Deaths Averted: Suicide bomber caught inside mosque

The Nigerian Army says some courageous civilians on Sunday foiled a suicide bomb attack by a suspected female Boko Haram

The Nigerian Army says some courageous civilians on Sunday foiled a suicide bomb attack by a suspected female Boko Haram member on a mosque in Gashua, Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe.

Onyema Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed this in a statement released in Maiduguri.

“What would have otherwise been a devastating suicide bomb attack on a mosque in Gashua village in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State has been successfully foiled today by vigilant members of the community.

“A female Boko Haram suicide bomber had infiltrated the mosque, while members were about to commence a prayer session but was detected when struggling to detonate a suicide vest strapped to her body. She was quickly restrained by the locals, arrested and handed over to troops at Azare.

“Members of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Component of Operation Lafiya Dole at the location have safely defused the suicide vest, while the suicide bomber is currently receiving medical attention due to injuries sustained during her arrest.”

Suicide bombing is a popular strategy of the Boko Haram who often use teenagers, mostly females, for the act.
Many of the suicide bombers are forced, drugged or hypnotised, some who have been caught have narrated.

Places of worship such as mosques and churches, as well as markets and car parks are some of the popular areas targeted by the bombers.

About 100,000 people are believed to have been died due to the Boko Haram insurgency, according to the Borno State Government.

The insurgency, which once affected most of Northern Nigeria, has now been largely limited to Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states.

A female Boko Haram suicide bomber

Army Launches Operation Last Hold In Borno

The Nigerian Army has launched Operation Last Hold in Borno state to totally defeat Boko Haram in the lake Chad

The Nigerian Army has launched Operation Last Hold in Borno state to totally defeat Boko Haram in the lake Chad basin and other parts of northern Borno.

At a media briefing at the Command and Control Center in Maiduguri, the Commander Operation, Major General Abba Dikko said the operation would consolidate on gains recorded in the ongoing military operations in the state.

He explained that the operation, expected to last four months, entails deployment of additional manoeuvre brigades and critical assets to Borno State.

The operation will also facilitate the clearance of the Lake Chad waterways of sea weeds and other obstacles that will hinder the movement of boats and people across the water channels, he said.

And the destruction of Boko Haram Terrorist camps and strong points in the Lake Chad Basin general area and facilitate the rescue of hostages as well as  restoration of fishing, farming and other economic activities, he added.

Troops Arrest Herdsmen With AK47 In Taraba

Troops of 101 Special Forces Battalion in Taraba have arrested 4 herdsmen with AK 47 at Suntai Daji in Suntai

Troops of 101 Special Forces Battalion in Taraba have arrested 4 herdsmen with AK 47 at Suntai Daji in Suntai Bali Local government of the state.

Commanding officer of the Battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Mutiu Olaseni told newsmen that the arrest followed complaint by a woman (name with held), after the herdsmen released their cattle to graze on her land.

The troops were able to apprehended them with their over two hundred cattle and in the process of investigation, “we recovered one AK 47 rifle and 30 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition”, he said.

In an interview with newsmen, the suspects who were identified as Dahiru Dumba, Almajiri Nyako, Haruna Manga, and Adamu Hassan admitted to allowing their cattle graze on the woman’s farm.

Dahiru Munga said the AK47 belonged to their father.

Army kills 8 Bandits In Zamfara

Eight bandits have been killed by troops of the One Brigade of the Nigerian Army during a gun battle in

Eight bandits have been killed by troops of the One Brigade of the Nigerian Army during a gun battle in Maru Local Government area of Zamfara.

Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Major Clement Abiade said in a statement in Gusau on Thursday that many of the bandits escaped with bullet wounds and may now be seeking medical help.

He said the army was now carrying out clearance operations in the state nicknamed “Operation Idon Raini.”

The army spokesman said five rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition belonging to the fleeing bandits were recovered by the troops.

Burutai seeks collaboration between Army and Taraba native institutions

Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Tukur Burutai on Saturday called for on traditional institutions in

Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo

The Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen Tukur Burutai on Saturday called for on traditional institutions in Taraba state to collaborate with the Nigerian Army in addressing the lingering security crisis in the state.

Tukur made the call when he paid a courtesy visit to the Aku Uka of Wukari Kingdom, Dr Shekarau Angyu Masa Ibi, at his palace in Wukari.

The COAS, who is in Taraba on an operational visit to military formations in the state, assured that measures are in place for displaced farmers to return to their homes and farmlands as soon as possible.

Tukur said that although there remain challenges, they could be surmounted with collaborative efforts among all security stakeholders.

