploy by the strong nations to bully the weaker ones.

It is amazing how far the pompous bureaucracy and leaders Nigeria is laden with will go to make systemic change,rather than making an exception that would easily fix the problem. And the similarity is like the difference between puffy spring rain clouds and the clouds that precede a tornado, one is temporary and normal, the other is chronic and accumulate aggression.

The reported defeats on the Sambisa,and the south east strongholds of the insurgents is winning the war, on one hand, and a call for government on the other,on why it must also win the peace; and for that to be successfully done, the government has to be truthful and honest to itself.

Once  government is committed to being honest, daemons, fear in and around them that encourages insurgents and or rebellion will scamper for safety and disappear.The issue should no longer be about what went wrong, not anymore. It should be about what we are putting right.It is easy and possible.

However, the nation’s leaders and Representatives must desist from the Bonaparte style,who, at his coronation as France king, said, “Dieu me la donne,qure á qui la touche”-God has given it to me,let him beware who shall touch it . Ati tòjé bolóòsaà lówó,óku baba eni tí ó boo.Because it can make them more vulnerable.

Once the leaders,have learnt to focus on understanding the people and in the process, be open,authentic, so that the people can understand them, the leaders folly and the nation’s failure is on the way of been conquered, secrecy spawns isolation, not success.

In spite of daunting and overwhelming security issues, power and energy crisis, dwindling oil revenue, there is a flicker of hope that we shall soon leave our dry seasons behind,but that is if we can confront our national problems with keen intelligence and less cocksureness.

One thing is relevant and germane here though, and that is,while Nigerians do not expect the leaders to rub our feet while feeding us grapes, we are heavy hearted and exhausted with their greed and lack of care.
But life has taught us that because we are late we should not turn back. We should still believe in our country. We can show the leaders how we want to be led and if they choose to remain stubborn and self-absorbed, we have a way of taking the bull out of the China shop, and as a clever maitre d’hotel serves up as a specially choice delicacy a piece of meat that no one who had seen it in the kitchen would have cared to eat.

The insurgents,and seccession and other agitations,thought the nation a great lesson, and the lesson is that the insurgents thrive in a remoteness afforded by a vast grassland and natural creeks which had hitherto made for uneven control of resources. Added to this was the character of life itself in a land of seemingly unending reach.

In such a situation natural conditions promoted a tough individualism, as people became used to making their own decisions far away from the FCT in Abuja, and allow conditions of anarchy often prevail. It is incumbent upon the leaders to provide answers to the myriads of national question. As I tried to figure it out, I saw a situation where all instincts and good conscience tell our leaders to move forward,but to get moving,they must have to shift the weight back.

To gloss over it, or paper the cracks,or plunge into decisive action. As I contemplate the possibilities of each,my sense of control transforms into a feeling of falling helplessly down a giant hourglass, I feel Nigeria expect the deep cadence of PMB’s speech and leadership skills to steer our senses and our hearts. But right now, he is not saying much and he is not inviting much to be said either. Can there be recession in words and deeds.

Meanwhile, PMB should exert such soft political power his office guaranteed him to douse some of the tension in the land, as he wittingly, should propose a constitutional amendments, where all the states in the federation, are considered as commonwealth of states, having a loose association with Abuja;in one way or the other,the present state of,exclusive rule as if we are running a unitary system, would wither away and proper fiscal federalism and an even more complete self government would take the front burner.

Another alternative is to propose what is  called the, ” Mayflower Compact”, where we can combine states together into a civil body politics for a better ordering and preservation,enact and frame just and equal laws as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the people. Otherwise,the nation risks the fear of insurgencies succeeding and becoming self-governing, simply by asserting that they were beyond any governmental authority and then setting up their own political systems outside of the current inefficient political party structure and system that lacked cohesion, and who left the people largely to their own devices. #
Jimi Bickersteth

Jimi Bickersteth is a blogger and a writer.
He can be reached on Twitter@alabaemanuel
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Boko Haram Invades Borno Communities, Kills Chief Imam, 12 Others

No fewer than 12 persons were reported dead after an attack carried out by Boko Haram insurgents in Magumeri Magumeri Local Government Area of the state.

Caretaker Chairman of Magumeri Local Government told newsmen that the Chief Imam of Kurmiri Village and four other persons were among those killed.

Confirming the attack, Police Public Relations Officer for Borno State, Mr. Isuku Victor, said that 13 other persons were also killed in multiple suicide bomb attacks at Mashemeri village in Konduga Local Government Area of the state.

“On Monday September 18, at about 10:50 hours, two male and a female suicide bomber carried out coordinated attacks at different locations at Mashemari village in konduga Local Government Area.

