By our correspondents
In a brazen attack, 100 kilometers from Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, Boko Haram terrorists sacked 50 communities in Niger State and hoisted their flag in Kaure village.
Niger State Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello, who confirmed the operation of Boko Haram terrorists in the state, said the group had hoisted its flag in Kaure, one of the 50 villages deserted as a result of several attacks by bandits.’
Early this year, a video was in circulation in which Boko Haram terrorists claimed they were entrenched in Niger State.
Governor Sani Bello warned that the Boko Haram terrorists were trying to make Kaure their headquarters as they made Sambisa forest their base in northeast.
While expressing concern over the implication of the development to national security, the governor said, “while Sambisa forest is several. kilometres away from Abuja, Kaure is only two hours’ drive to Abuja”.
He said the group had been making gradual incursion into more than 50 villages in the past three weeks, forcing the villagers to abandon their ancestral homes.
The governor told journalists during a visit to an IDPs camp at IBB Primary School, Minna, that over 50 villages had been overrun by the terrorists/bandits and deserted by original inhabitants.
“I am confirming that there are Boko Haram elements around Kaure in Shiroro local government of Niger State. They have taken over the territory. They have installed their flag. I am confirming to you now that they have taken over the wives of the people by force,” the governor said.
He described the situation in the state as critical and pathetic, as over 3000 villagers, who abandoned their villages, are now in Minna, the state capital, as displaces persons.
According to the governor, “a majority of the displaced persons will have to remain in this camp in Minna because their villages have been taken over by Boko Haram terrorists/bandits. Their wives have been seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram elements.”
He lamented that the appeal of the state government to the federal government towards dealing with the insecurity was yet to yield the desired results
“I have been engaging the federal government and, unfortunately, it has gotten to this stage and if care is not taken even Abuja is not safe. We have been saying this for long and all efforts have been in vain,” he said
Earlier at the IDPs camp, a youth leader, Bulus Esu, said his people in Kuchi, in Munya local government area, had been locked down by the terrorists for the past three weeks.
He said, “For three weeks now there is no person living in Kuchi town and there is no food for the fleeing villagers. The bandits have entered very deep into the area and have overrun several villages. They have occupied Kuchi where they now sleep as their homes”.
According to him, two weeks ago, the bandits demanded N5 million ransom from the people of Kampana to bail themselves from being kidnapped.
“The people did this to avoid being kidnapped. However, when they came back the next time, they asked the women to cook food for them after which they still raped the women,” he said.
33 Soldiers Reported Dead In Mainok Boko Haram/ISWAP Attack
No fewer than 33 soldiers were reportedly killed on Sunday when Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists invaded a military base in Mainok.
Mainok is a community along Maiduguri-Damaturu road and about 55 kilometres to Maiduguri. Mainok is in Kaga local government area of Borno State.
An impeccable military source, on the condition of anonymity, said the ISWAP fighters rode on 16 gun trucks and six MRAPs.
The source added that ISWAP fighters stationed themselves into three formations – the first formation that attacked the base , while the other two set up ambush to ward off reinforcements of troops from the angles of Maiduguri-Damaturu roads.
“The first group raided and overran the military base in Mainok where they killed about 28 soldiers at the base, while the second group was stationed along Jakana to Mainok to ambush any reinforcements of troops from Jakana.
“They successfully ambushed the troops and killed two soldiers while nine others were injured,” the source said.
The source added that the third group of ISWAP fighters were stationed to ambush any reinforcements of troops from Gamdu and Mainok and they successfully ambushed the soldiers and seized one military MRAP vehicle and killed three, bringing the total soldiers killed in the attack to 33.
The military and the police are yet to issue a statement regarding the attack. This is even as the terrorists burnt a police station in the town.
A village head of Mainok, Lawan Tuja told our correspondent that the terrorists invaded the base at about 1pm on Sunday.
Military Arrests Serving General Over Alliance With Boko Haram
A serving brigadier general in the Nigerian Army has allegedly been arrested in Borno State for sabotaging military operations against the Boko Haram Terrorist/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
LEADERSHIP exclusively gathered that the brigadier-general’s arrest is part of the ongoing operation against BHTs/ISWAP financiers and sympathisers.
