Boko Haram Suspects: Troops Arrest 26 Foreigners, 3332 Civilians
A Text of Press briefing by Major General Leo Irabor, Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dolein maiduguri on February 2, 2017
Inspite of the regrettable occurrence of 17 Jan 17 at RANN, our gallant troops have continued to gain traction by recording successes in our operational engagements. Before continuing the Brief, I request that we pay respect to those who died in that incident.
a. Update on Activities in RANN. After the sad incident on 17 Jan 17, an emergency response team was established. A well coordinated response involving the Op LAFIYA DOLE, UNOCHA, ICRC, MSF and Borno State Government was initiated. Helicopters and Ambulances from the UN, ICRC, Op LAFIYA DOLE and the Borno State Government were employed. A surgical centre was established in Rann to help stabilize the wounded before being evacuated. The CO 3 Bn and the Medical officer of the unit among several other medical personnel from the Humanitarian Agencies were involved.
b. On 19 Jan 17 a Federal Government delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, that included Ministers of Defence and Information, CDS and Service Chiefs, paid condolence visit tothe Governor of Borno State, Shehu of Dikwa andHumanitarian Agencies at UNOCHA office on behalf of Mr President. Similarly, on 20 Jan 17 at about 1340hrs, the COAS Lt Gen TY Buratai accompanied by AHQ PSOs and GOC 7 Div visited RANN, KALA BALGE LGA. The COAS and entourage visited the scene of the incident and condoled the Bulamas. I equally visited the location along with the Maritime and Air Component Commanders. In all, the response was very prompt. I wish to take this opportunity to appreciate the contributions and support of everyone.
The understanding shown by the Government and the people of Borno during the trying moment is very well appreciated. I have constituted a Board of Inquiry to ascertain the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incidence. So far, it has been established that the strike was a mistake. Statistics show that 112 persons died and 97 were wounded. The wounded are in various hospitals receiving treatment.
c. Mop-up Operations. During the period under review, mop-up operations were conducted as follows:
(1) As part of the operations to dominate Sambisa Forest, on 14 Jan 17 at about 0900hrs, troops recovered 50 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition and one AK47 rifle. Items recovered include a GPMG, 2,269 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 2 RPG bombs and 528 rounds of 7.62mm special. Additionally, recovered and destroyed several BHT vehicles, motorcycles, foodstuff, solar panels and mattresses. A total of 5 BHT were killed in action, including 2 suicide bombers.
(2) On 23 Jan 17 at about 0900hrs, own troops deployed at DIKWA conducted clearance patrol to SINABAYA and MASKITE village. The patrol cleared SINABAYA village and encountered BHT resistance towards MASKITE village. During the operation, 9 BHT were killed and some items were captured. The items captured include 6 dane guns, a GPMG, 4 mobile handsets, a motorcycle with BHT flag mounted and 2 wrist watches. MASKITE village was combed and cleared where 9 civilians held captives were rescued.
(3) On 16 Jan 17 at about 1530hrs, our troops deployed at MONGUNO received information of BHT activities at MARARIA village along MONGUNO – MARTE road. The troops in conjunction with CJTF immediately trailed and encountered some BHT in the village. After an encounter, a BHT member was killed in action while 2 AK47 rifles, 2 AK47 magazines with 8 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition were recovered.
(4) On 18 Jan 17 at about 0530hrs, own troops conducted fighting patrol to MUSARA, GUMNARI, NAIRA and ANGAYINA villages. Troops intercepted 8 men conveying items suspected to be for BHT. The suspects were arrested and searched. During the search, one suspect was found with 2 letters with one of the letters requesting for the supply of 4 AA guns by BHT. Other items in their possession included many torch lights, 4 handsets, large quantities of slippers, clothes, drugs, batteries and the sum of N341,000.00 only.