“The first explosion occurred when there was echo of sporadic shooting in a farm. In the ensuing stampede, the first suicide bomber detonated the Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs).

“The other two suicide bombers detonated their explosives inside the village close to the house of the village head.

“Thirteen persons including the three suicide bombers died while sixteen other persons sustained various degrees of injuries,” he said.

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Triggered By Poverty & Fear: Maiduguri Mother Willing To Donate Her Daughter To Boko Haram

By Mercy Abang

Over 134 suicide bombings have occurred since 2009 when Boko Haram unleashed a campaign of terror on Nigeria’s northeast region. According to research by Combating Terrorism Center at West Point and Yale University, at least 244 of the 338 attacks since 2011 where gender is identifiable, have been young girls under the age of 7 – 13.

And the trend does not seem to be ending soon.  On August 6th, 2017, the Nigerian Army issued a statement appealing to religious and traditional leaders in communities within the region to help dissuade people from donating their daughters or female wards, to the terrorists for indoctrination and suicide bombing missions.

It came off as one of the many announcements made to the media that the public has become numb to over time because of the series of unabated killings by Boko Haram.

Beyond the surface however, it reflected the disturbing state of situation in Northern Nigeria and Nigerians moved on like everyday tales in recent years since the beginning of insurgency. “The statement became expedient in view of recent revelations by some intercepted female suicide bombers during interrogations”, the military wrote.

37-year old Hadiza is a mother to three girls and a missing boy; she loves her children but is willing to offer her teenage daughter to the insurgents for the monetary benefit.

“I can’t say NO to the insurgents, can you?” she asks, speaking in Hausa with the help of a local interpreter who doubled as a fixer. “What has government done for us since we’ve been displaced?”

Hadiza is a nervous wreck, uncoordinated for most of the interview.  Hadiza and her husband were displaced after the deadly attacks on Biu in July 2015 that left 78 persons killed including the insurgents.

Hadiza’s home was raided along with other residents but they hid themselves in the bush as the terrorists looted and torched houses, carting away food produce. That attack forced them out of their home and they walked kilometres from home and slept in the bush for more than six nights to avoid being killed – that journey led them to finally move and settle in Maiduguri.

Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and forced some 2.7 million others including her family to flee their homes since 2009.

Like every other woman in the neighbourhood, she has been through trauma and is a victim of the crisis that has forced her out of her home.   She lights a smoke while seated in the wooden chair shaking her legs constantly and can easily be mistaken for a crackhead.

“I have lost everything, I can’t feed these kids – we hear accounts of stolen foods and items sent to those of us suffering but who are those taking it back? The wealthy”.  Aisha sobs.

“And you think Boko Haram will come here (pointing to the other lady by her side) and any one of us will say NO”?

As disturbing as her accounts may sound, the remarks by Aisha are not so much in contrast to the statement issued by Brigadier General, Sani Kukasheka Usman- Director Army Public Relations.

The military described the motive for some parents donating children to Boko Haram as barbaric and unacceptable, but not for Hadiza. Cases abound like hers, where the insurgents paid off the parents in exchange for their daughters and in less diplomatic situations, threatened with death. At every point of questioning Hadiza, she kept asking who is protecting them from the insurgents?

“It was discovered that most of these hapless minors were “donated” to the terrorists sect by their heartless and misguided parents and guardians, as part of their contribution to the perpetuation of the Boko Haram terrorists’ dastardly acts against the Nigerian society and humanity” – The army statement read.

It appealed to Nigerians to have a responsibility and obligation to “collectively mold our children and wards and define a better future for them rather than condemning them to death by the criminal Boko Haram terrorists and their sympathizers through suicide bombings”.

For Hadiza , the conversation isn’t much about a home, care, or future, it is about the perils of living in the present “It is a war zone here, you survive”, she tears up.

The story of Hadiza can be likened to most of the families in the community, with no breadwinner; she begs to survive along with her kids and refused to move to the IDP camp miles away. She says “staying out here means I can eat whenever I want to but in there you eat once in a day and you’re not sure when the food will be served”

“The place is chaotic” she added.

According to her, she was a one time Biu resident before moving to Maiduguri. Hadiza said her family narrowly escaped the night the insurgents raided their community sometime in 2015 –“they burnt all the houses and left with our farm produce”.  Speaking through an interpreter, Hadiza recounts, as she shrugs, in attempts to put up resistance ignoring the stare from her husband who looks on from the window of the crudely built shack where they reside.

Hadiza’s husband didn’t want her to grant this interview for fear of getting killed in the process, but she insisted.

Hadiza  and her husband were farmers back in Biu – the farm provided not only subsistence but also a little cash crop – now too scared to continue. She said the idea to begin a small farm to survive has again been suspended as a result of the resurgence of terrorist’s activities.