“We need the cordial relationship to be able to protect our people well. We know there have been some challenges, but they are surmountable,” the Army Chief said.

“We must work together to address the security concerns of the country. It is a common responsibility. The Nigerian Army will do everything to keep the peace and security in all parts of the nation.

“We would work hard to ensure that the people who are displaced are able to return to their homes soon. I have given order for necessary actions to ensure that all the criminal elements are arrested and dealt with promptly.”

In his response, the Aku Uka assured the COAS of total cooperation towards finding lasting solutions to the lingering crisis in the east central state.

The Aku Uka decried the spate of mass murders and mutilations as a violation of the sanctity of life, likening the perpetuators to cannibals.

“Let me assure you that we would give you all the necessary support in the bid to fight insecurity in the state and the nation,” the native ruler said.

“This meeting is aimed to chart a way forward for this country and we are happy to be part of it because we believe in the humanity of man and that it should be respected.

“It is unfortunate that human beings are killing one another even without provocation.”

The Aku Uka further said he was “baffled that the Nigerian Army, known all over the world for its excellent work, has become subject of heinous accusations the country,” while urging General Buratai to use his position to restore the dignity and integrity of the military.

The monarch commended the COAS for the panel of enquiry into accusations against the army, and expressed optimism that their work would be for the good of the nation.

Buratai later presented the Aku Uka with a gift symbolic of his visit to the palace.

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Army Arrests Herdsman With AK-47 Rifle In Benue

The Nigerian Army has arrested a herdsman caught with an AK-47 rifle and ammunition at Adagu village in Guma Local

The Nigerian Army has arrested a herdsman caught with an AK-47 rifle and ammunition at Adagu village in Guma Local Government Area (LGA) of Benue State.

Commanding Officer, 72 Special Forces Battalion, Makurdi, Colonel Suleiman Mohammed, paraded the suspect on Wednesday before the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, and a team of senior officers in the state capital.

He said the suspect, who is identified as Idi Gemu from Adudu village of Obi LGA of Nasarawa State, was apprehended as part of the military’s resolve to rid Benue of criminals.

Colonel Mohammed revealed that there was a connection between the sponsors of the suspect and that of the three other herdsmen paraded by the Army in the state last week.

In an interview with reporters, the suspect denied having any link with the other suspects arrested by the military.

He said he had left Adudu village to find his missing sheep in Torkula Adagu village before he ran into another herdsman whom he claimed owns the AK-47 rifle.

Army To Commence ‘Operation Last Hold’ In North East

Sequel to Nigerian Army’s resolve to ensure that the ongoing “Operation last hold” in the North East achieves the desired

Sequel to Nigerian Army’s resolve to ensure that the ongoing “Operation last hold” in the North East achieves the desired result, additional troops and heavy equipment have been earmarked to beef up those already deployed.

In a statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu said troops and equipment are already assembling for onward  movement to the operation area.

According to the Director, the operation is expected to last for 4 months, and entails deployment of additional 4 maneuver brigades.
He said “The end state of “operation last hold”  is the total defeat of Boko Haram Terrorists to facilitate the restoration of fishing, farming and other economic activities in the Lake Chad Basin general area”.

Brigadier General Chukwu explained that the operation which was a major military exercise has Major General Abba Dikko as its Commander and the senior officer is already on ground coordinating the movement of troops and equipment.

He advised the general public and particularly residents around troops’ staging areas and environs not to panic on sighting mass movement of troops and equipment as their safety is guaranteed.

Photo: Army Arrests Boko Haram Mastermind

The Nigerian Army has arrested a suspected Boko Haram member said to have been the mastermind of “most of the

The Nigerian Army has arrested a suspected Boko Haram member said to have been the mastermind of “most of the recent attacks in Benue State.”

He was identified as Aminu Yaminu, a.k.a Tashaku. Tashaku was arrested by combined troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, the Police and the Department of State Security Services in Makurdi,the state capital.

The army said the suspect “is believed to have masterminded most of the recent attacks in Benue State.”

Boko Haram: How Army allegation sent us into panic – Okonjo-Iweala

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC Former Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has recalled how

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Washington DC

Former Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has recalled how the military linking Boko Haram’s capture of territories in Nigeria’s North East to lack of operational funds sent her and her team into panic mode.

Throughout 2014 there were public complaints by the military hierarchy to President Goodluck Jonathan about the inadequacy of funds to fight the anti-terror war in the North East, resulting in Boko Haram making gains and even taking territories. A lot of the criticism was directed at the Federal Ministry of Finance under Okonjo-Iweala, which was accused of not doing enough to fund counterterror operations.