The military officer was identified following the arrest of over 20 Bureau De Change operators in Kano and others for aiding terrorist attacks.
The source said, “I learnt they have arrested a Brig Gen. These are the sort of people who when in Command and there is an attack here and there and the honest soldiers want to repel them, they will tell them no, don’t fire back; don’t fight back. Why? They are saboteurs. I just hope it is true because my P.A. called me to say that they had arrested one brigadier general, handcuffed him and brought him to Maiduguri. Let’s pray that he is one of those sabotaging the system.”
When contacted, the director army public relations, Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima, said there was no such thing even though he did not deny the fact that combined security teams have been clamping down on terrorists’ sponsors.
“We are talking of serious issues; we are talking of Geidam – this road the Maiduguri. We are trying to come up with a release. We’ll get back to you later. There wasn’t anything like that.”
The federal government had on March 30, 2021 said security agents had arrested some Nigerians funding Boko Haram terrorists.
The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, said people would be shocked when details of the investigation on how the sums of money were transferred to the group would be fully disclosed.
He said the sponsors include some bureau de change operators with contacts abroad.
He further said that some places of worship had been used to harbour killers of security agents in the country, assuring that heads of intelligence agencies are working on it.
“It is shocking to many Nigerian that places of worship and farmlands are places where killers of policemen, naval officers and military are being harboured. This discovery will shock you. But this is going on all over the country,” he said.
Rivers: 4 Soldiers Feared Dead As Gunmen Attack Military Camp
No fewer than four soldiers were feared killed while two others were injured when unknown gunmen attacked their camp at Omelema community in Abua/Odual local government area of Rivers State.
This is as heads of security agencies in Rivers State are currently meeting at the Rivers State Police Headquarters, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt, due to the rising insecurity in the state.
The soldiers were said be attached to an oil servicing company operating in the Abua/Odual local government area of the state.
The attack on the soldiers came barely 24 hours after eight security personnel were killed at checkpoints along the Port Harcourt-Owerri Road in Ikwerre local government area of the state.
A community source told LEADERSHIP that after killing the four soldiers and injuring two others, the gunmen went away with one of the injured soldiers.
The authorities of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army is yet to confirm the attack as its spokesman, Lt. Colonel Charles Ekeocha, has not responded to messages sent to him.
Meanwhile, the Ikwerre local government council of Rivers State has mobilised local vigilantes and hunters to assist in tackling rising insecurity in the area.
Chairman of the council, Hon. Samuel Nwanosike, in a statement made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt yesterday, sympathized with families of the security personnel who lost their lives during the attack.
Nwanosike said: “The killing of security agents manning the Port Harcourt-Owerri road is an unfortunate incident and the people of Ikwerre LGA condemn it.
“I sympathize with the families of security agents who lost their lives and I can assure citizens of Ikwerre LGA that the surprise will never happen again.
“Communities in Ikwerre LGA, our local vigilantes and hunters are at alert to ensure that this ugly incidence does not repeat in the area.”
5 Policemen Gunned Down In Imo
Five men of the Nigerian Police have been gunned down in a fresh attack on the Okigwe South Area Command of the police in Ehime Mbano local government area of Imo State.
This is even as one policeman is yet to be accounted for.
Police spokesman for Imo State, Orlando Ikeokwu confirmed the development yesterday.
Ikeokwu, however, said the police station was not razed contrary to claims on social media.
Sources told LEADERSHIP that the armed gunmen drove into the area command and started shooting. While trying to repel them, five policemen were gunmen down during the exchange of gunfire.
The source who pleaded anonymity did not say if the fleeing gunmen sustained any casualties on their side.
Further, the gunmen were alleged to have released all the suspects in the cells and set the command ablaze.
Imo State has been bedeviled with attacks on police formations and the Correctional centre within two months.
Already, about six police divisional headquarters have been invaded and suspects set free, including the State Police headquarters in April.
Over 50,000 Farmers Displaced in 13 Villages in Nasarawa, As Gov Condemns Recent Attacks
Over 50,000 farmers who are mostly Tiv by tribe cut across about 13 villages have been displaced from their homes in Nasarawa State.
