The Nigerian Army has revealed that it will shut down some of the markets identified to be engaging in illegal trade with the Boko Haram sect in Borno and Yobe States.
Speaking during a media briefing on Tuesday, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, the acting Director, Army Public Relations said some criminal elements were using certain markets to aid the Boko Haram members.
The army therefore pleaded for the support and understanding of the public to enable them decisively deal with the terrorists and saboteurs.
His statement read in full: “It has come to the knowledge of the Nigerian Army that while concerted efforts are being made to finally clear all remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in the North East in particular and the country generally, some unscrupulous elements in the society have been thwarting that effort for pecuniary gains. They engage in all manners of illegal commercial activities such as trading and smuggling especially during late hours, all aimed at sustaining terrorism and insurgency. This is more prevalent in some towns and villages within the North East especially in Borno and Yobe States. The unpatriotic and selfish elements have clandestinely been aiding the terrorists with logistics and other supplies, through smuggling and other forms of illicit trading, thus sustaining them, while the merchants of death make money out of it.
“Consequently, the Nigerian military and indeed the Nigerian Army is highly concerned with these unpatriotic acts. The Nigerian Army is therefore taking some drastic steps to curtail this illicit trading with the terrorists. From now on, some markets identified to be engaging in this illegal trade with the adversary in Borno and Yobe States will be closed. Any breach of that would be dealt with accordingly. The General Officers Commanding and other commanders have been directed accordingly. We implore for public’s kind support and understanding as we take these drastic measures to enable us decisively deal with the terrorists and saboteurs.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Nigerian Army has been recording tremendous successes in the fight against terrorists and insurgency as follows:
“Troops of 7 Brigade Quick Reaction Force (QRF), Multinational Joint Task Force, yesterday inflicted casualties on Boko Haram terrorists, thus causing a major setback to the insurgents. This feat was achieved when the troops staged an ambush against the terrorists at Kekeno, Kukawa Local Government Area. During the operation, the gallant troops killed 5 suspected Boko Haram terrorists, recovered one Toyota Buffalo vehicle, 3 AK-47 rifles, 2 knives, a horse and other locally fabricated weapons. The insurgents were believed to be on a retaliatory mission following the killing of a suspected Boko Haram Ameer during an ambush by our troops at Kekeno.
“In another development, troops of 118 Task Force Battalion patrolling Mile 90-Kekeno general area, have killed one suspected Boko Haram terrorist and captured 2 other insurgents. Similarly, troops of Army Headquarters Special Forces on patrol to Yale came across Boko Haram terrorists camp at Bulagana, cleared the camp and rescued 40 civilians held hostage. Unfortunately, 1 soldier sustained gunshot wounds during the operation. He has since been evacuated and is responding to treatment.
“In the same vein, 151 Task Force Battalion of 21 Brigade while on patrol encountered Boko Haram terrorists at Budumri village during which they killed 25 Boko Haram terrorists and arrested 8 other terrorists. The troops also rescued 103 civilians held hostage by the terrorists. They also recovered 1 Golf car and quite a number of motorcycles and bicycles. The troops also cleared terrorists camp at Bolungu village. The same unit also rescued 181 persons and captured 8 Boko Haram terrorists. Among those rescued, were 18 men, 90 women and 77 children. The screening and profiling of those rescued is ongoing before their movement to IDP camps, while those arrested are being interrogated.
“Unfortunately, despite these successes, a crop of black sheep amongst us are bend on tarnishing the image of the Nigerian Army. Last Sunday 7th February 2016, two of our Explosive Ordinance Device personnel attached to 143 Battalion, 13NA/ 70/10183 Sapper Eric Nwokorie and 13NA/70/10263 Sapper Macauley Fortune were arrested at Yola park with the following unauthorised military items: 1 Smoke grenade, 2,136 live rounds of 7.62 (Special) ammunition, 50 live rounds of 7.6mm (NATO) ammunition, 5 magazines of AK 47 rifles, 2 Browning Machine Gun live rounds of ammunitions. Others include, 1 Axe, 1 Cutlass, 1 Jack knife, 9 Jungle hats, 11 pairs of Camouflage (9 Desert and 3 woodland green), 4 Military Pullovers, 1 Black beret, 1 Green beret, 1 Pair of number 7 dress, 2 General Duty belt, 12 Army T-shirts, 2 Rain Coats, 2 Water bottles, 1 Pairs of Rain boot and 5 Pairs of Desert boots.
“This unfortunate incident notwithstanding, troops morale remains high as they continue to dominate the general area with aggressive raids, ambushes and patrols to clear the remnants of the terrorists hibernating in the area.
“The attention of the Nigerian Army has also been drawn to a set of 250 protesting dismissed soldiers in Nigerian Union of journalists (NUJ) Secretariat, Kaduna pleading through the media to be reabsorbed back again into the Nigerian Army.
“The protesting soldiers were those soldiers dismissed last week by the Nigerian Army over gross acts of indiscipline, cowardice and absence without leave. They were part of the 2,023 dismissed soldiers last year that were earlier reinstated back into the Service by the present Chief of Army Staff. However, these set of soldiers (the 205) absconded for more than one week when they were told that they were to move to North East on the 6th of January 2016. They started coming back when they realised that others were moved to units other than the theatre of operations in the North East. Please note that all efforts were made to make all the reinstated soldiers comfortable and integrate them back into the system. The protesting soldiers are the few who are recalcitrant to military duties and discipline. They are simply not interested in army job but want to earn salary. No one should listen to them as they are not patriotic at all.
“It should be noted that the Nigerian Army has been tolerant and patient with their acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conduct. This was based on the understanding of their circumstances and conditions. Efforts have been made to retrain them, integrate and give them sense of belonging. However the attitude of some of them has left so much to be desired and would not be tolerated anymore hence their dismissal from Service. The Nigerian Army thrives on discipline, loyalty and good conduct and if anyone could not measure up to expectation or live by those tenets, he would not be allowed to remain in the system.”