From TIMOTHY OLANREWAJU, Maiduguri
A Deafening sound from seeming bomb explosions rocked Maiduguri, Borno State capital yesterday barely five hours after President Goodluck Jonathan left the city but the Joint Task Force (JTF) said the sounds emanated from heavy confrontation with the Boko Haram sect, leading to the death of 20 members of the sect and two soldiers.
JTF spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa at a briefing with journalists at the task force headquarters in Maiduguri yesterday disclosed that series of serious operations were conducted in the metropolis following intelligence reports, adding that the caliber and quantity of arms recovered from the scene of the one-hour gun battle with the Boko Haram sect on Friday evening in the metropolis was “the most unprecedented arms recovery ever made” by the JTF.
He said the JTF traced the Boko Haram men to a big compound around Baya n’Quarters-Jajeri and Bulabulin . The Boko Haram enclave was located at Baya n’Quarters until the 2009 uprising, when it was demolished by the government. “There was no bomb explosion as many people had thought. Rather, it was sound from heavy arms like browning machine guns,” the JTF spokesman explained during the briefing held after showing journalists the arms and vehicles recovered at the house where the confrontation took place.
He said no woman or child was found in the big compound where the JTF engaged the suspected Boko Haram members. Speaking further, Lt Col Musa said: “Based on information and intelligence report, series of operations were conducted by the Joint Task Force Operation Restore Order in the last 10 days in Borno State. The latest was the one conducted at Bulabulin Bayern Quarters and Jajeri in Maiduguri metropolis between 3pm and 8 pm Friday, February 8, 2013. During these operations, there was exchange of fire that led to the death of 52 Boko Haram terrorists including 10 commanders of the sect.
70 terrorists were also arrested. In the period under review, the JTF lost two personnel, three were wounded and no civilian casualty was recorded.” When asked to clarify the casualty figure, he explained that 20 Boko Haram were killed by JTF during exchange of fire last Friday, adding that 32 others died in the last 10 days in other operations. Some of the arms recovered according to the JTF and displayed to journalists include three anti-aircraft guns, 10 rocket propelled grenade tubes, three general purpose machine guns (GPMG), 17 AK-47 rifles, three G3 rifles, one pistol (Lama), 20 RPG bombs, 12 RPG chargers, 1x 36 hand-held grenades, one teargas rifle,
33 AK-47 magazines, 11 FN magazines, three G3 magazines, 11,068 assorted ammunition. Others include two new Toyota Hilux vehicles with mounted anti-aircraft stands, one box of weapons cleaning kit, four swords and two knifes, five walkie-talkies, four VHF hand-held sets, one Multilinks router as well as assorted uniforms and kits.
“The Task Force wishes to thank members of the public for giving us the information that assisted in the successes so far recorded. Thus, members of the public are reminded to continue to give credible and timely information to security agencies to combat insecurity,” Sagir said.