15th March, 2023
By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has said infighting by the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups, as well as air strikes by its troops and other national operations had triggered movement of large number of members of the insurgent groups and their families from the Sambisa forests to the Lake Chad basin within the last one month.
The MNJTF said this in a statement announcing that its troops of Sectors 3 and 4 have apprehended more than 900 suspected family members and collaborators of Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgents issued by its Chief Military Public Information Officer in N’Djamena, Chad, Lt.-Col. Kamarudeen Adegoke on Wednesday.
Adegoke said that there had been continuous movements of large bodies of people from the Sambisa forests to the Lake Chad basin within the last one month.
“In a joint coordinated operations between Sectors 3 and 4 of the MNJTF in the Kamadougu Yobe River general area, along the Nigeria/Niger common border areas, more than 900 people, made up of women, children and elderly people suspected to be families and collaborators of the insurgents, have been arrested.
“Collaboration with national authorities and subsequent profiling and handing over is ongoing.
“Also, troops of Sector 4 conducted a night patrol along Ngagam – Djalori Axis where they rescued three women alongside their four children who were fleeing from the fighting between the Boko Haram and ISWAP from Sambisa forest.
“In a related encouraging development, on March 8, troops of Sector 3 Nigeria deployed at Damasak, intercepted 70 terrorists’ family members comprising 43 women and 30 children.
“They are currently receiving medical attention and profiling,” he said.
Adegoke explained that the emerging situation by the MNJTF troops of Sector 3 Nigeria started on March 5.
He said this followed the arrest of two suspected Boko Haram terrorists’ logistics suppliers and their collaborators Muhammed Sabo and Sarki Danladi while trying to exit Munguno town to the Tumbuns to link up with the terrorists.
He said that the items recovered from the suspects included two blankets, two fishermen identity cards, three wristwatches, two access passes which were issued by the terrorists, 20 empty sack bags, some personal clothing.
He added that troops on stop and search operation along the Main Supply Route Monguno – Kekeno – Cross Kauwa- Baga on March 4, arrested two suspects conveying some quantities of wrappers and other logistics to the terrorists.
“In the same vein, on March 5, we arrested one Abubakar Usman with First Bank ATM card and an invoice containing the lists of items to procure and possibly deliver to the terrorists.
“During the preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed that he has been involved in the supply of several logistics to the terrorists,” he added.
The MNJTF spokesman said that troops had apprehended some key terrorists’ logistics suppliers in different locations in recent times.
He said that several items such as fishing hooks, fishing threads, corn flower, mosquito nets, cooking pots, clothing as well as cash were recovered from the suspects.
In his massage to the troops, the Force Commander, MNJTF, Maj.-Gen. AbdulKhalifa Ibrahim, commended the efforts of the troops and the commanders for the effective coordination of the operations.
Ibrahim urged them not to relent in their determination at degrading the BHT/ISWAP logistics couriers which would have an overall positive impact on the counter insurgency operations.
He noted that the end of insurgency was in sight, and urged the troops to collectively deal a deadly blow on the insurgents.
He reassured them of the continuous support of the Headquarters MNJTF and called on the people of the Lake Chad Basin to be observant and report any suspicious activity to the security forces.