One police officer and a Borno State government truck driver have died after Boko Haram insurgents ambushed a large convoy of travelers being escorted by security forces on Tuesday in Borno.
The officials who were in private and commercial vehicles were said to be traveling away from Maiduguri, the state capital to the southern part of Borno State, passing through the Damboa road.
The road had been closed for about two years after Boko Haram captured towns and villages along its axis, but was reopened in February 2016.
Following the attack, there were reports that the insurgents may have killed up to 9 police officers and several civilian travellers.
However, the Borno State Police Command at a press conference late Tuesday confirmed the attack, saying just one of its officer was killed.
Speaking to journalists, the state’s Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu, also stated that the ambush claimed the life of a Borno State government truck driver conveying drugs to an IDP camp in Damboa.
He said a unit of soldiers who normally carry out such exercise once in a day was escorting the convoy of over 200 vehicles.
He also explained that in the convoy were 63 personnel of the Nigeria Mobile Police Force on a special duty in Askira-Uba Local Government Area in southern Borno State.
“The vehicle conveying the deployed unit who were in an 80-sitter bus, had to join the convoy of civilian travellers being escorted by the soldiers,” Mr Chukwu said.
“They started the trip around 10 a.m.; and by 11.30 we received information that they were ambushed. Suspected insurgents who were firing anti-aircraft rifle on the bus conveying the policemen ambushed the whole convoy of about 200 vehicles. They had to scamper for safety and in that process six of them were injured.
“The rest 56 of our special deployment managed to escape without any injury and their guns were intact.
“But from what we gathered, the Borno State government driver who was driving the policemen left the vehicle and ran away. The gunmen attempted to take the bus away, but later left it after ridding it with bullets.”
The military is yet to issue any statement on the incident.
Tuesday’s attack by Boko Haram comes few days after the insurgents attacked Maiduguri.
The army on Saturday confirmed the arrest of a suspected Boko Haram terrorist, Aliyu Ahmed, alias “Aliko”.
The army spokesman, Sani Usman, said in the statement that “Aliko” was arrested on Friday by troops of 33 Brigade following a tip-off in Yuga village in Toro Local Government Area of Bauchi State, where he has been in hiding.
The army also said it intercepted four child traffickers and 19 under aged children in Yobe.
“He was found to be in possession of one single barrel gun and one Dane gun.
“During preliminary interrogation, he confessed that he actively participated in several Boko Haram terrorists’ attacks and also owned an AK-47 Rifle which he lost during one of the attacks they carried out in 2016.
“His interrogation continued,” Mr. Usman, a brigadier general, said.
He said the four traffickers, who were arrested by troops of Bravo Company, 120 Battalion at Katarko, were conveying 19 children from Potiskum to Garin Tuwo, Bungai and Buni Yadi in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe and Galarabala in Biu Local Government Area of Borno.
“Both the suspected traffickers and their victims have been moved to the Brigade Headquarters for transfer to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons,” the army spokesman said.
The Trump administration is expected to reveal to lawmakers its five-year plan to address the Boko Haram rebellion in north east Nigeria and Lake Chad region.
This is pursuant to a law signed by former President Barack Obama last December.The law arose from a bill proposed by congresswoman Fredericka Wilson.
Indication that the Trump administration will unveil its Boko Haram plan was contained in notification letter addressed to the congresswoman by the US Department of State
Last month, U.S. Senator Susan Collins and U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson led a bipartisan group of 50 Members of Congress in writing to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, requesting an update on their efforts to counter Boko Haram.
In December 2016, legislation introduced by Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson was signed into law requiring the Administration to develop a comprehensive plan to help the Nigerian government and its partners combat Boko Haram and address the legitimate concerns of affected, vulnerable populations.
Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson’s legislation, which responded to the terrorist organisation’s kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls in Nigeria in 2014, directs the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the Director of National Intelligence to submit to Congress a five-year anti-Boko Haram strategy by June 12, 2017.
“While we were encouraged by the release of 82 of the Chibok schoolgirls…, it is imperative that we remember that many of the girls remain in captivity along with untold hundreds of other women, men, and children who have been kidnapped by Boko Haram,” Senator Collins and Congresswoman Wilson wrote. “…[W]e look forward to receiving an update on your efforts to develop an anti-Boko Haram strategy and beginning the process of dismantling Boko Haram and reuniting all of the Chibok schoolgirls with their families.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, explained why it invaded the headquarters of The Sun Newspaper in Lagos.
The Sun Management had revealed that armed operatives of the anti-graft agency, in the early hours of Monday, arrived at its head office saying they had “orders from above” to seal up the premises.
The newspaper had further stated that the EFCC had ordered its security personnel to take them round the company premises at gunpoint.
According to it, the agency subjected its staff to crude intimidation, psychological and emotional trauma.
“At gunpoint, they ordered our security personnel to take them round the company premises, after which they proceeded to prevent staff from either entering or leaving the premises, and disrupted our circulation process.