Okonjo-Iweala made the disclosure in Washington DC at a signing event for the launch of her book ‘Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines’, held at The Politics and Prose.

The former minister was responding to a question on the role of the judiciary in fighting corruption.

According to her, with a strong, independent, and well-resourced judiciary, Nigeria will be on its way to winning the fight against corruption.

Okonjo-Iweala said:

“We really need a strong judiciary, there is absolutely no doubt about it. With strong, independent, and well-resourced judiciary we are on our way. We have some independent institutions to safeguard the judiciary, but is it strong enough? The answer I’m sure the members of the judiciary themselves will tell you is ‘no’. So, that is one of the tasks that we have. And, like you said, there is some urgency in building institutions in our country if we are to successfully fight corruption.

“We need a whole new set of actions working together but, above all, we need people who are willing. If everybody runs away and stay in their nice, safe corner, what happens? That is what the people who are corrupt want you to do by the way. They want you to stay away, they want you to resign, they want you to run off and leave them to their devices, and that was what led to all the attacks. They believe that if they attack, intimidate, ruin the reputation, the person will run away. Every single day when we were in government we woke up to drama. And I want to really recognize not only the economic team but also the Ministry of Finance staff. I didn’t want to mention their names too much because I did not want to get anyone into difficulty. But there were people who were working in the Ministry and there were very tense moments.

“I remember a time when the Army said, and it is in the book, that the Ministry of Finance was withholding resources and therefore they were not able to fight Boko Haram, and it was in the papers. People in my ministry panicked and said you have to do something because that is a really serious charge. And I had to go out to the media and give all the figures of all we had disbursed. 

“So, other people not just me suffered a lot. So, we have to be willing. If you don’t have willing people who are ready to fight, then you can’t even have the strengthening of the institutions. If you strengthen the judiciary and you don’t have strong incorruptible judges, what is going to happen? If you don’t have people who will put their neck on the line to say we shan’t discuss this or we can’t do that, or we can’t allow the sources from the budget to be used for certain things, what will happen?

“So I’m just encouraging people, especially from developing countries, to have the will to fight, and those in the international community to have the will to put up instruments and back those people. Let them know that if they need to run out, they have somewhere to go. So, if you want to start up something that is a project for you, start a fund to support these people. Let’s find institutions, anyone that will house the fellowships that will support these people.”

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Governor Ortom speaks as Army arrests aide for ‘masterminding’ Benue killings

Governor Samuel Ortom will allow the law take its course after the Nigerian Army arrested one of his aides for

Governor Samuel Ortom will allow the law take its course after the Nigerian Army arrested one of his aides for allegedly masterminding recent killings in Benue State, his top adviser has told PREMIUM TIMES.

Aliyu Teshaku, head of Benue Livestock Guards, was arrested on Friday by the the Army’s 707 Special Forces Brigade in Makurdi on suspicion of his involvement in some of the deadly attacks recorded across the state since January 1.

The Army said Mr Teshaku was a Boko Haram suspect and his arrest had input from the police and the State Security Service (SSS).

Some of the allegations include his alleged involvement in the attack on a Catholic Church on Tuesday in which at least 15 worshipers were killed, including two Catholic priests.

But some Benue activists are seeing his arrest as a persecution for his fierce opposition to herdsmen activities in the state.

Leaders of Miyetti Allah have repeatedly called for Mr Teshaku’s arrest, accusing him of enforcing the anti-open grazing law and leading a militia allegedly raised by the governor.

While announcing the arrest, Olabisi Ayeni, spokesperson for the Nigerian Army in Makurdi, said security agents moved in in time to prevent attacks that were being hatched by Mr Teshaku and his cohorts in Bauchi, Borno and Yobe and Nasarawa States.

The Army described him as Aminu Yaminu (a.k.a.: Tashaku), but PREMIUM TIMES findings revealed that the suspect’s name is Aliyu Teshaku.

He was once detained at the Force Headquarters in June 2011 when he turned himself in after being declared wanted as a Boko Haram suspect. But he was later released by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), then headed by Babagana Monguno, now the National Security Adviser, in September 2011.

The police said they released Mr Teshaku to the DIA in the spirit of inter-agency cooperation after the agency requested for him.

Mr Teshaku, however, denied the allegations in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in March, saying the DIA released him because there was no evidence to establish his connection to Boko Haram.

The arrest is seen by some Benue officials as a setback for the Ortom administration’s efforts against the activities of herdsmen in the state.