(5) On 24 Jan 17 at about 0900hrs, own troops in conjunction with CJTF and vigilantes conducted operations to MASA along DIKWA – GULUMBA GANA road. The troops cleared MIJIGITE and GWANGHA villages and later encountered BHT at AJIRI village. The troops came in contact and 2 BHT members were killed in action. The equipment captured include a bandolier, a camouflage trouser, a Tecno handset and a BHT flag. The troops combed and cleared AJIRI village where 85 civilians held captives were rescued. Also, on 26 Jan 17 at about 1130hrs, own troops supported by the CDF conducted operations to GULUMBA GANA. Three BHT were killed in action while one AK47 rifle, one FN rifle and a gun truck mounted with Anti Aircraft gun were captured.
(6) Between 17 – 24 Jan 17, troops conducted long range patrol in pursuit of fleeing BHT along Yale axis. Several recoveries were made including rescue of hostages. Highlights are as shown.
(7) On 27 Jan 17 at about 0728hrs, our gallant troops conducted mop up operations at GULUMBA – GANA for 3hrs 10mins. The troops recovered 2 AK47 rifles, 3 rounds of 7.62mm special, detonator-33 electrical cord, 3 plastic pressure plates, 2 Shilka empty cases primed with simple charge. Other items discovered were IED making materials and 3 prepared IEDs. All items were destroyed in situ.
(8) Yesterday, troops trailed fleeing BHT to Dusla and Buk. Several BHT were killed. Assorted sophisticated weapons including Shilka Gun, 9 AK Rifles, 3 FN Rifles, one tube, one Gun truck mounted with AA Gun, 2 Hilux vehicles, 2 RPG tube and one LMG amongst others as shown.
d. Arrests. Our troops have arrested some BHT suspects during the period under review as follows:
(1) On 10 Jan 17 at about 0930hrs, own troops deployed behind IDP Camp MAFA in conjunction with CJTF and vigilantes intercepted one Alhaji Madu, aged 56 years and a native of ANADAWA village. The suspect was accused by the locals of being the BHT Amir and chief imam of ANADAWA village. The locals further revealed that the suspect was once arrested by Nigeria Police in MAIDUGURI and was in custody for over 9 months before he was released. The suspect is currently in custody undergoing interrogation.
(2) On 18 Jan 17 at about 1210hrs following a tip-off, own troops arrested Abur Goni Bukar of LA’ARI MATARI village in an ash-coloured Golf vehicle at a military check point. Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect has been supplying fuel and foodstuff to BHT coming from GINI to DUNGA village. The suspect is in custody undergoing further investigation.
(3) On 20 Jan 17 at about 1820hrs, our troops in conjunction with Nigeria Police personnel carried out a cordon and search operation at WURO DOLE in AKKO LGA of Gombe State based on a tip-off. During the operation, a suspected BHT named Ibrahim Ali was arrested. During prelim interrogation, the suspect confessed to being a BHT member and has been with the terrorists for a period of time. He also revealed that he was part of those that attacked CHIBOK and MADAGALI. The suspect is undergoing further investigation.
(4) On 21 Jan 17 at 1550hrs, own troops in conjunction with members of vigilante arrested one Ayuba Duse Traore suspected to be a BHT member at DUKKU. The suspect claimed to be a citizen of Republic of Mali and could only speak French. He is currently undergoing further investigation.
(5) Our troops arrested a suspected BHT member named Haruna Bukar on 25 Jan 17 at about 2247hrs at TIZAN near CIRIMIYA area of SHEWURI South of MAIDUGURI. The suspect, popularly known both as Kwakwa Mafoni and Bulama Modi, was alleged to be part of the syndicate that facilitates the bringing in prepared suicide bombers into MAIDUGURI. He is currently undergoing further interrogation.
(6) On 27 Jan 17 at about 1730hrs, own troops arrested 3 suspected BHT with bags of flour, groundnut and millet while trying to convey same to JERAM village. The suspects also had a total of N594,000.00 only in their possession. They are undergoing further investigation.
(7) On 28 Jan 17 at about 1100hrs, own troops at BUNI GARI apprehended 5 suspects with a truckload of gypsum which is one of the major component for making IED. The suspects are undergoing interrogation. Also, on 28 Jan 17 at about 1725hrs, own troops deployed at GAMBORU – FOTOKOL border discovered and confiscated 278 bags of fertilizer concealed in sugar bags in a vehicle. The vehicle and the items are in our custody for further investigation.
