By Capt. Hashim Abdullahi
1. TROOPS CRUSH FLEEING BOKO HARAM TERRORISTS IN YOBE
As a result of the ongoing clearance operations through Operation DEEP PUNCH II in Operation Lafiya Dole, some desperate Boko Haram terrorists attempting to escape the theatre through one of the formidable blocking positions in Goniri, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State, had been severely dealt with on Friday 9th February 2018. The terrorists in attempt to penetrate through the troops lying in wait were mercilessly trashed. The troops destroyed their Vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Devices (IED), neutralized quite a number and wounded several other escaping Boko Haram terrorists. Similarly, they recovered an Anti-aircraft gun with long belt of ammunitions, an AK-47 Rifle and other items. Immediately the terrorists encountered the troops around 6:20pm, they adopted rapid firing, while the troops responded with maximum volume of fire. The troops’ tank tactically flanked and crushed the IED laden vehicle of the terrorists. The response was very efficient as only 2 soldiers sustained minor injuries. The two brave soldiers are currently receiving treatment in the Brigade Field Ambulance.
2. TRIAL OF FRESH 1,000 BOKO HARAM SUSPECTS BEGINS TODAY
The Federal Government, through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) will on Monday (today) resume the trial of suspected Boko Haram insurgents detained in various locations of the country. A press statement by the Special Adviser to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Mr. Salihu Isah, said on Sunday that the second phase of the trial at the Kainji detention facility in Niger State would begin on Monday (today). The statement said “Resumption of trial arose from the conclusion of investigation of over 1,000 suspects as ordered by the court during its proceedings of October 2017 by the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.” He explained that suspects with prima facie cases would be prosecuted, while others without it would have applications made for their discharge. According to him, “those discharged will undergo a process of de-radicalisation.” Isah said the de-radicalisation exercise would be conducted by the Office of the National Security Adviser the concerned suspects would be released to their various families.
3. LECTURERS’ RELEASE: MANY PEOPLE STILL HELD BY BOKO HARAM, SAYS RED CROSS
The International Committee of the Red Cross, the agency that received the three freed University of Maiduguri lecturers and the 10 women from the Boko Haram terrorists, says there are “many people being held against their will.” The ICRC stated this in a release by its Communications Coordinator, Aleksandra Matijevic, obtained by our correspondent on Sunday. The agency also said it did not interfere in the negotiations between Boko Haram and the Federal Government for the release of the 13 persons. The ICRC said its only role was to receive the victims from the “armed group.” The ICRC Africa Region, Deputy Director, Patrick Youssef, said the agency hoped that more people would be released. Youssef said, “We are pleased that these 13 people are free and will be able to see their families again. There are many people missing or being held against their will due to the conflict. This creates untold trauma and suffering, including for families across the Lake Chad region which must live with the daily uncertainty and anguish of not knowing the fate or whereabouts of their loved ones. We hope that these people too will get to return to their families soon.”
4. 200 NIGERIAN PEACEKEEPERS WITHDRAW FROM LIBERIA
The last batch of 200 Nigerian peacekeepers deployed in Liberia under the UN Mission in Liberia have withdrawn after five years following the conclusion of their mission in the country. The last military protection force in UNSMIL left Liberia on Thursday as part of the termination of the mission’s mandate, scheduled on March 30, the mission said. UNMIL was established in September 2003 to monitor a ceasefire agreement in Liberia following the resignation of President Charles Taylor and the conclusion of the Second Liberian Civil War and the Nigerian contingent has been deployed there since then. An official farewell ceremony was held on Monday in honour of the departing Police and Military personnel who have served with the Mission.
5. MILITARY TAKES OVER OIL RICH UGBORODO COMMUNITY, KILLS ONE PIRATE IN DELTA
There was a fierce shootout between suspected oil thieves, pirates, armed youths and heavily armed soldiers from the Joint Task Force (JTF) code-named Operation Delta Safe yesterday in the troubled oil-rich Ugborodo community in Escravos, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta. The soldiers, security sources told THISDAY last night, were in the community to flush out miscreants and armed youths causing crisis in the area which was threatening the $ 16billion Delta Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and $20billion Gas Revolution Industrial Park and several other oil and gas related projects in the area. It was gathered that the gun duel between the soldiers and the suspected miscreants, which lasted for several hours, led to the killing of one unidentified youth. The military operation, it was learnt, started first from the Madangho and Ajudiabo axis to Ogidigben where they encountered serious opposition last Saturday before extending their operation to the Ode-Ugborodo axis where the alleged head of the illegal bunkerer and his gang were overwhelmed by the superior fire power of the security agents and therefore allegedly fled into the bush while the soldiers took over the community. Former Vice-Chairman of Ugborodo Community Trust, Mr. Isaac Botosan, told journalists that the people of the community jubiliated over the military operation.
