Army Arrests Over 1000 Terrorists In Sambisa Forest

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Lucky Irabor, a Major General and the Theatre Commander of the counter-insurgency operation of the Nigerian military in the North East codenamed “Operation Lafiya Dole”, has disclosed that the Army arrested a total of 1,240 suspected Boko Haram terrorists after the capture of Sambisa forest, the major stronghold of the insurgents.

Irabor made this known during a press conference at the Maimalari Cantonment in Maiduguri, to brief journalists as well as the general public on the activities of the troops.

He said that the arrested suspects included 413 adult males, 323 adults female, 251 male children and 253 were female children.

He added that they were apprehended during mop-up operations in the forest.

“We are interrogating them to know whether they are Boko Haram members, because there is no way somebody that is not their member would live inside Sambisa forest,” Irabor said.

“We are still on the trail of the terrorists and I want to assure you that all escape routes have been blocked,” he added.

Irabo also said that some of the insurgents have surrendered to authorities of neighbouring Niger Republic.

“Within this period, also, about 30 fleeing suspected Boko Haram members have surrendered to the Niger Multinational Troops on the shores of the lake Chad and we learnt that they were taken to Diffa in the Niger Republic.

“The suspects include 24 males and six females.

“We would like to use this opportunity to encourage the terrorists to give up the fight because the window is still open,” the commander said.

This was corroborated by the Interior Minister of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, who told journalists on Wednesday that 31 young people from Diffa, who were enrolled into the Boko Haram sect a few years ago in Boko Haram, decided to surrender.

The fighters arrived in the remote desert town of Diffa in groups and were being held by local authorities.

One of them reportedly told newsmen, “I learned that the first who surrendered were not arrested, and I surrendered.

“We expect a pardon from the government so that we can participate in the development of the country and help us get rid of the trauma.”

In June, tens of thousands of people fled Diffa as Boko Haram swept the region.

It was not clear what the authorities would do with the repentant terrorists, but there are reports of a possible reintegration into society.

A security source told Reuters that a meeting was planned for Wednesday in Diffa to discuss “the conditions of surrender,” but did not provide further details.

Boko Haram has killed over 20,000 people and displaced over 2 million since 2009 in an insurgency aimed at creating an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria.






     

     

    In recent years its attacks have spilled into neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

    The Army also said it recovered a Quran and a flag believed to have belonged to Abubakar Shekau, a fational leader of the Boko Haram sect.

    Irabor said Shekau had escaped when the troops captured the forest.

    Chief of Army Staff. Tukur Buratai, had said that the vast Sambisa Forest will be converted into a military training ground.

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