Tag Archives: Boko Haram

Nigeria – state security service says it has foiled plots for attacks in Kano, Kaduna, Maiduguri and Sokoto during Islamic holiday

Premium Times

SSS operatives

SSS operatives

The State Security Service, SSS, announced on Friday that it arrested suspected terrorists planning to attack Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri during the Sallah celebration.

The federal government had earlier declared Monday and Tuesday next week as public holidays for the Islamic festival.

In a statement on Friday signed by Tony Opuiyo, the SSS said, “The past few weeks, this service has uncovered a sinister plot by terrorist elements to stage series of coordinated attacks using explosives on different cities across the country.”

Two suspects, Yusuf Adamu and Abdumuminu Haladu, were apprehended by the domestic intelligence agency during the early hours of Friday in Sokoto.

According to the statement, Mr. Adamu and his accomplice were to command the operation in Kano.

“However, the Service had earlier arrested the facilitator of the Kano attack, an explosive expert by name Bashir Mohammed at Unguwar Barnawa, Shekar Madaki, Kumbatso LGA, Kano State on June 20”.

“Their plan, together with others now at large, was to assemble the explosives and use them on select targets during the Eid-el-Fitr Celebrations”.

“Their aim was to hit on soft targets such as markets, public parks, public processions, recreation centres, as well as worship centres especially the Eid Praying Grounds and other densely populated areas during the forthcoming Eid-el-Fitr Sallah celebration.  The latest plan by the terrorists was to unleash mayhem on Kano, Sokoto, Kaduna and Maiduguri,” the agency said.

However, the service assured Nigerians that the planned terrorist attacks in the states have been foiled by the agency.

The agency said during the arrest of Mr. Mohammed in Kumbotso, Kano, a search was conducted at his residence where it recovered “Eight (8) AK-47 rifles, Twenty (20) fully loaded AK-A7 magazines, Twenty-seven (27) hand grenades, Seven hundred and ninety-three (793) rounds of live ammunition.”

One gas cylinder, three laptops, one mobile phone, a motorcycle, a car, and a printer were also recovered.

The SSS also said it uncovered plans by the terrorists to infiltrate the ranks of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN, which has been demanding the release of its leader Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, held without trial since December 2015.

“This is in an attempt to assume a formidable cover to unleash violence and evoke a complete state of chaos in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja during the group’s Qudus Day Procession/Rally scheduled for Friday in Abuja and several States in the Northern parts of the country”.

“Sequel to this, the Service is warning members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to desist from staging any form of procession or demonstration as the terrorists will seize the opportunity to unleash mayhem”. Mr. Opuiyo said.

The rallies by the IMN had, however, been held across many cities, in a largely peaceful atmosphere, before the SSS statement.

“The Service is working, in concert with other security agencies, to ensure that no section of the country is attacked during and after the Sallah celebrations”.

“Law abiding citizens and residents are not only assured of their safety but enjoined to go about their normal businesses without fear of attack. It pledges to engage all stakeholders to ensure a hitch free Eid-el-fitr festival across the country,” it stated.

Nigeria – 16 women kidnapped as Boko Haram attacks “secure convoy” in Borno

Premium Times

Nigerian Army

Nigerian

Some survivors of the Tuesday morning ambush on a convoy of dozens of vehicles under armed escort have narrated their woes blaming the security agencies for poor preparation.

The survivors also confirmed to PREMIUM TIMES that 16 women were among those kidnapped by the Boko Haram after the ambush.

The ambush, at about 10 a.m. on Tuesday, was on a large convoy of commercial, private and government vehicles travelling from Maiduguri to the southern part of Borno State, passing through Damboa.

Armed escort of soldiers is often required to travel through the recently reopened Maiduguri-Biu federal highway.

The road, which also has a link to the gates of Sambisa forest, had been closed for about two years after Boko Haram captured towns and villages along its axis. It was only opened for commercial motorists in February 2016.

But since its opening, Boko Haram gunmen have staged several attacks on vehicles plying the road.

The latest of such attacks was that of Tuesday morning, which occurred at Abbari-Dalwa village located about 30km from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

THE CASUALTY

The Borno State Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu, had in a press briefing informed journalists that two people were killed during the ambush

The casualty has now been confirmed to be at least three.