Poverty and Inequality have been blamed for most of the Boko Haram crisis in the Northeast and Hadiza, also a victim of the insurgency suffers same fate of poverty – willing to trade her child for same reasons.

Earlier in the year, the Borno State government warned of the massive baby boom factory in Gwande area of the state – women selling babies for money to survive.

Oxfam, in its 2017 latest report entitled, “Inequality in Nigeria, Exploring the Drivers,” presented an alarming picture of the Nigerian economic situation, stating that 112 million Nigerians are living in abject poverty.

Presenting a picture of extreme inequality in Nigeria, Oxfam argued that the combined wealth of the five richest Nigerians, put at about $29.9 billion, could end extreme poverty in the country. According to the report, economic inequality was a key factor behind the conflict that had led to the severe food crisis in Nigeria’s North East states, especially as the UN estimates that about five million people in North East Nigeria will suffer from severe food shortages this year.

Analysts have suggested varied reasons for the Boko Haram crisis but poverty and inequality remain the prevalent factor. In Northern Nigeria for instance, unemployment and underemployment is still at the highest levels as compared to Southern Nigeria. According to UNICEF report released in year 2015, Nigeria accounts for 10.5 million out of school children, of which the North alone is responsible for 8 million of that number.  For instance, the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, blamed the rise of Boko Haram partly on the way revenues from the nation’s Federation account are shared. Sanusi, now an Emir in Kano, argued that the sharing is done in such a manner that disadvantaged the North.

He maintained “there is clearly a direct link between the very uneven nature of distribution of resources and the rising level of violence”.

On 2nd August 2016 there was a crack in Boko Haram that led to two factions between Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi.

Security analysts believe that al-Barnawi is the son of Boko Haram’s original founder, Mohammed Yusuf, and was previously the spokesman of Boko Haram under Shekau. He is said to have been responsible for most of the deadly attacks currently being carried out by the sect and the abduction and killings of oil workers and some lecturers from the University of Maiduguri.

“Al-Barnawi has the capacity to carry out attacks on a larger scale” according to an Abuja based security expert who doesn’t want his name mentioned in this report.

The resurgence of the terrorist activities forced 70 lecturers teaching at the University of Maiduguri to resign and also forced then Acting-President Yemi Osinbajo, to order military chiefs to move to Borno, in a bid to “scale up their efforts”.

Though the Nigerian Army is offering a reward of the sum of Five Hundred Thousand Naira  (N500,000.00) to anybody who provides information about suicide bombers. Young girls are allegedly still being used in carrying out deadly attacks in the troubled Northeast region.

This article was written as part of the 2017 BudgIT Media Fellowship

Mercy Abang is a Freelance Journalist, focusing on development Journalism – She doubles as a media fixer with Sunday Times of London, BBC, Aljazeera and a former Stringer with the Associated Press – She tweets at @abangmercy.. She is the 2017 United Nations Journalism Fellow and budgIT Media fellow for 2017

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Boko Haram: U.S. Agrees To Sell Arms To Nigeria

The United States of America has agreed in principle to sell arms to fortify the Nigerian military in fighting terrorism in the northeast.

Senate president, Bukola Saraki disclosed this in an interview with newsmen after receiving a team of U.S congressmen in his office on Monday.

It is the first serious commitment to be secured by Nigeria from the U.S government to sell arms to combat protracted activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast.

Saraki however said talks are still on going before the arrangement is properly tied with Nigeria expected to meet its own end of the bargain especially as it concerns its human rights record.

The senate president said the U.S government is satisfied with progress made under the current administration; explaining its new commitment to come to the aid of Nigeria in its hour of need against rising insurgency in the country.

“The commitment we have is that the fight against terrorism should not be left to Nigeria but Nigeria must play its role in the area of human rights”, Saraki said.

Apart from supplying Nigeria with military hardware; the U.S. would also provide support in the area of tactics and surveillance which Saraki believes would greatly strengthen Nigeria’s military.

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Breaking: 68 Boko Haram Terrorists Surrender To Nigerian Army

The Deputy Director of Public Relations at Operation LAFIYA DOLE Theatre Command, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu, has announced that 68 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered to troops of the command.

Colonel Nwachukwu, in a statement made available to newsmen explained that the sustained bombardments and operations pushed the terrorist group to the brink of defeat with many of its foot soldiers surrendering to the Army.

“These surrendered terrorists also reported that many of the enclaves have become untenable and life has become unbearable for the Boko Haram terrorists, owing to the blockade emplaced by troops and the sustained bombardments.

“Those who have surrendered and turned a new leaf are currently undergoing rehabilitation and de-radicalisation programmes organised by the Federal Government through Operation SAFE CORRIDOR,” he said.

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