Troops rescue 88, kill 3 insurgents in Bama, Borno •8,000 Boko Haram members surrendered —Military

Troops on clearance operations in the North-East have rescued 88 people in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State and killed three during an encounter.

A statement signed by Colonel Sani Usman, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, in Abuja, on Tuesday, said 28 people of those rescued, claimed they escaped from Bula Musa village.

Usman said the 28 people comprised two men, nine women and 17 children, adding that the troops killed three terrorists during separate encounter.

“They have been taken to Bama town for screening, profiling and possible handover to emergency management and humanitarian agencies,’’ Usman said.

He said another 23, comprising a man, five women and 17 children, were intercepted by troops deployed at Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps  in Bama.

Usman said this was after they escaped from terrorists in Bula Musa general area on Sunday.

“In Dikwa, the troops also recorded influx of 37 IDPs, comprising two men, 12 women, 12 boys and 11 girls from Gulumba Gana village, which is about 45km astride Gulumba-Kumshe Road axis, Bama Local Government Area of the state.

“They were screened by the troops and the Civilian JTF who later handed them over to the Dikwa IDPs camp management for further registration and rehabilitation,’’ Usman said.

He said those deployed at Nigeria-Cameroon border, in conjunction with Civilian JTF,  also arrested two escaping Boko Haram terrorists named Mohammed Mundilga and Ahmed Ali.

The terrorists, who hail from Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area, on preliminary investigation, confessed that they were Boko Haram fighters, and added that they sneaked into Gamboru from Abbaganaram village, Marte Local Government Area after being tired of staying in the bush.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Military, on Tuesday, in Abuja, said no fewer than 8,000 Boko Haram members had voluntarily surrendered to its “Operation Safe Corridor’’ in the North-East.

The Director of Defence Information, Brigadier-General Rabe Abubakar, disclosed this at a lecture organised by the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the lecture with the theme:  “Media-Military Relationship in the Fight against Insurgency,’’ was part of the activities marking the 2016 Press Week of the chapel.

Abubakar said the surrendered insurgents were in a camp in Gombe waiting to be “deradicalised’’ by the military.

He also disclosed that more than 10,000 Boko Haram captives had been rescued by the military.

He said some of them were reunited with their families, while others were taken to Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps.

Abubakar said Boko Haram had been successfully decimated by the military and government was working hard on the rehabilitation of the victims and reconstruction of the affected areas.

The general also said the military would soon launch “Operation Safe Corridor’’ to address the menace of herdsmen across the country.

He assured that the military operation would put an end to the wanton killings by the herdsmen.

Responding to questions on the recent action by the military declaring some journalists wanted, the general urged the media not to allow sentiments to influence their judgment on the issue.

He said the military should be allowed to do its work, while assuring that no member of the media would be victimised unnecessarily.

Abubakar said good military-media relationship was crucial to winning the war against insurgency.

He said the media drove public support for the military which in turn had boosted the morale of officers and the rank and file.

Earlier, the Secretary of NUJ in FCT, Hajia Rafat Salami, said there was the need for the military and the media to work together in the fight against terrorism and other crimes.

She said the military must see the media as partner in progress and not as enemy.

The chairman of the Correspondents Chapel, Raphael Ekpang, thanked the general for finding time out of his tight schedule to share his thoughts on the topic.