Suspected Boko Haram terrorists that stormed a Directorate of
Security Services (DSS) facility in Lokoja in an effort to free their members detained there met their waterloo as a combined effort of security agencies repelled their effort, reports THISDAY.
[Photo: A top Boko Haram operative Kabiru Sokoto brought to court by the State Security Service]
The incident took place on Friday as Muslims across the lenght and breadth of Nigeria and the world at large are celebrating the Eid-El-Kabir festival.
This is happening as the Nigerian military said that over 200 members of Boko Haram terrorists group on Friday surrendered to their troops in newly liberated Banki Town of Borno State, North-eastern part of the country.
According to THISDAY, the effort of the police, DSS operatives and soldiers that were later called in successfully beat back the terrorists who allegedly stormed the facility with explosives to blow their way through so as to free their detained members.
Reports of pandemonium due to confusion on whether the shootings and explosions heard in the vicinity were from armed robbery attacks which are rife in the area prevailed till it was confirmed that it was a Boko Haram invasion.
Although no security agency was willing to speak on record, THISDAY gathered that the attack on the DSS facility was foiled with the arrival of soldiers to beef up the efforts of other security agencies.
The surrender of the terrorists was confirmed in a statement signed yesterday by the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman.
The surrender was corroborated by the Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole (Peace is a Must) in the north east, Major General Yusha’u Mahmud Abubakar who said that over 200 Boko Haram sect surrendered to the troop in Banki on Friday.
Usman recalled that the troops had on Thursday captured the economic important and strategic town of Banki in Borno State which is equally noted for fishing.
He said that the former Boko Haram enclave was a major economic and trading activity between Nigeria, Cameroon and Central African countries.
He noted that during the previous encounter, Nigerian troops not only recaptured the town, but several Boko Haram terrorists were captured while the stubborn terrorist who refused to surrender were killed in the military offensive.
In a related development, the Army spokesman also sent “A very strong and serious final warning to some prominent individuals and political groups who hail from Borno State in particular and North East generally, that there was information of plans by some highly placed individuals and political groups to undermine and scuttle the fight against terrorism and insurgency in this country”.
“The unscrupulous individuals and their cohorts were determined to reverse the gains made and scuttle our efforts of achieving the Presidential directive to defeat Boko Haram terrorists within three months”.
He alleged that the concerned individuals were enlisting the services of some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) in this grand design.
According to Usman, “It has come to our knowledge that they were employing every means to see that our operation does not succeed in order for them to continue to enjoy certain benefits.
“It has been revealed that they are employing the services of marabouts and other unethical means in order to frustrate our efforts and the operations in addition to campaign of calumny.”
Usman said that the Army was aware of their clandeastine meetings and other diabolical efforts to achieve their nefarious aims, warning that “this would not be tolerated”.
Therefore, he said, such individuals and groups should be warned in unmistakable terms that anyone found would be dealt with accordingly.
He urged that “People should place the interest of the nation above any personal gain or ambition”, adding that “the continued loss of lives and properties in this country through terrorists activities does not one any good”.
The liberated town had been under the control of terrorists for over a year now.
Abubakar said: “I am happy to inform you that over 200 terrorists group surrendered to my troops around Banki town. The field commander just called me and briefed me about the development an hour ago.”
The Army chief called on other terrorist members to lay down their arms as there was no escaping their eventual capture.
He said that the three months ultimatum given to the military to defeat the insurgents was visible.
According to him, “The militants had been depleted and before the expiration of the ultimatum they will have no Nigerian territory under their control.
Abubakar said it was clear to everyone that the insurgents had lost grip and were about going into extinction.
He however did not rule out the pocket of attacks on soft target, insisting that it may be difficult to rule out this even after the insurgents have been smoked out.
He however advised that the war was not that of the military alone but all Nigerians who must give information that would finally put an end to the insurgency.
He added that once a territory was retrieved from the insurgents, it was left for the civil authorities to occupy and stop the insurgents from sneaking back,
He said most of the areas that were hitherto in the hands of the insurgents were now retrieved and were inhabitable to members of the public
Abubakar said: “We have started sending our engineers to repair all the destroyed bridges. Already our engineers have started reconstructing the destroyed bridges along Gamboru-Ngala- Maiduguri, Gombi- Garkida- Biu roads among others and very soon the menace of Boko Haram will be over, but this can never be achieved without the full cooperation of the media and the general public.
“The fight against insurgents/ terrorists is a collective responsibility and all hands must be on deck to nip terrorism in the bud”.
The Army chief further revealed that a major disaster was averted in Maiduguri during the Sallah as a terrorist who had planned to plant a bomb in one of the mosques was apprehended on the eve of Eid-el-Kabir.
He said the troops of the 7 Division apprehended a suspected terrorist who went to Medinatu Central Mosque in old Maiduguri with intent to plant an Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in order to cause havoc on the Sallah day.
He said the apprehended terrorist was undergoing interrogation and was now helping the security agencies on vital information that would lead to the arrest of some other culprits especially those responsible for Sunday’s multiple attacks on Maiduguri where 54 persons were confirmed dead,