Captured Boko Haram Members
OVER 200 vehicles, consisting mainly of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), have so far been recovered from the camps of the Boko Haram Islamic sect since the beginning of the onslaught against the insurgents.
T he vehicles are believed to have been stolen from their owners in various parts of the country.
The insurgents are said to have demonstrated a preference for SUVs or 4-wheel drive vehicles as these facilitate their quick escape in the desert area.
On Friday, four members of the sect, including one believed to be very close to the Boko Haram leader, Sheikh Abubakar Shekau, were arrested by the âcivilian joint task forceâ in Maiduguri, the
Borno State capital.
Saturday Tribune gathered on Friday that three of the sect members were arrested at Galtimari Ward, close to Giwa Barracks, and handed over to the unit along Barracks Road, while the remaining one was arrested at Kawar-Maila, in Shehuri Ward of the state.
One of the task force officials who arrested the fourth sect member on Friday told Saturday Tribune that the suspect would be taken to one of the car wash centres near the Maiduguri zoo so as to make him indentify some other members of his group and also show (the task force) where they keep their guns.
A military source who spoke to Saturday Tribune on Thursday had foreclosed an early restoration of communication facili ties in parts of the North currently under state of emergency, saying there were security reports that the terrorists were making efforts to contact one another so that they could regroup.
Also, those hoping that the state of emergency currently in place in the three northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe will soon be lifted may also have to wait a little longer, as military authorities have declared that they are determined to see the current anti-terrorists clampdown to its logical conclusion.
Saturday Tribune gathered from informed security sources that the detention camps are already overflowing with terrorists captured during the various raids, while the Chief of Defenc e Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, has set up an assessment team on the development.
The defence headquarters is bothered that the facilities in the detention camps have been overstretched, and has mandated the assessment team to ascertain the level of involvement of the terrorists so that those not deeply involved can be recommended to the Federal Government for amnesty.
Also, it was gathered that the military task force has been given a marching order to either capture or eliminate Shekau, as it is believed that this is the only way to end insurgency in the country.
He recounted how a member of the sect riding a motorcycle in Borno tried to beat a checkpoint but was pursued by troops who shot at him. When the bag he was carrying was searched, a recent recording of Shekau was found in it. When the tape was played, it had the voice of Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, warning the people not to cooperate with the troops, as those who do so would be risking their lives.
The recording was to be posted on Youtube.
The troops also recovered various hand bills that would have been distributed to cause disaffection between the people and the troops.
According to the source, military authorities believe that this particular terrorist is very close to Shekau and would provide useful information about his whereabouts.
Saturday Tribune gathered that various types of activities go on inside the sectâs camps in Sambisa forest, which stretches over 16 kilometres on the outskirts of Borno and lies between Bama and Maiduguri.
According to the source, locally fabricated rocket stands and other equipment were being manufactured in the forest.
One of the bullion vans taken away by the terrorists when Bama prison was attacked was seen in the forest, which the terrorists set ablaze while they were fleeing.
Also, the troops discovered a tailoring factory where the terrorists were sewing fake army uniforms and camouflage and other materials.
Defence spokesman, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, said that it was not easy for the insurgents to regroup and that this was why communication in those areas cannot be restored now.
On the invol vement of youths in hunting for the sect members, Olukolade said the youth were being watched and controlled, since (their involvement) is a voluntary effort, having experienced the ferocity of the terrorists.
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