The Nigerian Army yesterday debunked reports of an abduction of Maiduguri-bound commuters by members of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) along Mainok and Borgozo in Kaga local government area of Borno State.
A statement signed by the deputy director public relations of 7 Division Nigerian Army/Joint Task Force (North East) Operation HADIN KAI, Colonel Ado Isa which was made available to LEADERSHIP Sunday in Abuja yesterday described the alleged incident as false and misleading with the sole intention to smear the glaring good efforts and achievements of OPHK.
The statement said: “The fact is that members of the terrorist group emerged through Dole/Bari villages on some vehicles with the intent to mount snap roadblocks in order to cause havoc and apprehension in the hearts of villagers and commuters.
“Troops on mobile patrol within the general area foiled the attempt without any delay. There was no abduction of any commuter today (Saturday). It was just the imagination of mischief makers who are not happy that peace is gradually returning to the North East.
“Joint Task Force North East Operation HADIN KAI will continue to sustain the peace efforts by ensuring the Maiduguri – Damaturu Main Supply Route (MSR) is not only fortified to frustrate the evil intentions of the terrorists but the Theatre will continue to ensure all locations are adequately manned by highly trained troops ready to defeat any criminal act against the peace loving citizens.
“We crave for understanding and cooperation of every well-meaning members of the public. We should all remain calm and verify issues with the military authorities as unsuspected group of persons are planning to cause apprehension and anxiety especially as the yuletide season is already here,” Col. Isa said.
A report had earlier circulated that ISWAP terrorists abducted an unspecified number of passengers along the Damaturu / Maiduguri road yesterday morning.
“They abducted an unspecified number of passages around Benishiek and Mainok axis. We don’t have more details than this,” a source said.
But speaking to our correspondent on phone, the chairman, North-East Network of Civil Organisations, Mallam Ahmed Shehu, said he received reports of the abduction.
“There was an abduction on Damaturu-Maiduguri route this morning. Why can’t we have a sustainable solution to this reoccurring misfortune?” he said.
Our correspondent quoted a passenger in Damaturu who escaped from the terrorists as saying; “The insurgents who were dressed in military uniforms drove out of the bush in five Hilux vans…and later waylaid nine commercial vehicles and took the passengers into the bush.
“Many of the passengers fled into the bush, but about 30 of them were abducted. We appeal to security operatives along Damaturu-Maiduguri to rescue our brothers and sisters, we have nothing to say for now, we pray Allah to continue protect us from evil,” he said.