…FG Orders Deployment of Anti-Bomb Tracking Vehicles
…authorizes Snap Stop and Search Operation on Vehicles
By Kingsley Omonobi-Abuja (with agency reports)
The Federal Government of Nigeria is raving up its renewed war on terror with the activation of a 400-man team Joint Security Force, comprising the Police, Military, and Para-military organization as an immediate response to terror warning issued by the UK and US governments; and the move is already yielding results as some 645 suspects have been arrested in the last two weeks in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, and Nigeria’s North East geo-political zone.
The renewed onslaught is to detect and contain threats by terrorists elements of Boko Haram (the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, which, in English, means, “People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad”) and even ‘sympathizers of the Shiittes Islamic Group’, who were said to be planning to bomb Abuja and cause mayhem during the yuletide period.
In addition to arrests made last week, the team, Sunday Vanguard can exclusively report, has again arrested another set of 175 suspects in the Wuse, Garki, Jabi, Utako, Airport Road, and the axis comprising Gwagwalada and Giri of the FCT.
Last week, based on intelligence reports, Sunday Vanguard exclusively published that the Joint Security team arrested 250 suspects which included escapees from the North East believed to be members of the Boko Haram terrorists group who sneaked into Abuja (Mararaba-Nyanya-Kubwa axis).
The total number of arrests in Abuja in the last one week is 425.
Yet, in a related development, the Nigerian Army, on Friday, said its troops had captured 220 Boko Haram insurgents in various clearance operations in the northeast region.
This brings the total number of terror-related arrests to 645.
Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Operation Lafiya Dole, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Maiduguri.
Nwachukwu said that troops captured 167 insurgents after raiding their enclaves in Lake Chad Basin while 53 others were captured in northern parts of Borno State.
He disclosed that troops also extricated 67 women and 173 children, who were family members of the insurgents.
Sunday Vanguard was made to understand that following concerns expressed by some security agencies regarding, anti-Bomb Tracking Devices (Vehicles) which were removed from the roads, which was also published exclusively last week, the federal government has directed the release and deployment of the vehicles.
“So soon, all exit and exit points will witness the presence of the anti-bomb/explosives detection vehicles while some critical national assets would also be covered”.
On the “Snap Stop and Search” operation to be carried out by the mobile team, the source said the federal government has given the authorization for it to be implemented.
He noted that under the measure, the joint security team can carry out unusual stop and search operations at any location, something like an action with element of surprise to pre-empt groups who might have carried out their own surveillance plans and concluded that stop and search is only restricted to certain areas.
While urging citizens of the FCT to confidently report unusual observations and movements to security agencies, the source said, “they can do so without disclosing their names. Together, we can make Abuja safe. Security agencies are not resting on their oars. That is why we have brought in the element of surprise”.
North East arrests
“Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have intensified offensive on Boko Haram enclaves in the Island around Lake Chad.
“The offensive which commenced about two weeks ago with coordinated air and artillery bombardments on Boko Haram enclaves is yielding positive results, as several insurgents have been killed while 167 fleeing insurgents have been captured by troops.
“Troops also extricated and profiled 67 women and 173 children who revealed during profiling exercise that they are family members of the insurgents who fled the troops’ offensive,” he said.
Nwachukwu explained that arrangements were ongoing to handover the women and children to authorities of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps, after completing preliminary investigations.
According to him, troops in the past two months conducted long range fighting patrols and ambushes.
He disclosed that the troops cleared the insurgents’ hideouts at Saada and Juwei villages in the fringes of northern Borno.
“During the operations troops intercepted and arrested 53 fleeing insurgents who have been profiled and are currently helping with investigations.
“Fifteen insurgents have also willingly renounced the sect and surrendered, dismissing it as futile struggle”.
Nwachukwu further sympathised with families of troops and civilians, who died in the encounters and the callous suicide bombing attacks by the terrorists.