By Hamza Suleiman
The Nigeria Army has confirmed the arrest of 1,240 suspected Boko Haram terrorists and will hold the 2017 Small Arms (NASA) championship in Sambisa to enhance its presence in the forest.
Maj. -Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, disclosed this while giving update to newsmen on Operation Rescue Final at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.
Irabor said that 413 of the suspects were adults; 323 were female adults; 251 male children, while 253 were female children.
He said that the suspects were apprehended during a mop-up operation against the sect members in the forest.
“We are interrogating them to know whether they are Boko Haram members, because there is no way somebody that is not their member would live inside Sambisa forest.
“We are still on the trail of the terrorists and I want to assure you that all escape routes have been blocked.
“Within this period, also, about 30 fleeing suspected Boko Haram members have surrendered to the Niger Multinational Troops on the shores of the lake Chad and we learnt that they were taken to Difa in the Niger Republic.
“The suspects include; 24 male and six females.
“We would like to use this opportunity to encourage the terrorists to give up the fight because the window is still open,” the commander said.
The Army said it would hold the 2017 Nigerian Army Small Arms (NASA) championship in Sambisa to enhance its presence in the forest.
Irabor said other exercises such as military training and test of arms and equipment would also be conducted in the forest in order “to completely dominate the area’’.
“We would continue with our road construction in the area. As you can see, our troops are already providing motorable roads in the forest.
“The military are going to do a lot of things as part of its post-insurgency contribution to bring total normalcy and security to the North-East.
“Our troops have helped in mobilising the local people to facilitate the return of IDPs to Kala balge. But then, there is no access road to the town.
“For them to return, the road must be constructed. And that is why we are calling on well-meaning Nigerians to also contribute their quota and support the government.
“Other stakeholders are also expected to repair the roads,”Irabor said