Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika
A fierce gunfight launched against the fundamentalist Islamist group, Boko Haram, by Camerounian soldiers has led to the killing of no fewer than 180 insurgents and two gendarmes around a Nigerian border with Cameroun.
It was gathered that during the battle which took place on Tuesday evening, many of the wounded insurgents were also arrested.
About 200 rifles, 70 machine guns and heavy military hardware were said to have been recovered from the insurgents by the soldiers.
A reliable military source confirmed the development to our correspondent shortly after the the Nigerian Army in Kano State disclosed that it had foiled a plot to bomb Kano during the forthcoming Sallah festival by uncovering a bomb factory in Gezawa Local Government Area.
It was gathered that the Camerounian authorities directed the soldiers to launch the attack against the Nigerian gunmen, who had earlier on Tuesday, ambushed and killed two gendarmes on patrol in the border community.
Our source said the soldiers, while pursuing the insurgents, sent a signal to their Nigerian counterparts, to be on the alert to avoid the escape of the fleeing insurgents.
According to the source, the number of those killed, the arrests and the recovered arms indicated that many Boko Haram members, who were forced out of Nigeria through military operations, had already “settled comfortably” in Cameroun.
He said, “The Camerounian troops have been involved in a serious confrontation with the insurgents. They have killed over 180 of them.
“Almost 200 rifles and 70 machine guns were recovered from them by Camerounian soldiers.
“What led to this operation was that the insurgents killed two gendarmes on patrol around the border with Nigeria on Tuesday. I think this angered them to order a comprehensive raid of the hideouts of the insurgents.
“You can see from the casualty figure and the level of seizures that they were already comfortable in that part of Cameroun until this incident.
“Ironically, the Camerounians who had been reluctant in spite of complaints by Nigeria at the diplomatic level are the ones now reaching out to us to ensure that the fleeing insurgents are not allowed to escape. So, I can tell you that the heat is on them.”
It was also gathered that Nigerien soldiers in the Multinational Joint Task Force killed an unspecified number of Boko Haram members on some island communities near Lake Chad on Sunday.
Investigations revealed that the Nigerien component of the MNJTF went after the insurgents on learning of the killing of one of them.
Our source said the intensified military action against the insurgents had made the nation’s northern border rather too hot for them.
When our correspondent contacted the Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen Chris Olukolade, he said, “Our neighbouring countries, either through the instrumentality of the Multi National Joint Task Force or through their security instruments, are involved in operations to complement what we are doing against terrorism.
“I am aware that the MNJTF and Nigerian security agencies are combing everywhere for any strange movement in our territory,” Olukolade said.
Also in Abuja on Wednesday, the Commander ‘3’ Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen Illiyasu Abba, said that operatives raided a house in Gunduwawa, Gezawa LGA and discovered a bomb factory.
He told journalists at a press briefing in Kano that bomb making items recovered from the factory were meant to carry out attacks in Kano during the Sallah and other festivals this year.
A young man suspected to be a child of the owner of the house rented out to the suspected terrorists was shot dead.
Abba said, “At about 2 am on October 8, a combined team of the JTF troops and Department of State Services raided two Boko Haram terrorists’ hideouts at Gunduwawa village in the Gezawa Local Government Area.
“The raid, which was conducted following a lead on intelligence reports, made no arrests as the terrorists fled the village on the approach of the JTF troops and DSS personnel.
“The weapons and other dangerous materials were meant to wreak havoc on Kano during the Eid-el-Kabir and other festivities before the end of the year.’’
He listed Improvised Explosive Devices, ‘two AK 58 with 193 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition, one AK 47 magazine with 107 rounds of 5.56 millimeter ammunition, bows and arrows as some of the recovered items.
Three primed cylinders of IEDs, one primed explosive suicide back pack, 18 empty IED cylinders, 24 detonators, a small bag of fertiliser, IED timers cortex wires, three remote control devices, five Motorola hand held radios, four communicators, six alarm clocks, two cartons of nine -volt batteries, a scale, one external hard drive and one heavy duty charger/battery were also recovered from the house.