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Soldiers shut down Daily Trust offices, arrest two staff

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The Maiduguri regional office of a Nigerian newspaper Daily Trust was invaded by some armed military men on Sunday.

The troops arrested the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab and shut the gate of the office.

A source at the Daily Trust said the arrest of the journalist may be connected to the newspaper lead story on Sunday.

The report was written by Hamza Idris and Uthman Abubakar.

Daily Trust earlier reported that the Nigerian military has assembled thousands of troops and equipment in preparation for a massive operation to retake Baga and five other towns in the northern part of Borno State from Boko Haram.

The media outfit said it learnt that all the three arms of the nation’s armed forces, the army, navy and the air force, would be involved in the major offensive to flush out the insurgents from the areas they have captured.

“A major operation is on the way but we can’t divulge the details to you,” Daily Trust reported.

“More troops including ground troops, airmen and naval personnel are being deployed from different formations. They would join those on ground in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states for the operations,” the newspaper said citing a military source.

A similar report was published by AFP on December 31.

Daily Trust’s Maiduguri and Abuja offices sealed
Hours after the Maiduguri office was sealed, Daily Trust’s Abuja office was also visited by security agents.

A Daily Trust source said personnel of the Department of State Services initially stormed the Daily Trust office in Maiduguri in two vehicles and asked the security guards the whereabouts of the reporters.

He said they were told that no one was around. The DSS operatives then left only to return as a combined team of DSS, Army and Civil Defence officers in some vehicles, he added.

He further noted that they asked of the reporters again but when they were told no one was in the office, they got angry, seized the phones of two security guards and got access to the office.

Another witness stated that they met the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar, and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab, in the office.

“They seized their phones and laptops and thereafter arrested them and took them away. They also locked the main gate of the office.

“Minutes later, some policemen in two vans went to the office also. They are there presently,” he said.

Baga again
The Daily Trust report showed that the military might have lied about the true extent of insurgent attacks on Baga, in Borno State.

Fighters from the Islamic State-backed Boko Haram splinter group attacked and sacked a Nigerian naval base in the key town located on the shore of Lake Chad on December 27.

But Nigerian military cried fake news when the news of the attack was reported by the media.

“Baga, as I speak with you, is not in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents. They contested it, but lost the battle in the last 24 hours of attacks on our base,” Chief of Army Training and Operations, Maj-Gen. L.O. Adeosun said on December 31.


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