The displaced villages are Dooshima, Antsa, Dooka, Angwan Yara, Ikyayior, Targema, Tse Tor, Chia, Umurayi, Dooga, Gindan Rai, Ajimaka and Ankoma, all in Ekye development area, in Doma local government area (LGA) of Nasarawa State.
They were allegedly displaced by rampaging herdsmen and are currently taking refuge in Kadarko in Keana LGA and Agyaragu in Obi LGA of Nasarawa State.
Our correspondent gathered that others are taking refuge in relations/friends’ houses in Kadarko and Agyaragu, while others are in Daudu, Guma LGA of Benue State.
Engr Moses Utondu, the senior special assistant to Nasarawa State governor on conflict resolution, while addressing the displaced persons yesterday in Kadarko and Agyaragu, appealed to them to remain calm as the governor, Engr Abdullahi Sule, would immediately look into their problem.
He assured them that he will report their plights to the governor and expressed hope that the government of Nasarawa State under Governor Sule would respond immediately and ensure that normalcy returns to the affected communities.
“My assessment so far has shown that our people are truly displaced; it is not an issue of speculations, but my courage and comfort is that, our governor is somebody who is committed to peace , we are here to see things ourselves and we are going to report back to the governor and he will take prompt action” he said
Meanwhile, the Nasarawa State governor has strongly condemned last weekend’s brutal killing of innocent people during an attack on Ajimaka village of Doma local government area.
Governor Sule, in a statement signed by his chief press secretary, Ibrahim Addra, described the act perpetrated by unknown persons as reprehensible, callous and inexcusable.
He lamented that an attack that does not spare women and children bears the trademark of devilish elements who are bent on truncating the relative peace in the state.
The governor gave assurance that security operatives had since commenced investigations that will expose the criminals with a view to punishing them according to the laws of the land.
“My condolences and prayers are with families of those whose lives were lost. I urge them and the rest of our citizens to rest assured that this administration will do all within its power to ensure justice, peace and security across the state,” Governor Sule said.
1 Officer,6 Soldiers Killed In Mainok Attack -Army
The Nigerian Army has said that, contrary to reports, only one officer and six soldiers paid the supreme price during the encounter with terrorists at Mainok, Borno State.
The director, Army public relations, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, in a statement, said troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed in Mainok, Borno State, on Sunday came under multi-directional attacks as Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists mounted on unconfirmed number of gun trucks as well as foot soldiers with possible intent of establishing a phantom caliphate in the town.
He, however, said the troops of 156 Task Force Battalion engaged the terrorists a in gun battle until the arrival of reinforcement teams from 7 Division, Special Army Super Camp, Ngamdu, and Army Super Camp 4, Benesheik.
He said during the firefight, which lasted several hours, the troops tactically lured a number of the terrorists into a killing zone within their camp where the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole scrambled Alpha jets and helicopter gunboats which took turns in decimating the already trapped terrorists.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, scores of Boko Haram terrorists were neutralised with their body parts littering the area and a number of their gun trucks destroyed.
“Regrettably, one gallant officer and six soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while five other soldiers sustained various degrees of injuries,” he said.
According to him, the wounded soldiers have already been evacuated to a military medical facility for treatment.
He said the troops are in full control of Mainok and environs, for fleeing terrorists being pursued.
The chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, applauded troops of Operation Lafiya Dole for their resilience, commitment and doggedness and further reassured Nigerians of the Army’s unalloyed commitment to defeating Boko Haram/SWAP terrorists.
He urged citizens to always avail the troops with accurate and timely information for prompt action.
Bandits Kill 9 Policemen In Kebbi
The Kebbi State police command has confirmed the killing of nine of its personnel including a divisional police officer (DPO) by bandits in Sakaba LGA of the state.Nafi’u Abubakar, the command spokesperson, said the officers were killed during a gun duel with the bandits on Sunday.
NAF Begins Probe Of Friendly Fire On Ground Troops In Borno
Soldiers have been reportedly killed after a fighter jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force which erroneously fired a bomb on ground troops in Mainok.
A security source confirmed that some military hardware, including a military truck, perished in the incident.
In the video of the incident already trending online, a soldier who looked depressed over the Mainok massacre of troops was seen narrating how the fighter jet bombed the gun truck.
