Nigeria Cracks Down on Boko Haram



ABUJA, Oct 26

The face-off between Nigeria’s Joint Task Force (JTF) in the country’S restive northern region and Boko Haram militants witnessed a bloody encounter in Borno and Yobe states with about 95 militants killed, military said Friday.

Heavy gun battle continued as the JTF troops attacked the militants in different locations around Maiduguri and Damaturu, two strongholds of the deadly sect since 2009, Xinhua reported.

This development came on the heels of security reports that the Boko Haram sect was planning a massive counterattack on strategic economic interests and JTF positions in Nigeria’s northeast region.

Borno and Yobe states are flash points of attacks by Boko Haram since 2009 when the sect launched its insurgency targeting churches, security facilities, schools and villages.

The Nigerian military has been repelling the insurgents’ attempts to launch coordinated attacks.

Nigerian troops in Maiduguri, capital of the Borno state, said they destroyed more camps of Boko Haram Thursday during the ongoing offensive against the group.

The camps were in Galangi and Lawanti villages within Mainok General Area of Borno. The troops raided the camps and killed 74 suspected Boko Haram militants.

Lt-Col Mohammed Dole, the new military spokesman, said the operations which involved ground and aerial assault by the Air Force destroyed identified terrorist camps, killing 74 suspected militants, while others fled with serious injuries.

Two Isuzu tiger pick-up vehicle and five Hilux belonging to the militants were destroyed, he added.

In another operation, the 3 Division Special Operation Battalion in Damaturu, the Yobe state capital, confirmed Friday the killing of 21 insurgents in the state.

A statement signed by Captain Eli Lazarus, spokesman of the battalion, said the insurgents were killed Thursday, while some weapons and ammunition were recovered during the operation.

He said the insurgents attacked a military check point close to the NNPC mega petrol station on Damaturu-Maiduguri road.

A 24-hour curfew was imposed across the state to enable troops pursue the fleeing terrorists. Damaturu streets had remained empty with all business premises closed as residents stayed indoors.

Boko Haram has caused thousands of casualties in Nigeria’s northern states since 2009.

In the escalation of conflicts between its fighters and the military, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared in May a state of emergency in the northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

In April, the Nigerian government tried to broker a ceasefire with the group but failed. –IANS


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