In a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Borno State Commissioner of Health, Haruna Mshelia, said of the three trucks conveying drugs and related items to the health facilities in Damboa and Chibok, only one was able to escape and made it to its destination.

“It was indeed a sad development; but it is one of those hazards that one confronts in situations like this,” he said.

“We lost the driver who was shot at during the attack and one other person with the driver who tried to take over the steering before he too was shot at and the vehicle summersaulted.

PREMIUM TIMES was able to confirm from a security personnel who witnessed the incident that the second person referred to by the health commissioner was an escort soldier in the vehicle.

The police commissioner had on Tuesday confirmed that a police sergeant, Bala Tiiseh, was also among those killed; thus bringing the casualty to three.

The Nigerian military is yet to issue any statement on the attack.

Mr. Mshelia also said the driver of the second truck who could not manoeuvre an escape with his truck amidst the confusion, had to flee leaving his vehicle behind.

“The insurgents took the second vehicle away, but the soldiers are still trying to trace and rescue the vehicle,” he said.

“But the driver of the second vehicle has since arrived Maiduguri safely, while the third vehicle conveying drugs to Chibok got to its destination safely as well.”

SURVIVORS SPEAK

A member of the Borno State House of Assembly, who represents Chibok Local Government Area, Aimu Chibok, was among those that escaped from the attack.

In a phone chat with PREMIUM TIMES, the lawmaker described the incident as “embarrassing”.

The lawmaker, a retired senior police officer, blamed the military and police for poor management of the situation.

He said he was in the same car with the Vice Chairman of Chibok Local Government Area as well as the District Head of Chibok when the gunmen opened fire on them.

The officials were on their way to Chibok to witness a federal government project that was to be flagged off in the town, he said.

The vice chairman sustained a bullet injury on his thigh, while the district head was hit in the arm. Both of them are currently receiving treatment at a hospital.

“It was a huge embarrassment to our government and its security outfits”, said the lawmaker who felt the attackers had prior information on the movement of the convoy from Maiduguri.

“From what I observed, it appears the terrorists had information that three trucks loaded with drugs would be passing through that route”, he said.

“And secondly, they may also have been aware of the fact that there were also in the convoy a large deployment of police officers (who) would be packed in a school bus.

“To me it was improper for armed policemen to pack up like sardine inside a bus on such kind of journey.

“It was only God that helped even helped the policemen.

“My vehicle was right behind the 80-sitter school bus conveying the 63 policemen. Just as the driver was trying to negotiate a bend, we started hearing loud shooting from all sides. The bus driver could not manoeuvre the bend, so he had to abandon the bus and fled while the police officers in the bus continued to escape through the window amidst the rain of bullets from the insurgents. As our vehicle tried to drive pass the bus, an RPG was fire at the bus, which scattered it.

“You needed to see how the shooters were going after their fellow human beings as if they were animals”, he recounted.

He said the shooting lasted about 30 minutes.

“The insurgents were all dressed in black attires as they continued to shoot without ceasing for a second. It was very embarrassing seeing armed policemen running for their dear lives because they found themselves in an unfavourable situation. It was a shame to see what happened that day, especially in a country that prides itself as one of the best in West Africa.

“The method of escort provided for more than a hundred convoy of vehicles was the worst I have ever seen in my life. It was too poor.

“But in our case, all the four escort vehicles were leading ahead without any one behind, or in the middle of the convoy. If not that the escort vehicles managed to reverse back to engage the attackers; they would have roasted the hundreds of passengers in the convoy.”

The Borno police commissioner had earlier confirmed the 63 police officers were in a bus when the attack occurred.

“It was based on that approval by the IG that one officer and 62 men of the Nigeria Police Mobile Force were deployed from Delta State to Askira,” Mr. Chukwu said, explaining how the officers were recently deployed to Borno based on a request.

“And the vehicle conveying the deployed unit who were in an 80-sitter bus, had to join the convoy of civilian travellers being escorted by the soldiers,” he added.

But the Borno lawmaker, Mr. Chibok, faulted the arrangement.

“I pity those policemen who were put into that kind of conveyance,” he said.

