Two suspected female terrorists die from own bombs
• Army turns Sambisa forest to training ground
• Re-opens two Borno roads
Two suspected female suicide bombers on a mission to kill as many people as possible in Borno State yesterday failed to reach their targets, and ended up destroying only their lives.
The Police Commissioner, Damian Chukwu said the plot by the suspects to attack a Maiduguri cattle market was foiled by members of a youth vigilance group. This development means the end of the conventional shooting war declared last week by President Muhammadu Buhari does not translate to absolute tranquillity in the troubled Northeast. The asymmetric war continues, which calls for even greater vigilance and higher tactics on the part of the government troops.
On how the suspects got blown up, a member of the group, Bukar Modu, who was at the scene, said: “Our members saw them while patrolling the Gambouru cattle market area and pursued them.
“The vigilance group members held them (suspects) at gunpoint from a distance, and ordered them to remove the explosives strapped on them. It was when they were removing their explosive wares that the bombs strapped on them exploded, killing the two instantly.”
According to Babs Gana, a trader in the market, there was another loud
explosion, a few seconds after the first one which killed the two female suspects.
The Spokesman of the Borno State Police Command, Victor Isuku, also confirmed the attack but could not provide the casualty figures. He said that the second explosion was that of the defused bomb by the police anti-bomb squad deployed at the scene.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has re-opened two border roads in Borno State following troops’ clearance of Boko Haram remnants in the ongoing military operations at the borders with Niger and Chad in the Northeast.
The roads are the 187-kilometre Maiduguri-Gubio-Damasak and 201-kilomere Maiduguri-Monguno-Baga expressways.
At the event in Maiduguri, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai said it was an opportunity for members of the National Union of Roads Transport Workers (NURTW) to work together with security agencies in ensuring the safety of lives and property on the re-opened roads.
“You should ensure that these roads are not only free from extortion, but from activities of Boko Haram insurgents,” Buratai said.
Buratai commended the gallantry of officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces for exhibiting first class patriotism and commitment in the discharge of their responsibilities.
He, however, warned: “We must maintain the momentum to ensure that the military operation continues. These terrorists are already on the run and we must pursue them wherever they are.
“We will not allow them to regroup anywhere for them to come back and launch any attack in any other community in this country.”
Also at a related event yesterday, Buratai said the Sambisa forest would serve as a training ground for the personnel of the Nigerian Army as from 2017.
Buratai spoke in Damasak, Borno, while celebrating Christmas with troops of 145 Battalion after the road leading to the town was reopened by Governor Kashim Shettima, three years after closure.
He said troops were already conducting a mop-up operation in the forest after the last stronghold of the Boko Haram terrorists was captured.
“We are also opening up roads to Sambisa and Alagarno forests. Sambisa forest is going to be one of our training grounds. I have already directed that we should conduct the Nigerian Army small arms championship in that forest next year. And we are going to use it also to test-fire our fighting vehicles, other key equipment and weapons that require testing whenever we want to induct new weapon and equipment into the Nigerian army inventory.
“It will afford us very good ground for basic tactics and indeed advance tactics, including but not limited to tactics at the platoon, company, battalion, brigade and even division levels.
“We are going to make it more robust to make sure that these criminals do not come back to that forest again,” the COAS said.