(8) On 28 Jan 17 at about 0200hrs, own troops arrested 7 suspected cow rustlers at KWANA MUTUWA. The suspects are Mohammed Abdulkareem, Abbre Gana, Habbib Abubakar, Ali Abdullahi, Bashiru Abubakar, Babagana Abdullahi and Umar Abdullahi. A total of 34 cows were recovered from the arrested suspects and are all in custody undergoing thorough investigation.
e. Arrests of Foreigners. On 16 Jan 17 at about 1715hrs, troops deployed at CHAM checkpoint intercepted 7 female immigrants from Republic of Niger enroute YOLA via KANO. Three of the immigrants were with their passports while the other 4 had no means of identification. All the immigrants are in custody undergoing interrogation and would be handed over to NIS for further action. Similarly, on 26 Jan 17 at about 1745hrs, 3 Chadians were arrested at a check point in DAMASAK. A mobile phone belonging to one of them was flipped through and it showed pictures of men one of them inclusive, in both military T-shirts and mufti with GPMG, FN and AK47 rifles. The 3 Chadians are in custody undergoing interrogation.
f. Ambush Operations. Our gallant troops have conducted some ambush operations as follows:
(1) Similarly on 28 Jan 17 at about 1315hrs, own troops deployed at MIYANTI conducted ambush along MIYANTI – BANKI road. The troops encountered BHT elements and subsequently engaged them where 2 BHT were killed in action. The items recovered include an AK47 rifle, 3 magazines, 5 rounds of 7.62mm special, a wristwatch, 2 pieces of 36 hand grenade, a mobile phone with its accessories and a motorcycle
g. Interception of BHT Logistics. When our troops were returning from BITTA on 19 Jan 17 at about 1400hrs, they sighted 2 suspected BHTs at GELERI.
The BHT immediately fled on sighting our troops. However, some items were recovered which include 31 rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition, 22 rounds of 7.62 special, a Nokia phone connected with wire, 2 packets of Dicloforte with 10 tablets each, a BHT flag, a Diclofenac injection, a Lincocin, 2 pieces of syringes and 2 bicycles.
h. Discovery of BHT Graves. On 13 Jan 17 at about 1030hrs, troops deployed at KANGARWA embarked on foot patrol ahead of their location. The troops discovered 4 BHT bodies buried in a shallow grave. Additionally, 3 graves for killed BHT members were found and were all exhumed. Also found was a 36 hand grenade and 25 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition.
i. Person Borne Improvised Explosive Device Explosions. There were recorded cases of PBIEDas follows:
(1) On 16 Jan 17 at about 0510hrs, a PBIED was detonated at UNIMAID. The first incidence occurred when a young boy detonated the IED on his body during morning prayers at a mosque close to UNIMAID Gate 4. The suicide bomber and 2 other civilians died at the spot. The second incident occurred when a female suicide bomber attempted to infiltrate through UNIMAID Gate 5. The vigilant troops deployed at the gate challenged her from a distance as she approached their sentry post. Consequently, she panicked and detonated the IED on her body. In this case, the suicide bomber was the only casualty. The NEMA/SEMA were contacted and the corpses have been evacuated.
(2) On 16 Jan 17 at about 0830hrs, some civilians in BARAN KAURA village intercepted a female suicide bomber trying to cross into town through MUNA DALTI village. She was challenged by the civilians who quickly called own troops. Consequently, she detonated the IED on her as she sighted our troops. The IED failed to fully detonate leaving some part of the explosives on her. She attempted to stand up but was gunned by own troops. The unexploded suicide vest was neutralized by our EOD team.
(3) On 25 Jan 17 at about 0005hrs, a male suicide bomber was intercepted as he attempted to cross towards troops defensive location at USMANTI.
