•As residents are charged on information sharing
From TIMOTHY OLA, Maiduguri
Fourteen people, including a soldier and suspected Boko Haram sect members died yesterday in Maiduguri during a clash between the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the militant sect. According to the JTF Spokesman, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, the task force had an encounter with Boko Haram at Bulabulin and Bayan Quarters in Maiduguri yesterday afternoon.
“During the encounter, the JTF lost one soldier and two were wounded. 13 Boko Haram terrorists lost their lives,” the spokesman said through a statement. He, however, said no civilian casualty was recorded, adding that “civilians were well protected and have no casualty recorded as a result of the encounter.” Though he did not give further detail on the nature of the encounter with the militant sect, he, however, said “the operation is ongoing to apprehend the fleeing members of the gang and recover more weapons.”
Some of the weapons recovered, he said, include three AK47 rifles, one rocket propelled grenade, large quantity of assorted ammunition and IED materials. In another statement, the JTF said only neighbourhood surveillance and other resistance measures by residents could help the security agencies combat Boko Haram insurgents in the state and other states in the northeastern part of Nigeria.
Musa noted that, “some communities in Nigeria have since devised neighbourhood surveillance and alarm system and other resistance measures to assist themselves and security agencies in combating insecurity in their respective areas.” He, however, regretted that such novel and patrotic move was “totally lacking in Borno State particularly in Maiduguri metropolis and its immediate environs,” adding that the ugly development had made many residents vulnerable to Boko Haram attacks. The spokesman recalled with concern and sadness gruesome killings of many residents in manner he described as brutal, barbaric and impious.
His words: “The Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order is strongly concerned with incessant callous, brutal, barbaric and impious killings of people in some states of the northeastern parts of Nigeria particularly in Borno State. More worrisome is the inhuman way the terrorists perpetrate their dastardly acts ranging from outright shootings, macheting and slaughtering of their victims. “Recall that in July 2012, nine construction workers working at Shehu of Borno’s Central Mosque were massacred, so also two Indians were shot dead in their factory by Boko Haram terrorists.
Similarly, three security guards in Gomboru Ward, a respected elderstatesman, retired Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Shuwa and business mogul, Alhaji Abubakar Girgir were separately shot dead at different locations in Maiduguri metropolis and also five people were killed in Musari community. Unlike in Kano, Birnin Gwari and Rigasa areas of Kaduna State, all these obnoxious and sacrilegious acts elicited not a single passive or active resistance from the locals who in the absence of security agencies were there when the inhuman acts were committed.”
He appealed to them to rise to the challenge of crime prevention by pre-empting “terrorists acts” through the provision of timely and accurate information to security agencies and “where possible, to actively react to this madness,” stressing that “the task force cannot be everywhere at the same time.” “Members of the public are hereby reminded to pass any credible information to the JTF through it’s under listed Hot Lines: 08064174066, 070-85464012 081-54429346.”