6. BOKO HARAM: SENATOR COMMENDS NIGERIAN GOVT, RED CROSS ON RELEASE OF ABDUCTED SCIENTISTS, POLICEWOMEN
A Borno senator, Ali Ndume, has commended the federal government and the International Committee on Red Cross, ICRC, for the release of 13 abducted persons by Boko Haram. The presidency on Saturday announced the release of the three geologists and 10 other women who were abducted by Boko Haram fighters in July 2017. The victims were released after negotiations between the government and the terror group with the involvement of the Red Cross, the presidency said on Saturday, The ten female abductees, including police officers, are indigenes of Askira Uba Local Government Area in the southern part of Borno State where Mr. Ndume represents. The 13 abductees regained their freedom three days after the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, in a YouTube video bragged that despite the attacks by the Nigeria military and the claims of rescuing captives from Sambisa forest, he still has the 10 women in his custody. Mr. Ndume in a statement he issued on Saturday night said the release of the 13 abductees has rekindled his people’s hope on the rescue of the remaining Chibok schoolgirls and other persons in Boko Haram captivity.
7. NAVY SEIZE COCAINE HIDDEN IN BAGS OF RICE
A ‘phantom ship’ which had more than a tonne of crystal meth on board has been seized by the Indonesian navy. The MV Sunrise Glory was intercepted by a navy boat patrolling the Phillip Channel between Singapore and Batam. It was flying the flag of Singapore but the crew changed it for the Indonesian one as the military vessel approached. When the boat was taken to Batam for inspection, 1,029 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine were found stashed inside 41 sacks of rice. Navy deputy chief Vice Admiral Achmad Taufiqoerrochman said, “Last night, we discovered more than one tonne of crystal meth and the amount might increase because we have not finished checking everything.” Four crew members were arrested and the men told their captors that they had planned on taking the drugs to Australia. Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-drugs laws in the world, including capital punishment for traffickers. Officials initially suspected that the Taiwanese fishing boat was a part of a drug syndicate wanted by the Indonesian military. As well as the huge stash of drugs, at least four different national flags and fake documents were found on board, prompting suspicion that the vessel was a ‘phantom ship’ which changes its name and flag depending on which country’s waters it is sailing in to avoid detection.
8. BENUE: MISSING POLICEMAN’S BODY RETRIEVED WITHOUT EYES, EARS OR NOSE
Benue State Police Command has said the body of one of its officers has been retrieved in unflattering condition, as the eyes, ears and nose have been removed. Four policemen were declared missing after the Saturday night attack on Azege-Ayilamo community in Logo Local Government area of the state. The command stated on Saturday that suspected herdsmen had ambushed a patrol team at Azege-Ayilamo in Logo council area, where four of its men went missing. Two of the missing policemen were said to have been rescued on Sunday. A press statement signed by the command spokesman, ASP Moses Yamu, and made available to our correspondent in Makurdi on Monday regretted the suspected murder of one of the remaining two missing policemen. According to him, the retrieved body was found brutally mutilated, with the eyes, ears and the nose removed.
9. OVER 200 YOUTHS RENOUNCE CULTISM IN LAGOS, SURRENDER ARMS, AMMUNITION
The community policing strategy of the Lagos State Police Command monday paid off again as over 200 youths from different cult groups renounced cultism, just as they surrendered their arms and ammunition. With this recent renunciation, the number of cultists that have called it quits with the youths drawn from the Aiye, Eiye and Buccaneers confraternities renounced their membership at the palace of the Ikorodu monarch, Oba Kabiru Shotobi. Also surrendered were 15 locally made long guns, 30 bullets, 11 cutlasses, four axes, four double-barrel guns, five short locally made pistols and a sword. Receiving the youths and the surrendered weapons, the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, said the voluntary renunciation was as a result of community policing and community partnership. Cultism in Lagos has skyrocketed to 860 in the past six months under the present police leadership. While assuring the repented cultists that the command would do all within its might to ensure Ikorodu was rid of criminality, he said their reintegration into the society has been set in motion.
10. ARMY TO DEAL WITH PERSONNEL OVER SOCIAL MEDIA LEAKS
The Nigerian Army said it has clamped down on some personnel who use social media negatively and against the laid down rules of the force. Although the force declined comments on the number of personnel, the Chief of Administration Major General Idris Alkali said it has put in place mechanisms to deal with further leaks. He frowned at the use of social media by its personnel to discuss classified service matters and express grievances, saying the Army will not hesitate to deal with offenders. General Alkali who spoke on behalf of the Chief Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai said the Army would no longer tolerate the use of new media by its personnel to pass information and especially classified military matters and troops movement in theatres of operation. The Army Chief, who spoke at the weekend while opening the Office Management and Document Security Workshop 2018 for Army personnel of the rank of Privates and Warrant Officers, expressed sadness over the post of gory photos involving personnel and troops, adding that these photos and videos embarrass the force and the families of the affected persons. The workshop, he said, was set up at the initiative of the COAS to ensure that professionalism is enforced, especially in the wake of leak of security documents; adding that the workshop was to sensitize the participants of the need to secure Nigerian Army documents in a manner that will not jeopardize the force’s operation. While urging to personnel to ensure they take the workshop seriously, the Army Chief said that the lessons at the workshop will help them actualize his vision of building a professional and responsive army in the discharge of their constitutional roles. He stressed clerks and other office personnel play a great role in the running of the force, especially as they handle sensitive classified documents, adding that clerks are essential elements in document security, urging them to be vigilant and alert in handling their responsibilities.