Five killed in JTF, Boko Haram clash

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jtf2,000 soldiers for anti-terror training

REIGN of terror continued in the northern part of the country on Monday night as suspected Boko Haram gunmen attacked a military patrol vehicle in Mubi town of Adamawa State, killing a soldier and a policeman.      

It was learnt that three civilians were also killed by stray bullets, while three other soldiers who were in the patrol vehicle sustained serious injuries after sporadic shoot-outs with the armed Islamic sect members.      

Mubi is a border town with Cameroun and 230 kilometres south of Yola, the Adamawa State capital.       

Confirming the killings in an interview, the spokesperson of Adamawa State Police Command, Altine Daniel, said: “One of the military patrol vehicles was attacked yesterday (Monday evening) on one of the streets in Mubi.  Five people, including one police officer and a military officer, were killed. Besides, three civilians were killed by stray bullets.”     

She further disclosed that three soldiers sustained gun-shot wounds while the gunmen were being repelled from the attacks that lasted for about half an hour.

According to the police spokesperson, the ambushing of the military patrol vehicle was triggered by the arrest of six suspected Boko Haram gunmen on Sunday night at an undisclosed location in Mubi.

“The gunmen rode on motorcycles before opening fire atthe military patrol vehicle. We have beefed up security in the affected area by cordoning it off. People should go about their

normal businesses, the police are on top of the security situation in Adamawa State,” Altine said.        

Multiple explosions were also heard in different parts of Mubi, but the police spokesperson said  “no casualty was recorded as a result of the blast, and no arrest was made by the police over the attacks and bomb blasts.”

Also confirming the incident to newsmen yesterday in Yola, the Brigade Commander of 23 Armoured Brigade, Gen. John Nwaoga, said the military team was on its routine patrol in Mubi when the sad incident occurred.

He said that on Sunday night, the team raided the hide-out of the suspected Boko Haram members in Mubi town and killed six members of the gang in a cross-fire.

According to the army top officer, two rifles and a huge number of ammunition were recovered from the Boko Haram camp in Mubi during the midnight raid.

The brigade commander spoke as the Plateau State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Emmanuel Dipo Ayeni, lamented that the peace that was being enjoyed in the state for some time now was truncated by the bombing of the Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) on Sunday, February 26, leading to loss of lives and property. Ayeni spoke yesterday at the joint security meeting of the Special Task Force (STF), police and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 3 Armoured Division. Apart from Ayeni, STF Commander, Maj.-Gen. Mohammed Ibrahim Bala, was physically present with the representative of the GOC.

Ayeni said the situation in the state was very peculiar as Plateau has been having the sectarian crises for some years now, which he noted, resulted in wanton destruction of lives and property. He told the gathering that the security agencies had devised new strategies “to put a total full stop to the senseless killings, the mayhem, and the blood-birth on the Plateau. As we are having some respite, these enemies of peace, enemies of our nation struck and it was a very terrible one.”

In his remarks, the STF Commander said the soldiers were trained to detect any fake soldier in military uniform, pointing out that there were inherent things, which the real soldiers know to detect fake soldiers, which were not known to the civilians.

His words: “If you don’t know all those things, it is difficult. You believe everybody you see in uniform is a genuine person. My advice is this; if for any reason you suspect anybody, insist on seeing his identification card. The moment he refuses to bring out his identity card, then you will know something is wrong and you can now raise an alarm and people will come around. The STF uniform is specially ordered. We will start checking even ourselves as I come to Plateau.”

Jos, the capital of Plateau State, was a ghost city yesterday when Muslim youths emerged from nowhere around Old Bukuru Park and forced the shops and other business centres closed as the owners were being threatened with dangerous weapons with a view to stabbing them. Also, the Igbo traders mobilised themselves marching forward to take up the gauntlet when all of a sudden a Hilux van loaded with soldiers of the Special Task Force (STF) emerged. The soldiers were on their way to change their spare tyres that had punctured. They had to stop to quench the looming danger.

At Bauchi Road, the restive youths there allegedly mobilised themselves for the killing of non-Muslims. There action was informed by the protest of the students of the University of Jos who blocked the highway because one of them was allegedly stabbed to death on Monday evening. It was yesterday that the truth dawned to them that one of them was killed. The protest sparked off riot at the Bauchi Road during which injuries were inflicted on some passers-by. Yesterday, the city of Jos was deserted as all commercial vehicles, motorcycles as well as shop owners disappeared, leaving Jos as a ghost city.

A GANG of armed men suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect yesterday ambushed members of the Joint Task Force (JTF) at the Gorondutse area of the Kano metropolis.

Two policemen were killed while a soldier was injured in the attack, which occurred at about 5.30p.m. as residents hurried home after the day’s work.

However, the JTF fought back and killed one of the gunmen.

Army Spokesman, Lt. Ikedichi Iweha, confirmed the attack and casualties.

Meanwhile, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Onyeabo Azubuike Ihejirika, yesterday assured on the preparedness of the Army to wage the war against terror, stating that 2,000 soldiers were being trained in Jaji and Kachia on counter-terrorism operations in order to meet current security challenges in the country.       

The Army’s Anti-terrorism and Insurgency Centre is located at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry in Jaji, Kaduna State.       

Ihejirika, who spoke at the two-day stakeholders conference on Nigerian Army Transformation in Abuja, stressed that “the Army believes strongly that once human capacity is developed to the required level, every other thing will fall in place.”

And, the apex Islamic body in the north, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), has urged the Plateau State Government to prevent further reprisal attacks following last Sunday’s bombing of St. Finbarr’s Catholic Church, Rayfield, Jos.

In a statement yesterday in Kaduna, the JNI Secretary-General, Dr. Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, wrote: “The JNI, on behalf of the President-General and the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar and the entire Muslim Ummah in Nigeria, condemns the bombing in strong terms and also commiserate with those who lost their loved ones.”        

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