The suicide bomber was halted but refused to stop and started running towards the sentry. Consequently, he was shot and he exploded killing only himself. Only the suicide bomber was the casualty at the scene. Also, same day at about 0117hrs, a second suicide bomber exploded ahead of USMANTI guard location. Similarly, at about 0615hrs, a third suicide bomb incidentoccurred when a female suicide bomber attempted to enter a mosque around KALARI general area. The civilian security at the mosque challenged her but she kept moving towards the mosque. The troops were immediately alerted. On sighting the troops, the suicide bomber quickly detonated the explosive vest on her killing herself and one civilian while 2 other civilians were injured. The injured have been evacuated to the hospital.
j. BHT Attack. On 19 Jan 17 at about 1730hrs, our troops deployed at RANN came under BHT attack. After a fire fight, the attack was successfully repelled. Two soldiers were wounded in action while 13 BHT were killed in action and another BHT was captured alive. He is in custody undergoing interrogation. Items captured include a gun truck, 2 AK47 rifles, an M21 rifle and 805 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.
k. Also, on 25 Jan 17, troops position at Kamuya was attacked by desperate BHT. The attack was repelled leaving 3 soldiers dead.
l. Convoy Attack. On 28 Jan 17 at about 1135hrs, the commercial vehicle convoy escorted by troops ran into BHT ambush at KOMALA general area. The ambush was successfully cleared, however, 2 soldiers were injured while 3 civilians were killed (initially one) and 2 others wounded.
m. Police Attack. On 31 Jan 17 at about 1030hrs, the NP while moving a suspect from Biu – Maiduguri ran into an ambush at Kubuwa village along Biu – Damboa road. Unfortunately, one policeman was shot dead and another injured bothwere evacuated to Damboa general hospital.
n. IED Incidence. On 20 Jan 17 at about 1000hrs, own prime mover with troops on clearance operation towards CHIRELIA entered IED at KOREDE. Sadly, one officer and a soldier sustained injuries and were evacuated to our hospital in MAIDUGURI. However, the officer Capt A Adeusi later died in the hospital. Similarly, on 26 Jan 17 at about 1503hrs, own advancing troops in conjunction with vigilantes encountered an IED along rd BUNI GARI – DOKSA road while clearing a river line. A soldier was killed in action while 2 others sustained injuries and were treated by own medical team. Again, on 29 Jan 17 at about 0910hrs, own troops on patrol from BITTA to YAMTEKE encountered an IED. Sadly, a soldier was killed in the incident while 4 others were wounded. The wounded have been evacuated and stabilized.
o. Surrendered BHT. On 21 Jan 17 at about 1115hrs, a total of 4 suspected BHTs surrendered to own troops deployed at MONGUNO. The suspects claimed to have fled BUKAR MERAM village from Mamman Nur’s faction of BHT. They claimed to be fed up with the terrorists’ ideology and the unending combat. They have been undergoing interrogation. Again on 28 Jan 17 at about 0900hrs, a BHT member named Mohammed Abubakar surrendered to own troops in MONGUNO. The suspect claimed to be a Cameroonian and that he belonged to Mamman Nur’s faction in KOLORAM BHT camp. He has been undergoing interrogation.
Summary of Arrested/Surrendered BHT Suspects and Other Rescued Persons.
A total of 3,332 civilians were arrested as BHT suspects while 5 BHT members surrendered to our troops during our operations conducted between 11 Jan – 1 Feb 17. Also, a total of 26 foreigners were arrested comprising 17 Chadians and 9 Nigeriens.
2. Ladies and Gentlemen, having won the war, the train on the track to enduring peace is currently in motion. Yesterday, the National Coalition Against Terrorism held a Rally where they called on all to give greater support to the peace effort. They equally called on all renegades in the name of BH to surrender without further delay. The people are rising up against Boko Haram and it is encouraging.
Meanwhile, we have received numerous commendations on the achievements so far. It is a job and commendation for all of us. Join the train.
3. The continued support and encouragement of the C-in-C, CDS, COAS and other Service Chiefs are unquantifiable and are hereby appreciated. The other stakeholders including you, members of the press, are duly appreciated. Let us maintain the momentum.Thank you and God bless.
February 2017 Theatre Commander
Operation LAFIYA DOLE