Nigeria launches defence against Boko Haram claims

Monday May 13 2019

People salvage their belongings following an

People salvage their belongings following an attack at Sajeri village on the outskirts of Borno state capital, Maiduguri, Nigeria on January 8, 2019 by fighters of the Islamic State-backed Boko Haram. Muhammadu Buhari's government has rebuffed criticism that it is losing the war and has given its exploits in detail. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

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Nigeria has launched its defence against allegations of complicity after it appeared after it appeared Boko Haram had overrun the northern part of the country where the terrorists claim killings and kidnappings almost on a daily basis.

Between January 2019 and May 7, 2019 the government said it had arrested 545 suspected kidnappers and armed robbers; recovering 105 assorted weapons and ammunition recovered.

In a rare face-the-facts statement released on Monday, the Muhammadu Buhari administration said it had launched five operations to counter the Islamic States West Africa Province associated Boko Haram.

Through the Special adviser to the President on Media Femi Adesina, the government sought to rebuff criticism that it was not doing enough to combat the incidents of kidnapping and banditry .

‘These are no doubt times of great security challenges for our country, and the government is not leaving any stone unturned to restore sanity and calm”, Mr Adesina said.

He said the five security operations being undertaken by the Nigerian police, the army and the airforce would counter and pre-empt attacks.


He named the operations as Puff Adder, Operation Harbin Kunama 3, Exercise Egwu Eke III’, Operation Diran Mikiya’ and Operation Sharan daji.

Three of the operations were launched this year to complement Sharan Daji which was commissioned in 2016 by the Nigerian Army and Diran Mikiya launched two years laterby the Nigerian Air Force).
“Despite recent spikes in the spate of crime and criminality, the evildoers will be beaten, and badly, too," Mr Adesina said.

Under Harbin Kunama 3 launched in April to nap bandits fleeing from the military in Zamfara into Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Niger and Sokoto States said it had arrested or killed hundreds of kidnappers, destroyed several camps and rescued 80 hostages.

In one operation around Valentine Day (February 4 to February 14), it said 37 bandits were killed. Air bombardments of bandits camps was also intensified this month in Kaduna and Zamfara states.

The bandits usually target travellers on the Kaduna – Abuja Expressway and remote villages in Kogi, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states for kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling.

Mr Adesina said police operatives had arrested three notorious criminals who it linked to the kidnap of Channels Television’s staff Friday Okeregbe, Hanniel Patrick, Abdulwahab Isah and Salisu Mohammed.

He said nine notorious criminals had been killed along the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway and their ring leader Mallam Salisu Abubakar, 48, a native of Dutsinma in Katsina State arrested.
Police detectives also arrested 18 notorious kidnappers and armed robbers during the period across the country.
Among the hostages rescued, Mr Adesina said, were five Chinese nationals who had been kidnapped on April 15, 2019 in Bobi, Niger State.

They were found under captivity in a forest in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State where kidnappers were killed during the rescue.

Mr Adesina attributed the restoration of relative peace in Sokoto state to the operations as well as the destruction of logistics centers in Zamfara where fuel, motor cycles and crude arms assembly items were impounded.