According to the military sources, a major recruiter for Boko Haram was arrested in Maiduguri. The Nigerian military said on Wednesday that it has dislodged all the terrorist camps operated by the Boko Haram in some areas of Yobe State and arrested 49 members of the sect in various operations in the state.
The military also said many Boko Haram members were fleeing to neighbouring Niger Republic through Nigeria’s porous borders.
The interior ministry had said in May that Nigeria had about 1,500 illegal borders that are poorly manned.
In a statement by the Director of Defence Information, Chris Olukolade, the military said the suspects were arrested in various locations in the state by the Joint Task Force following a tip off by some locals.
Various weapons including AK 47rifles, locally made pistols, and ammunition were recovered by the troops
during the operation in Rugan Fulani, Arikime, Afghanistan and Ngandu villages.
The JTF team led by B.E. Inyang said all terrorist camps had been dislodged while some of the terrorists fled towards Niger Republic.
It, however, said some criminals still terrorise the state under the guise of Boko Haram.
“The DHQ team was also informed of a trend whereby some particular crimes have now taken the place of terrorism as the criminals now resort to brigandage, robbery and attempted assassination of business rivals,” Mr. Olukolade said.
He assured residents of Yobe of safety of lives and property and encouraged citizens with vital information to provide the soldiers with them as they rid the state of the insurgents.
Success in Borno too Mr. Olukolade also said a key terrorist who specializes in recruiting young men into the Boko Haram has been apprehended by troops in Maiduguri following a tip off.
He said the suspect, who allegedly also watches over the insurgents’ armoury, was arrested in one of the cordon and search operations by the Special Forces. The soldiers also arrested another group of 5 insurgents, all from Niger Republic.
They were arrested when troops stormed their hideout at Mallam Fatori as they attempted to escape in two Toyota Cruiser Jeeps, Mr. Olukolade said.
He said the soldiers have continued to patrol the notorious Sambisa forest and are also cordoning the Alou forest and Gwoza Hills. “More abandoned vehicles, weapons and other items are being recovered in the camps of the insurgents,” he said.
He listed some of the recovered arms as rifles, double barrel guns, various charms and amulets, machine guns, as well as pairs of camouflage uniforms, bows and quiver and assorted rifle magazine. Others are handset, walkie talkie, car number plates and some food items.
“Abandoned vehicles recovered include a Golf Car, a Honda, Customs Pickup Van, Honda (2003 Model) and a Volkswagen Monte Carlo,” the military spokesman said. Mr. Olukolade said police stations are now being reopened in some parts of Borno State. “At Kirenowa, detachments of Police Anti-Terrorist unit have been deployed to complement security in the area,” he said.
The spokesman said the defence headquarters had organised a tour of the operational areas of the JTF for selected local and foreign Journalists. He said the tour is to ensure that “the media have a first-hand information on the situation in the operational areas.”
The federal government officially declared the Boko Haram as terrorists on Tuesday.