The Nigerian Army says it has rescued some civilians from Boko Haram captivity and recovered weapons from the insurgents during an attack in Gubio, Borno State, this week.
In a statement on Wednesday in Abuja, Aminu Iliyasu, Army Operations Media Coordinator, said the Sector 3 was supported by the Air Task Force of the Operation Lafiya Dole to successfully repel the attack which occurred between Sunday and Tuesday.
According to him, two insurgents were neutralised, while one gun truck, two AK-47 rifles and one anti-aircraft gun were recovered.
“Additionally, 51 civilians hitherto held hostage by the criminals were rescued during the encounter,” said Mr Iliyasu, a colonel.
“The troops continue to dominate the area with fighting/clearing patrols, ambush, raids as well as cordon and search operations.
Mr Iliyasu also said the army arrested a pickup truck conveying three women, 15 men, and three rustled cows during a clearance operation at Mada in Konduga Local Government Area of Borno.
He said the claim by the suspects that they were of the Shuwa extraction was refuted by the locals in the area, adding that none of the suspects could speak any of the local languages.
Mr Iliyasu said a preliminary investigation revealed that one of the suspects and a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) operating in the state had been communicating at various times.
He added that the investigation further revealed that the suspect was on WhatsApp chat platform with the NGO.
The army’s claim comes as the Nigerian military launched a crackdown on some non-governmental organisations in the North-East, accusing them of aiding the insurgents.
Two weeks ago, the army announced a blacklist of Action Against Hunger, an international NGO, saying it had ‘credible intelligence’ that the NGO supplies food and medication to Boko Haram terrorists.
In May, the army had pointed accusing fingers on some NGOs in the region, accusing them of breaching security and sabotaging counter-terrorism operations.
In its statement on Wednesday, the army also said it arrested four men in Borno with large consignments of dried fish intended for delivery to the insurgents.
“All four suspects are currently undergoing interrogation where they are giving useful information,’’ Mr Iliyasu said.
Mr Iliyasu said the army has stepped up operations nationwide to ensure a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for all citizens and residents in the country.
He said troops in the various operational theatres across the country had continued to decimate and frustrate activities of criminal elements in line with the resolve of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
Mr Iliyasu said that in Yobe, troops discovered two Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along a route in Buni Gari in Gujba Local Government Area and safely donated them.
He said that a joint operation with the police had yielded positive results in Cross River and Lagos states in recent times.
He quoted the chief of army staff as reassuring the public of the unwavering resolve of the army to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country with the support of civil authority.
“The Nigeria army hereby requests our good and law-abiding citizens to go about their normal economic activities without fear of molestation.
“The populace is equally requested to please assist the army with any useful information that will assist in our operational efforts aimed at ridding the society of criminal elements and other miscreants,” he said.