Mr Teshaku became the head of Civilian Joint Task Force tasked with checking herdsmen attacks in Benue and Nasarawa States in 2013. But his group later changed its name to Benue Livestock Guards following the introduction of anti-open grazing law in Benue State last year.

The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Benue State has long accused Mr Teshaku of terrorising herdsmen and other Benue residents of Hausa or Fulani origin.

File photo of Gov. Ortom briefs President Buhari on security situation in Benue Pic.10. Gov. Samuel Ortom answering questions from State House correspondents after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on the security situation in Benue State, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday (9/1/18). 00148/9/1/2018/Sumaila Ibrahim/BJO/NAN

Following the January 1 killings of over 100 people in Logo and Guma Local Government Areas of Benue, Mr Teshaku was accused of being the head of a militia allegedly raised by Mr Ortom.

In January, Nigerian soldiers arrested nine suspected killer herdsmen on the Benue border with Taraba State. They accused Mr Teshaku of providing arms to the suspects.

But in an interview with the Nigerian Tribune shortly after the allegations, Mr Teshaku accused the military of trying to frame him. He also said the military was carrying out the agenda of Miyetti Allah which remained vehemently opposed to the anti-open grazing law.

He added that Benue Livestock Guards had about 2,500 members and eight of them were killed in the January 1 attack in Guma because they were not armed.

Mr Ortom also denied the allegations of raising any militia, saying the Nigerian security agencies should rise to their duty and end killings of his people. He inherited Mr Teshaku’s group from former Governor Gabriel Suswam and kept it in place because of continued attacks by suspected herdsmen.

‘No foul play’

Paul Hembah, security adviser to Mr Ortom, said no ulterior motive was suspected on the part of federal government, even though he acknowledged the longstanding opposition of Miyetti Allah to Mr Teshaku.

“The governor has said he will not support any criminality from anyone, no matter who the person may be,” Mr Hembah, a retired colonel, told PREMIUM TIMES by telephone Saturday morning. “The governor will not interfere in his arrest or his release.”

“The governor is working to end the killings so if anyone is caught, the law should take its cause,” he added.

“We don’t suspect any foul play. We don’t think the federal government or the army is doing this to persecute him. But he would be arraigned in court and I am sure the security agency will bring out any evidence they have against him,” he said.

He indicated that the Benue Livestock Guards would not be disbanded as a result of the arrest.

“Naturally, someone else would be appointed to replace him because the Benue Livestock Guards would not be disbanded,” he said.

On why the governor did not take action despite all allegations against Mr Teshaku, Mr Hembah said Mr Ortom found it was inappropriate to act based on allegations in the media rather than established wrongdoing.

In the view of David Ogbole, a Pentecostal preacher and head of the Movement against Fulani Occupation in Benue State, Mr Teshaku is being arrested for constituting a major threat to the Miyetti Allah agenda in the state.

Mr Ogbole told PREMIUM TIMES that Mr Teshaku’s group had done more to check killings and anti-open grazing in the state than the security agencies.

“When the ‘Exercise Ayem Akpatuma’ soldiers were first deployed here in February, the first action they took was to arrest eight members of the Livestock Guards,” Mr Ogbole said by telephone Saturday morning.

The pastor acknowledged that Mr Teshaku has a controversial history, but said he had since repented and his latest actions have been to the service of his people on Benue.

“It is okay for the government to extract his nuisance value and he has been protecting the people of Benue from killers,” he said. “This is what the Nigerian security agencies could not do.”

Mr Ogbole said herdsmen activities have gotten worse since military launched its exercise, saying soldiers and policemen have no directive to go after killers.

“Hundreds of villages have now been taken over by herdsmen whose cows are barrelling towards farmlands and eating yams and cassava,” Mr Ogbole said. “This is because the killers had cleared the villages by killing people and sending hundreds of thousands others into the IDP camps.”

“The Nigerian people should know that the military did not arrest the actual militia but only carrying out the agenda of Miyetti Allah who had long demanded the arrest of a man who has been working to protect Benue people from invaders,” the pastor added. “They should go after the killers in their hideouts, not someone who poses a threat to the actual killers.”

Mr Ogbole also condemned the military for obscuring Mr Teshaku to fool the public, saying the failure to identify him as the head of Benue Livestock Guards was calculated to deceive the public.

Mr Ayeni did not respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ requests for clarification about why Mr Teshaku was identified as Aminu Yaminu in a press statement even though official documents and long time news reports about him showed his real name is Aliyu Teshaku.