“For one grueling hour, EFCC operatives subjected our staff to crude intimidation, psychological and emotional trauma, even as some of the men accused our organization of publishing pro-Biafra, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militant stories, as they surveyed our premises,” read the statement issued by The Sun management.
But the EFCC in its response said that its invasion of the Newspaper was part of routine efforts to ascertain the state of the assets of the publishing company which is subject of subsisting interim forfeiture order.
It further said that its officials did not molest staff of the newspaper as claimed, adding that its action was without prejudice to any appeal and only meant to verify the integrity of the assets.
“The Commission still awaits the response of the Sun and will not be distracted by any attempt to whip up sentiments by alluding to an appeal which has been pending for ten years,” Wilson Uwujaren, the commission’s spokesperson said.
“Contrary to claims in a statement released to the media by the mPro-Biafra
anagement of the Sun, no staff of the media outfit was molested or intimidated for the few minutes that operatives of the Commission spent in the premises of the company.
“The claim that ‘EFCC operatives subjected our staff to crude intimidation, psychological and emotional trauma, even as some of the men accused our organization of publishing pro-Biafra, Boko Haram , and Niger Delta Militant stories,’ is strange and clearly the figment of the imagination of the Sun.
“There was no reason to molest anybody as the commission has always related professionally with the publishing outfit.”
Mr. Uwujaren said the attempt to link their visit to Mr. Magu’s threat to sue the organisation over a libelous publication was diversionary.
“Magu is pursuing that option in his private capacity and his lawyer, Wahab Shittu, did write the Sun and his letter was widely published in the media on March 31, 2017.”
Menacing and gun-toting operatives of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the early hours of Monday invaded and laid siege to the offices of The Sun Newspapers in the Jahi District of Abuja.
The Whistler learnt that the operatives were quoted as saying that they acting on “orders from above,” a euphemism for extra-judicial authority.
A statement by The Sun management said that staff were held at gunpoint, while those inside the premises were not allowed out, and those reporting for duty were prevented from gaining entry.
“At gunpoint, they ordered our security personnel to take them round the company premises, after which they proceeded to prevent staff from either entering or leaving the premises, and disrupted our circulation process,” the statement read.
The full statement reads:
EFCC INVASION: OUR POSITION, BY THE SUN
Law -abiding staff of The Sun Publishing Limited resumed work this morning, June 12, 2017 to behold heavily armed EFCC operatives in our company. They claimed to have "orders from above" to seal up the premises of The Sun Publishing Limited.
For one gruelling hour, EFCC operatives subjected our staff to crude intimidation, psychological and emotional trauma, even as some of the men accused our organisation of publishing pro-Biafra, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militant stories, as they surveyed our premises.
We recall that in 2007, (10 years ago) the EFCC had obtained an interim forfeiture order in respect of some assets of The Sun, attached to a suit against our Publisher, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, for which we have filed an appeal, which is still pending in court.
We also recall that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu had written a letter personally signed by him dated 23rd of May and received on the 7th of June, asking The Sun management to report to the Commission on 5th of June, detailing our operations in the last 10 years, on account of an interim order of forfeiture under appeal.
As law abiding corporate citizen, our lawyer, Chief Chris Uche SAN, wrote the Commission to intimate the Agency that the issue was pending before the court of Appeal. The receipt of our correspondence was duly acknowledged.
We were therefore shocked that our premises would be invaded by the Commission under whatever guise. This is condemnable and reprehensible. No one, Agency or authority should be above the laws of our country. An abuse of the law is a recipe for chaos.
Magu had in an earlier letter threatened to sue The Sun over a report published by one of our titles, pertaining to a report on investigation of a property allegedly traced to his wife. But up till now, we are yet to receive any court process.
In the light of the above, we strongly view this onslaught against The Sun as a personal vendetta by the leadership of the Commission, and by extension a declaration of war against the media.
In this invasion of our premises, it is crystal clear that what Magu and his Commission are after is not only to intimidate and muzzle us, but a furious attempt to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it.
On the issue of the interim order, which he purportedly based his invasion, Magu knows the matter has been on appeal since 2007 for which hearing comes up this week. But rather than wait for the court process, thecCommission under the leadership of Magu, typically resorted to self help.
We want the general public to take note of this authoritarianism and high handedness, which has been the hallmark of Magu’s leadership of the EFCC.
The other charge of publishing Biafra, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militant stories is very ridiculous, baseless and anti-Press freedom.
We like to state that we are neither an ethnic, political nor religious newspaper, but we are the Voice of the Nation, reflecting all sides, all views and all shades of opinion in line with the ethics of our profession.
We challenge Magu and his Commission to show where The Sun’s stories have been different from other papers in the country.
We call on well-meaning citizens and relevant authorities to restrain Magu and his Commission from taking the laws into their hands.