“How could a deployment of policemen who were all armed be packed inside a bus and ridiculously being escorted by other security operatives. They are supposed to be their own escort since they were all armed, for God’s sake.”

The lawmaker said Nigeria might not get out of the Boko Haram insurgency in the next ten years unless the military changes its strategy by taking the war to the insurgents in the bushes.

“We can’t continue like this; we have to take the war to them; waiting for them to come and be repelled cannot help us.

“I have served in the Nigeria police force for 35 years, but I have never witnessed such kind of embarrassing situation in my life”, he lamented.

THE KIDNAPPED WOMEN

PREMIUM TIMES also gathered that the 16 abducted women were driven away in a TATA truck by the insurgents.

The identities of the victims are being kept for safety reasons.

A police officer who was also privy to the arrangement for the transport of the women said on phone that all the 16 were driven away by the insurgents after the driver was killed.

“When the Boko Haram were attacking, the males in the TATA truck were able to quickly jump off the vehicle, but the women could not; that was how they were rounded up and driven away by the Boko Haram,” the source, who sought anonymity as he was not permitted to speak to journalists, said.

An unconfirmed report that reached PREMIUM TIMES late Wednesday evening indicated that some of the kidnapped women were found somewhere in Damboa.

The police, however, denied knowledge of the kidnap.

“I don’t have any such details of such abduction or rescue,” the Borno Police Public Relations Officer, Victor Isukwu, said in a text message response to our enquiry.

Nigeria – Amnesty attacks dropping of army abuse inquiry

Reuters

ABUJA Amnesty International criticised Nigeria’s military on Thursday for dropping an investigation into senior officers accused of war crimes in the northeast during the conflict with Islamist Boko Haram insurgents.

The eight-year battle with the militant group, which seeks to carve out a “caliphate” in the northeast, has been rife with human rights violations by the parties involved, including the military, Boko Haram and vigilante organisations, aid groups say. Those include extrajudicial killings, rape, the use of child soldiers and detentions of people without charge.

Late on Wednesday, Nigeria’s military issued a report on the findings of its investigation that said there was insufficient evidence to charge the officers, some of whom are now retired, for any abuses.

The military murdered, starved, suffocated and tortured 8,000 people under the watch of certain senior officers, Amnesty International said in its 2015 report alleging the war crimes.

“We stand by the findings of our research and our call for an investigation that is independent, impartial and thorough; criteria that this panel clearly does not meet,” Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria, said on Thursday.

The military panel did find that delays of trials of suspected Boko Haram members that resulted in death and denial of legal representation were unacceptable.

Both the panel and Amnesty International recommended that Nigeria set up a presidential commission to investigate any accusations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

(Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Paul Carsten; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Nigeria – army claims defeat of Boko Haram ambush and killing of “Amir”

Premium Times

Nigerian soldiers raid Boko Haram camps, kill six

Nigerian soldiers raid Boko Haram camps, kill six

An ambush by the Boko Haram was successfully cleared by soldiers and local vigilante leading to the death of a state ‘Amir (leader)’ and many other members of the terror group, the Nigerian Army has said.

The army spokesperson, Sani Usman, said the shootout lasted “some minutes” near Jarawa village in Kala Balge Local Government Area before the Boko Haram members fled.

“The troops were able to neutralize a large number of Boko Haram terrorists including the notorious Abu Nazir, the terrorists’ Amir in Jarawa during the operation,” Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said in a statement.

Read Mr. Usman’s full statement below.

Following credible and confirmed information about the convergence of some elements of suspected Boko Haram terrorists at Jarawa village, Kala Balge Local Government Area, Borno State, troops of 3 Battalion, 22 Brigade Nigerian Army of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, in conjunction with some Civilian JTF today, Sunday 11th June 2017, carried out a successful clearance operation along that axis.

At about a Kilometre to Jarawa village, the troops entered heavy Boko Haram terrorists’ ambush, which they successfully cleared after about some minutes of fire fight. They followed it up in hot pursuit of the fleeing insurgents into the nearby forest.

The troops were able to neutralize a large number of Boko Haram terrorists including the notorious Abu Nazir, the terrorists’ Amir in Jarawa during the operation.

They also captured several weapons including an AK-47 rifle, 1 Double barrel gun, 1 primed heavy Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and 3 Motorcycles.

