BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI, Ben Agande & Uduma Kalu, with agency report
ABUJA—The Second-in-Command to Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, Momodu Bama, has been killed during an encounter with troops around the Bama corridor as a video of how Boko Haram slaughtered its victims was shown to a group of senators during a security briefing by JTF in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
This came even as the Federal Government announced, yesterday, that the state of emergency declared in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states three months ago has been a huge success.
The Federal Executive Council, FEC, also yesterday, ratified bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Niger Republic and another Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, between Nigeria and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade, who disclosed the killing of Momodu Bama, said the deceased Boko Haram leader was personally leading the attacks against troops and innocent citizens in Yobe and Adamawa. communities.
Momodu Bama was among the most wanted terrorists with a N25 million bounty placed on his head, while the International Criminal Court listed him as one of those to face trial before it for crimes against humanity.
The defence spokesman said that others, who died in the operation, include Bama’s father, Alhaji Abatcha Flatari, who is also one of the spiritual leaders of the outlawed terrorists group.
17 dead, 24 arrested
Also, during the encounter, 17 other terrorists lost their lives in the shootout, while 24 were arrested with dangerous weapons and several AK-47 rifles recovered in the process.
Olukolade added that Special Forces were continuing the pursuit of the terrorists, while intensifying aggressive aerial and land patrols to ensure better security cover for the communities, especially in the two states.
Security sources said that the late Bama, also called Abu Saad, masterminded the kidnap of northern leader, 92-year-old Shettima Ali Monguno in May, and seven French citizens, among other crimes.
The deceased is said to have hailed from Bama in Borno State, the same town where he was killed.
Security sources disclosed, yesterday, that apart from leading military operations, the deceased terrorist was also the head of the Administration and Finance Department of the outlawed Boko Haram.
A source said: “Abu Saad also led the kidnap of two Muslim Indians and several other attacks on security forces in Bama, Baga, Monguno and Mubi,” adding that the insurgent took over the position of Deputy Leader after another leader of the sect, called Palasasi, was killed by security operatives.
The Boko Haram is yet to confirm the killing of Abu Saad, although independent sources, who could not confirm his death, say he was truly at the top echelon of the sect.
Boko Haram’s videos
The sect’s leader, Shekau, who recently released a video (after August 4), admitted that the sect carried out the Bama attack, but kept mum on Abu Saad’s death. He, however, claimed the sect killed several soldiers and was winning the war against Nigerian troops.
Meanwhile, a video on how Boko Haram slaughters its victims was shown to a group of senators during a security briefing by JTF in Maiduguri, Borno State capital.
In the video, captured traders were pinned to the ground with their hands tied behind their back, while a sect member bent over to run a sharp knife through one of their victims’ neck. A stream of blood from the victim, and shouts of Allahu Akbar (God is Great) by the slaughterers followed.
Some of the traders, who were forced to watch the gruesome slaughter of their colleague, simply dug their faces into the ground in submission. One after the other, the same hideous fate befell each. Not done, the sect members hung each of the severed heads on its torso.
Also, the senators saw the killing of three uniformed policemen, with their green berets intact. Before the cops were slaughtered, they were made to stand in front of a banner with Arabic inscriptions, while a hooded terrorist, with an AK-47 rifle, read portions of Quran before pronouncing death sentences on them.
Before their execution, two of the policemen slumped.
Although the delegation was forewarned by Borno State Deputy Governor, Zannah Umar Mustapha, who attended the briefing, about the savagery they were about to see, some of the senators reportedly could not watch the full length of the video.
They buried their faces in their palms, while others asked the intelligence officer to fast-forward the videos. A retired general, who fought in the Nigerian Civil War, and a member of the delegation, was said to have told his colleagues that not even in the war did he witness such cruelty.
FG on emergency rule
Meanwhile, the Federal Government declared, yesterday, that the state of emergency declared in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states three months ago has been a huge success as the threat to the territorial integrity of the country, prior to the emergency rule, had been checked.
Minister of State for Defence, Olusola Obada, told newsmen that the armed forces and other security services had performed well as several of the insurgents had been arrested and huge cache of weapons seized.
According to her, the operations in the affected states have engendered greater military/civilian confidence as noticed in the collaboration by civilians in the affected areas with security operatives.
She said: “Today marks three months when President Goodluck Jonathan declared the state of emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states. A lot has been achieved in these three months.
“The threat to Nigeria’s unity has been contained. As you know the unity of this country is paramount and Mr. President as the leader of this country has ensured that the unity of this country is preserved and protected.
“The territorial integrity of our country has been restored and the usurpation of the authority of the Nigerian state has been stopped.
“If you will recall, you heard that the insurgents were already hoisting their flags, especially in Borno State.
“We are at peace with our neighbours but the problem is internal.”
She charged them to always observe the rules of engagement and also the respect for human rights of civilians in their areas of operation
She said a number of insurgents have been arrested and will be prosecuted in due course.
Obada said: “We have recovered a lot of arms and ammunition, which shouldn’t be in their hands. The most important thing really is the mobilisation of the civil populace for input to intelligence gathering.
“I believe you will realise that a lot of the civilians now are also providing assistance to the military and security agencies in identifying those who are behind these insurgency in their areas and doing their best.”
She said the emergency rule had generated a lot of international understanding for the cause and appreciation of the peculiarity of Nigeria’s security situations.
… as FG signs security pact with UK, Niger
Meanwhile, the Federal Executive Council, FEC, also yesterday, ratified bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Niger Republic and another Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, between Nigeria and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, told newsmen after yesterday’s council meeting that the Defence Cooperation Bilateral Agreement between Nigeria and Niger Republic was aimed at providing mutual military support, security of their common borders, intervention assistance, military assistance, exchange of intelligence on internal and external security, and joint military exercise and operations.
He said: “The MoU on Bilateral Military Cooperation between Nigeria and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is aimed at establishing a bilateral Military Cooperation within the framewok of our competent authorities as defined in the national legislation.
“It is also aimed at building an enduring defence relationship that contributes to the security of each participant and enhances peace and security across the West African sub-region based on equality and mutual respect.”
According to the minister, the MoU between Nigeria and UK will enhance mutual relations between the Armed Forces of the two countries and contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security.