Four Terrorists Killed in Fresh Maiduguri Attack
Spokesperson for the Nigerian Defense Ministry, Major General Chris Olukolade, has said there was no attack on Maiduguri metropolis as widely reported by some media outlets especially a foreign television channel. In a statement Saturday, he explained that “ rather, on receiving distress call, troops at about 2am this morning launched a counter attack using mainly mortar shells on a group of terrorists who had attacked and killed four persons in Margimari village and other settlements in the outskirts of Maiduguri. There was no fighting or attack around the University or any barrack in Maiduguri either, as reported.
“Meanwhile, a Chadian, Usman Mecheka operating with the terrorists group around Lake Chad has been taken into custody by the Multi National Joint Task Force. He was apprehended by the Task Force while trying to extract a ransom from herdsmen and farmers in the area, after an earlier attack on the community”, the statement said.
Troops of the Special Task Force in the Plateau have also raided a camp maintained by an armed gang operating in a settlement in Shendam Local Government Area of Plateau State. A gun fabricating machine as well as some arms and ammunition from the hideout were recovered during the raid. Also recovered during the raid, were local single barrel guns, pistols, an automatic rifle, bullet pellets and a large quantity of materials for producing gun powder.
The raid has equally yielded vital details to track down the operators of the gun fabricating hideout who are now on the run. The area is also being combed in the search for similar criminal outfits.
In another development in Tanabu community in Barkin Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau state, troops of the Special Task Force have successfully repelled an attack by a gang of cattle rustlers who had invaded the community after a shootout. The troops had the encounter when they responded to a distress call from herdsmen in the area, leaving one of the cattle rustlers dead while others fled when they were overpowered by the troops.
In Abuja, eight persons are currently being interrogated after raid operations by troops of security agencies on joint surveillance and patrols mission in the Federal Capital today. The arrested persons are helping ongoing investigation with useful information after the operation which is sequel to intelligence reports. Most of those arrested are foreigners who were picked up around Kugbo and areas adjoining the Nyanya site of the recent bombings in the Federal Capital. Those confirmed to constitute threat to security will be handed over to appropriate prosecutorial agency on conclusion of the preliminary investigations.
In the meantime, Operation Restore Peace currently being conducted in the North Central States has maintained its operational tempo in the efforts to stamp out the activities of armed gangs in the region.
A 200-level student of the University of Maiduguri, Halima Abdul, also told our Correspondent on phone that “we don’t know from where the explosion and shooting occurred and we could not even run because it is dark and dangerous to do so. It happened around 2 a.m.; I was not asleep then”.
Halima said the university’s Dean of Students Affairs visited them in the hostel in the early hours of Saturday to assure them of safety, even as he warned of dangers in trying to run from the school.
A security official who also spoke, but asked not to be named because it was not his role to speak to the press said the shooting had nothing to do with the university. He said the shooting occurred in two villages about 12km away from university campus.
He added that many people are feared dead when a heavy bomb exploded in Maiduguri around 1.30pm today. Witnesses said the bomb was planted at the GSM Village, popularly known as Kasuwan Jagwal around the post office area. That place is near the Teaching Hospital mortuary and a market.
The market is a rallying point for hundreds of youth who sell mobile phone accessories and repair handsets.
Abdul Mudallabi, a native of Jigawa State who sells sugarcane in Maiduguri said he narrowly escaped death.
“I was at the Jagwal pushing my wheel barrow loaded with sugarcane when I heard a thunderous bang that rattled me. A shrapnel hit my hand and I lay flat on the ground. When the dust that enveloped the place cleared, I fled the scene even though blood was gushing out from the injury I sustained. I thank Allah for sparing my life,” Abdul Mudallabi said.