Additionally, they rescued 9 abducted children undergoing training at the terrorists’ training camp in the village.

The minors have been evacuated and are being given preliminary humanitarian assistance in preparation to handing them over to Kala Balge Internally Displaced Persons Camp Management Committee.

Nigeria – Boko Haram mounts major raid on Maiduguri

ReutersWorld News | Thu Jun 8, 2017 |

Boko Haram make biggest raid on Nigeria’s Maiduguri in 18 months

By Lanre Ola | MAIDUGURI, Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria Boko Haram insurgents launched their biggest attack on the northeast Nigerian city of Maiduguri in 18 months on Wednesday night, the eve of a visit by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to war refugees sheltering there.

Police said that 14 people were killed before government troops beat back the raid.

Maiduguri is the centre of the eight-year-old fight against Boko Haram, which has been trying to set up an Islamic caliphate in the northeast.

The fighters attacked the city’s suburbs with anti-aircraft guns and several suicide bombers, said Damian Chukwu, police commissioner of Borno State, of which Maiduguri is the capital.

“A total of 13 people were killed in the multiple explosions with 24 persons injured, while one person died in the attack (shooting),” he told reporters.

Osinbajo went ahead with his visit to Maiduguri, planned prior to the attack, launching a government food aid initiative to distribute 30,000 metric tonnes of grains to people displaced by the insurgency, his spokesman Laolu Akande said.

President Muhammadu Buhari handed power to Osinbajo after going to Britain on medical leave on May 7.

Aid workers and Reuters witnesses reported explosions and heavy gunfire for at least 45 minutes in the southeastern and southwestern outskirts of the city. Thousands of civilians fled the fighting, according to Reuters witnesses.

The police commissioner said several buildings were set on fire but the military repulsed the fighters after an hour.

The raid took place six months after Buhari said Boko Haram had “technically” been defeated by a military campaign that had pushed many insurgents deep into the remote Sambisa forest, near the border with Cameroon.

More than 20,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram’s campaign to establish a caliphate in the Lake Chad basin. A further 2.7 million have been displaced, creating one of the world’s largest humanitarian emergencies.

Despite the military’s success in liberating cities and towns, much of Borno remains off-limits, hampering efforts to deliver food aid to nearly 1.5 million people believed to be on the brink of famine.

The government food programme launched by Osinbajo seeks to distribute grains to 1.8 million people delivered quarterly, his office said in an emailed statement.

The acting president, speaking in Maiduguri, said a “comprehensive livelihood and support programme” would be launched by the government within weeks.

A United Nations official on Wednesday said the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) has had to scale back plans for emergency feeding of 400,000 people in the region due to funding shortfalls.

(Writing by Ulf Laessing and Alexis Akwagyiram;

Nigeria – army repels attack on Maiduguri

Premium Times

Nigerian Army

Nigerian Army

EU commits 50 million euros to West African security

Reuters

DAKAR The European Union committed 50 million euros (43.60 million pounds) on Monday to help the countries of West Africa’s Sahel region set up a multinational force to combat Islamist militant groups.

The vast, arid zone has in recent years become a breeding ground for jihadist groups – some linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State – that European nations, particularly France, fear could threaten Europe if left unchecked.

In a statement released during the visit to Mali of its foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, the European Union said its support would help the so-called G5 Sahel countries of Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritania establish a regional task force.

“The stability and development of the Sahel region are crucial not only for Africa but also for Europe,” Mogherini said in the statement. “We are neighbours and what happens on one of our continents has an impact on the other.”

Last year, the Sahel nations proposed establishing special units, each composed of around 100 well-trained soldiers, which would be deployed in areas where jihadist groups are known to operate.

They would complement the efforts of regular armed forces, the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali and France’s Operation Barkhane, which has around 4,000 troops deployed across the five Sahel countries.

France intervened in 2013 to drive back militants who had seized northern Mali a year earlier. However, militants continue to attack security forces and civilian in Mali and its neighbours.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Mali on his first trip outside of Europe last month after his election, has reaffirmed Paris’s commitment to the region and called on Germany and other European nations to ramp up military and development aid.

(Reporting By Emma Farge; Writing by Aaron Ross; Editing by Tom Heneghan)