The Multinational Joint Task Force says its troops of Sectors 3 and 4 have apprehended more than 900 suspected family members and collaborators of Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province insurgents.
This is contained in a statement on Wednesday by the MNJTF Chief Military Public Information Officer in N’Djamena Chad, Lt.-Col. Kamarudeen Adegoke.
Adegoke said the infighting by the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups, as well as the effects of the MNJTF and other national operations bombardment, especially the effects of the air strikes, had triggered their movement.
He disclosed that there had been continuous movements of large bodies of people from the Sambisa forests to the Lake Chad basin within the last month.
“In a joint coordinated operation between Sectors 3 and 4 of the MNJTF in the Kamadougu Yobe River general area, along the Nigeria/Niger common border areas, more than 900 people, made up of women, children and elderly people suspected to be families and collaborators of the insurgents, have been arrested.
“Collaboration with national authorities and subsequent profiling and handing over is ongoing.
“Also, troops of Sector 4 conducted a night patrol along Ngagam–Djalori Axis where they rescued three women alongside their four children who were fleeing from the fighting between the Boko Haram and ISWAP from Sambisa forest.
“In a related encouraging development, on March 8, troops of Sector 3 Nigeria deployed at Damasak intercepted 70 terrorists’ family members comprising 43 women and 30 children.
“They are currently receiving medical attention and profiling”, he said.
Adegoke explained that the emerging situation by the MNJTF troops of Sector 3 Nigeria started on March 5.
He said this followed the arrest of two suspected Boko Haram terrorist logistics suppliers and their collaborators, Muhammed Sabo and Sarki Danladi while trying to exit Munguno town to the Tumbuns to link up with the terrorists.
Adegoke said the items recovered from the suspects included two blankets, two fishermen’s identity cards, three wristwatches, two access passes which were issued by the terrorists, 20 empty sack bags, and some personal clothing.
He added that troops on stop and search operation along the Main Supply Route Monguno – Kekeno – Cross Kauwa- Baga on March 4, arrested two suspects conveying some quantities of wrappers and other logistics to the terrorists.
“In the same vein, on March 5, we arrested one Abubakar Usman with a First Bank ATM card and an invoice containing the lists of items to procure and possibly deliver to the terrorists.
“During the preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed that he has been involved in the supply of several logistics to the terrorists”, he added.
The MNJTF spokesman said troops had apprehended some key terrorists’ logistics suppliers in different locations in recent times.
He said that several items such as fishing hooks, fishing threads, cornflowers, mosquito nets, cooking pots, clothing as well as cash were recovered from the suspects.
In his message to the troops, the Force Commander, MNJTF, Maj.-Gen. AbdulKhalifa Ibrahim commended the efforts of the troops and the commanders for the effective coordination of the operations.
Ibrahim urged them not to relent in their determination at degrading the BHT/ISWAP logistics couriers which would have an overall positive impact on the counter-insurgency operations.
He noted that the end of insurgency was in sight, and urged the troops to collectively deal a deadly blow to the insurgents.
Ibrahim reassured them of the continuous support of the Headquarters of the MNJTF and called on the people of the Lake Chad Basin to be observant and report any suspicious activity to the security forces.