Military arrests 33 suspected B’ Haram food suppliers
• Centre urges caution in negotiations
As the Nigerian military continues its onslaught on Boko Haram terrorists, 33 people suspected to be food suppliers to the insurgents have been arrested, the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman revealed yesterday in Abuja.
The Army spokesman also said that some of the people supposedly rescued after some towns were recovered by the troops are suspected to be sect members.
The Guardian recalls that the military in the last few weeks reportedly rescued scores of woman, children and men along with them, as they over-ran the terrorists, recovering towns, communities hitherto under the occupation of the group in some parts of the Northeast. The latest being the recovery of Buduwa general area in Bama Council in Borno state.
Usman said the arrest of the 33 suspects was a result of the meticulous alertness and effective guard, carried out by troops in the area that “yield positive results with the arrest of 33 suspected food suppliers to the Boko Haram terrorists in Damboa axis around Azir-Wajiroko road, Borno State.
Usman said the alleged accomplices, who are from different parts of the state are still being interrogated, as they claimed to be traders and have continued to deny supplying food to the sect.
Meanwhile, the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) has asked the Federal Government to approach the negotiation with members of the sect with caution, saying that only genuine members, who are ready to keep their own side of the bargain, should be entertained.
CCC also said terrorists who want to genuinely negotiate do not desire any form of monetary compensation, as they are simply tired of fighting a war they were “deceived” into joining, and want to surrender their arms in exchange for reintegration into the society.
Executive Secretary of the Centre, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (retired) said the declaration by the President is in order and for the benefit of all, as “the CCC believes the new position had become imperative in view of the fact that military option alone has failed to resolve the issue.”
The Army statement reads in part “Nine (9) of the 33 suspects are from Korode, five (5) from Auma, 10 from Geargube, four (4) from Kausautaya, four (4) from Bulbul and one (1) from Dolomi villages. Although some of the suspects claimed to be traders, they did not however, deny buying and selling food items to the terrorists. Interrogation is still ongoing to further unravel the level of involvement of the suspects”
The troops, according to the statement have continued the mop up operation to clear all terrorists’ hideouts in the area, and have in the course of it “discovered and successfully destroyed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted by Boko Haram terrorists at Sandia village along Korode road.”
To allay fears expressed in some quarters that some of the supposedly recued men, may be Boko Haram members disguising as such, the military authorities have said they are not taking anything for granted, as they would be thoroughly screened and investigated to ascertain their innocence or otherwise.
Usman noted, “The Nigerian Army is trying hard to ensure safety of the rescued persons but not taking anything for granted as some of them are suspected terrorists.”