Nigeria military authorities, on Wednesday, said 17 militants linked to last Sunday’s attack at Konduga village, Borno State, have been arrested reports the Nigerian Tribune.
This is just as the Defence headquarters, on Wednesday, announced the death of Momodu Bama, second-in-command to the leader of Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, during an encounter with troops in Bama, Borno State.
Spokesman for the military, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, told newsmen in Abuja that the militants were nabbed on the day of the attack. He said efforts were being made to track down more perpetrators of the attack.
Brigadier-General Olukolade also said patrols had been stepped up on land and air, while number of troops on patrol in rural areas had also been increased to prevent a recurrence.
While announcing the killing of Bama, who was said to have been personally leading attacks against troops and innocent citizens in the communities of Yobe and Adamawa states, Olukolade said Bama’s father, Alhaji Abatcha Flatari, one of the spiritual guiding lights of the outlawed terrorists group, also died in the operation.
It will be recalled that Bama was among the most wanted terrorists with a N25 million bounty already placed on his head. The defence spokesman said 17 other terrorists lost their lives in the encounter, while 24 were arrested.
He said the troops would continue the pursuit of the terrorists while intensifying aerial and land patrols to ensure better security cover for the communities.
Confirming the development, the Joint Task Force, codenamed Operation Restore Order in Borno State, said contrary to some media reports that Bama was killed in Mubi, Adamawa State, he was actually killed in Bama town, alongside his father.
A statement signed by Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, the JTF spokesman in Maiduguri, made available to newsmen on Wednesday, revealed that Bama was killed in Bama town in Borno State, as against report that he was killed in Mubi.
According to the statement, JTF during the Boko Haram terrorists attack on mobile Police base and Bama town on 4 August 2013 killed Momodu Bama aka Abu Saad, and his father Abatcha Flatari.
“Bama was one of the most vicious and heartless killers in the group, with penchant for slaughtering his victims. He had a bounty of N25 million placed on him by the JTF.
“He is well known to security operatives in Borno and speaks Kanuri, Hausa, Arabic and English languages,” the statement read.
3 months after, state of emergency has worked – FG
The Federal Government is confident that three months after the imposition of state of emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, the objective of curtailing the activities of the insurgent Boko Haram has been achieved.
Minister of State for Defence, Mrs Olusola Obada, told State House correspondents in Abuja, on Wednesday, that the measure had halted the threat to the nation’s unity and territorial integrity, including the usurpation of the authority of the Nigerian state.
“It has halted the threat to Nigeria’s unity, as you know the unity of this country is paramount and the president, as the leader of this country, has ensured that the unity of this country is preserved and protected,” she said.
Recalling that the insurgents had taken over large territories in Borno State, where they hoisted their flags, she observed that security agencies deployed in the areas had performed their duties with a high level of professionalism.
She said “we are at peace with our neighbours, but the problem is internal and so, we need to always observe the rules of engagement and respect for human rights.”
The minister remarked that arrests were being made, while a lot of arms and ammunition had been confiscated, adding that the Boko Haram fighters in the net would be prosecuted in due course.
She stressed the need for the civilian populace to cooperate with the security agencies, by providing intelligence support.
“I believe you will realise that a lot of the civilians now are also providing assistance to the military and security agencies in identifying those who are behind these insurgencies in their areas,” she said.
She also spoke on the timely payment of the benefits of fallen officers, adding that the issue was receiving due attention from the Federal Government.
“If anybody dies in action, we accord such a befitting funeral and we ensure all entitlements that should go to dependents, next of kin is taken care of. I can assure you of that,” she added.