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Vigilance group kills 29 suspected B’Haram insurgents



President Goodluck Jonathan

• Jonathan promises to sustain war against terror
• ICRC, Red Cross donate to hundreds found in Sambisa 

EVEN as the military continue their offensive against Boko Haram insurgents in their Sambisa Forest hideout of Borno and Adamawa states, members of Volunteer Vigilante Group clashed with fleeing terrorists in the Hiang-Kukuriyi forest axis and killed 29 suspects at a fish farm on Wednesday by 10.14pm.

The killing of terror suspects, according to the commander of Vigilante Group, Madu Plungwa, was successful because the fleeing insurgents numbering over three dozens in a convoy of Toyota Hilux vehicles and motorcycles stopped at a fish farm to drink and eat, before proceeding towards the border areas of Yobe and Gombe.

“The fleeing insurgents were ambushed at this fish farm when they stopped to refuel and eat roasted fish on the farm. As some of them relaxed, five hunters, who have taken strategic positions near the fish farm, opened fire at them and killed 29 in the exchange of gunfire.

Some were however, able to flee in the same vehicles with gunshot wounds,” said Plungwa in a telephone interview with The Guardian yesterday in Maiduguri.

He said the insurgents were fleeing towards the south and southeast flanks of Sambisa Forest, so that they could get access to Yobe and Gombe escape forest routes.

“The fleeing insurgents were desperate to escape, because most of them have run out of arms and ammunitions, which they used to attack various towns and villages in Borno and Adamawa states,” said the vigilante leader.

Borno Police Command yesterday confirmed the clash between fleeing insurgents and local hunters near Hiang in Hawul council area. “I cannot provide details of casualties, but when our DPO submits his report on the security situation today or tomorrow (Friday), the command will brief the press,” said the police source. Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday vowed that government would not relent in the war against the insurgency until the country was safe for all.

Jonathan made this declaration in a message to the newly inducted Batch ‘A’ members of the National Youth Service Corps deployed in Rivers State. President Jonathan, who expressed delight in the performance of the military in the ongoing battle against Boko Haram, said they (military) have displayed a high level of patriotism.

In a related development, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Nigerian Red Cross have delivered aid to a group of 275 people, mainly women and children, who had been found in Sambisa forest, in north-east Nigeria.

The group was found during military operations in the region last week. The group was taken to a camp in the town of Yola yesterday to receive clothing, bed-sheets, jerri cans and hygiene articles.

The ICRC also provided medical supplies to the federal hospital in Yola to help treat the wounded and sick. President Jonathan expressed confidence that the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), would sustain the support given to corps members in order to achieve the objectives of the scheme.

“Through the patriotic and courageous efforts of our armed forces, combined with the right equipment and strategy, we have made remarkable progress in the fight against insurgency and we will not relent, until all parts of the country are safer for our people and for national service.

“I believe the next government will continue to support and encourage corps members by fulfilling its statutory obligations to the scheme and providing a peaceful atmosphere for optimal performance of corps members wherever they are.

ICRC official in Yola, Beat Armin Mosimann, said “The suffering endured during this conflict, especially by women and girls, is tragic. Communities have been torn apart.

We hope this group of people can now return to their families and loved ones. They will need continued support into the future.” Mosimann added that the ICRC would further coordinate its efforts with other humanitarian actors to respond to the needs of this group.

The ICRC and the Nigerian Red Cross are engaged in large-scale activities to help the population affected by the conflict in northeast Nigeria. Since December 2014, food has been distributed to more than 200,000 people, clean water has been provided and medical assistance given to the local population and surgical cares in northeastern Nigeria.

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