The soldier pointed to a thick smoke from the burning gun truck and said: “One of our gun trucks coming from Benisheik, air force has shelled it and killed all the soldiers.
“It is the smoke that you are seeing. The gun truck and soldiers were coming for reinforcement and the vehicle entered bush, the fighter jet bombed,” the soldier said in pidgin English in the 14-second video.
The Nigerian Air Force spokesman, Edward Gabkwet acknowledged seeing the video of the incident in circulation, but said he could not independently verify its authenticity, adding that proper investigation had begun.
He said: ”First of all, we have to confirm the authenticity of that video. We can’t just see any video on social media and then start running helter-skelter about it. We have to confirm whether that video is authentic.
”If it is authentic, we have to now investigate why and how it happened. That is how it is done. I can’t, after listening to it, say whether it is right or wrong without having all the facts and making sure that due processes are followed,” Gabkwet said.
LEADERSHIP recalls that no fewer than 33 soldiers were reportedly killed on Sunday when Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorists invaded Mainok military base in Borno state.
The service on its official Twitter handle @NigAirForce said, “The attention of the @NigAirForce has been drawn to reports alleging “How NAF Killed over 20 Nigerian Army Personnel by Accident in Air Strike” at Mainok which is about 55km to Maiduguri.
“The NAF wishes to state that visuals and reports being circulated are currently being investigated and the general public will be duly updated on the alleged incident.”
Bandits Kill Another 2 Greenfield Varsity Students
Kaduna State government yesterday said security agencies had recovered two more dead bodies of Greenfield University students who abducted by armed bandits last week.
The bandits had on Friday killed three of the kidnapped students of the Greenfield University, bringing the number of students murdered to five, with many others still in the hands of kidnappers.
A statement by the commissioner of internal security and home affairs, by Samuel Aruwan, explained that the retrieved corpses had been evacuated to a mortuary, and that the university had been notified of the latest development.
The statement said: “The government of Kaduna State under the leadership of Malam Nasir el-Rufai is saddened by this evil perpetrated against innocent students abducted while pursuing their education for a glorious future.
“The government sends its deep empathy to their families and the university management, and prays for the repose of their souls.”
Gunmen Kidnap 3 Benue Varsity Students
Three students of the Federal University of Agriculture, Màkurdi (FUAM), have been abducted from the university.
The Benue State Police Command confirmed the incident yesterday.
When contacted, the vice chancellor of the university, Prof. Richard Kimbir, admitted that kidnapping had taken place but could not confirm the number of undergraduates affected.
Prof. Richard Kimbir said an unconfirmed number of the students were kidnapped on Saturday at about 10:30pm at gunpoint while they were studying at the university campus by unknown gunmen who had invaded the school.
“We are holding a management meeting after which we will know the actual number of students that were kidnapped,” he said.
The police public relations officer, DSP Catherine Anene, who also confirmed the incidence, said the command received information from the management of the institution that, at about 10:20pm, some hoodlums came into the school and kidnapped three students of the institution.
“We received information from the school management that three of their students, who were studying at night close to a lecture theatre in the campus, were kidnapped by hoodlums who invaded the school premises.
“And what we want to do now is to urge members of the public to remain calm because the command is doing its best to make sure that we get into the root of the matter and as well apprehend the perpetrators.
“I want to also assure the parents of the kidnapped students that we will do everything possible to get them back alive. They should just be calm and cooperate with us,” she said.
9 Killed In Anambra
Meanwhile, about nine residents of Otoko area of Awkuzu community in Oyi local government area of Anambra State have been killed by unknown gunmen.
A source in the area told LEADERSHIP that a gang of assailants stormed the area mainly inhabited by students of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU), Igbariam Campus, and Fulani cattle farmers about 2am yesterday, killed many of the residents and destroyed several of their property, including buildings.
The source hinted that later in the morning, about two minibuses loaded with people suspected to be herdsmen were brought to the troubled area, but that a large deployment of security personnel armed to the teeth, including police and military, had taken over security of the area.
