THE military Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno State has joined residents and the state government in applauding the “daring efforts” of members of the state’s Vigilance Youths Group (BVYG), who have been continuously hunting for the fleeing Boko Haram sect members for over five weeks.
Since the youths commenced their operations in Maiduguri metropolis, conducting “street to street and house to house” searches with their sticks, knives and cutlasses at strategic locations in the city, three top Boko Haram commanders and over 250 terror suspects have been arrested and handed over to JTF sector commanders for further investigations.
Meanwhile, the JTF has said that the Boko Haram terrorists must have been receiving assistance from some foreign countries, as most of the weapons and ammunition they use in their “serial attacks and
killings” are so sophisticated to the extent that even the Nigerian Army lack some of them.
Men of the JTF had entertained fears over the involvement of unarmed youths in hunting for the fleeing insurgents, but with the success of the youths in arresting some Boko Haram commanders and other terror suspects, the security task force has endorsed and supported their activities.
Speaking on youths’ involvement and arrest of terror suspects, the JTF spokesman, Lt. Col Sagir Musa said: “The JTF has commended these youths for assisting our soldiers in arresting these terror suspects among people living in the metropolis. The youths have also renewed their efforts in supporting the JTF in the current operations.”
He said the JTF has also expressed its support and encouragement for the vigilante groups and youths associations of the three wards for their commendable efforts to end Boko Haram insurgency in the state.
Speaking on what gives the youths the courage to go after the terrorists, chairman of BVYG, Abubakar Mallum, in an interview in Maiduguri yesterday, said that God is behind them.
Mallum said: “Our members are not afraid. We also rely on people’s prayers. As all of you continue to pray for us, God will protect us until all the terror suspects are rooted out from our midst and handed over to soldiers for further investigation.
On how they fish out the terror suspects, Mallum said: “We rely on informal information provided by some residents, including relatives of the fleeing Boko Haram members. Besides that, some of the youths in this massive manhunt had monitored how the attacks and killings were perpetrated by the gunmen in the various wards and communities.”
Conducting Governor Kashim Shettima on Thursday at the destroyed enclaves of the Boko Haram sect members in Zajeri, Bulabulin Ngarnam and Fulaja wards of Maiduguri, the field commander of JTF, Col. S. S. Ahmed disclosed that the weapons and equipment recovered from the Islamist insurgents indicated that they were smuggled into Nigeria from foreign countries.
Ahmed said: “The abandoned houses in those communities in the wake of insurgency were converted into a hiding places for terrorists. Other houses were also connected by drilling tunnels to create an easy ‘escape routes’ when our troops try to attack and arrest them.”
He said snipers among the terrorists usually climbed roof tops and trees and used sophisticated telescopes that can see clearly in the night to detect the movement of security personnel, noting that sometimes, the JTF finds it difficult to arrest them, as they move through the tunnels from one place or house to the another.
The JTF field commander commended the governor for assisting the security task force in restoring peace to the state, stressing that without the Governor’s assistance, they would not have achieved what they have so far achieved.