Confirming the incident, spokesman of the Anambra State police command, Deputy Superintendent of police (DSP) Ikechukwu Ikenga, said that the state commissioner of police, CP Monday Bala Kuryas had already detailed a deputy commissioner of police to visit and assess the situation, and that intelligence operatives and other security assets of the command had been deployed to restore normalcy to the area.
CP Kuryas, according DSP Ikenga, assured residents of the area of adequate security of their lives and property and urged anyone who might information concerning how to arrest the perpetrators of the evil act to make it available to the state police command.
Gunmen Invade Zaria Community, Abduct 2 Housewives, Children
Some gunmen have invaded Kofar Gayan Low-cost community on the outskirts of Zaria, Kaduna State, Sunday night at about 10:30pm shooting sporadically and abducting two housewives and some children.
The suspected gunmen, who came to the area in large numbers through a neighbouring Buze community axis, continued to fire gunshots in various locations of the area.
An eyewitness who sought for anonymity said: “When gunshots were heard, everybody scampered for safety and houses were quickly locked while members of the vigilante and some good Samaritans remained and engaged the gunmen in gun battle before the arrival of the police. ”
“While that was going on, the Gunmen abducted 2 separate housewives with their children after breaking into their matrimonial houses.
Meanwhile, sources indicated that two children of one of the abducted housewives were released by the captors while their mother and another woman and her children were taken to an unknown destination.
Further investigation revealed that four almajiri children sustained varying degrees of injuries during the crossfire. They have since been taken to Gambo Sawaba General Hospital, Zaria, for treatment.
While the gun battle lasted more than two hours, two of the suspected gunmen were arrested by the community as a result of persistent pressure mounted on the bandits.
The suspected gunmen are presently in police custody.
In his reaction, the emir of Zazzau, Amb Ahmed Nuhu Bamalli, has asked members of the community not to panic and to avoid leaving the area in fear of reprisal by the bandits.
He assured them that security operatives are on top of the situation and called for fervent prayers to guard the area from recurrence.
7 Dead, Many Injured in Stampede Over Ramanda Gift in Katsina
Seven women were said to have been killed while several others sustained various degree of injuries during a stampede at the residence of a Katsina-born business mogul, Dahiru Mangal.
The women were stampeded to death during a vicious struggle for N500 gift (Zakkat) and food items being distributed as Ramadan packages at his residence in Katsina metropolis.
Eyewitness said many women fainted during the struggle which started at about 9pm and lasted till midnight.
They said attempts were made to revive those who fainted while the corpses of the deceased women were taken away by some security operatives and residents of the multibillionaire’s quarters.
Farida Mohammad, who was at the scene of the incident, explained that the incident occurred on Sunday night. She said those in charge were disbursing funds and foodstuffs smoothly until some impatient persons disrupted the process by refusing to join the queue.
She said: “We always go to his (Mangal) residence to collect N500 and sometimes food items for Ramadan but getting into the house yesterday was very tough and hard. I suffered some bruises, but glory be to Allah, I made it; but more than seven women died and 15 others also sustained serious injuries and were rushed to hospitals yesterday night.
“I saw them myself and, besides, it happened outside the compound so everybody around there saw their corpses. They were stepped upon when they fell down and they couldn’t stand up. They were trampled upon and killed. Most of the victims are elderly women who couldn’t stand for a long period of time”.
The state police command is yet to make any official comment to this regard, but a team of policemen were seen around the residence of the business mugul.
Fresh Tension In Imo As Air force Helicopter Mounts Surveillance
Palpable tension coupled with apprehension has gripped residents of Owerri, the capital of Imo state and its environs following the sudden appearance of a helicopter gunship that incessantly hovers above the state menacingly.
The helicopter, which made its appearance this afternoon with deafening noise, expectedly instilled fear in the already tension-soaked residents when it menacingly demonstrated a landing move that constrained some market women, street and roadside traders to scamper for safety.
This development came on the heels of last Saturday’s attack on the country home of Governor Hope Uzodimma at Omuma, in the Oru East council area by gunmen.
A middleaged woman who hawks consumables on wheel barrow pleaded with security agencies in the state to rise up and arrest the disturbing situation.
An official of the Nigerian Air Force in the state who pleaded not to be mentioned admitted the presence of the helicopter but said it was a normal security patrol by the command.