Defence Headquarters has dismissed the claim by Boko Haram that the recent massacre of rice farmers in Borno State was retaliation for the arrest of one of its members.
Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, said this while giving an update on the operations of the armed forces between November 26 and December 2 on Thursday in Abuja.
The group had on Tuesday released a video claiming that it carried out the massacre in retaliation for the arrest of one of them by the farmers.
They also claimed that the farmers had also given information on their movement in the area to the military.
Enenche said the claim was the practice of the sect with the sole motive of instigating fear in the minds of the people to discourage them from cooperating with the security agencies.
He said that the information received by the military from one of the survivors revealed that the farmers were called for a meeting with the group on the said day before they were slaughtered.
“The truth is that whenever they are losing ground as a result of the military activities, this is what they resort to.
It is a fallacy that because we killed one of them and that the farmers gave information about them; but the likelihood is wickedness.
“They want to use that to instill fear in the minds of the people because they have seen the governor trying to make sure that people return to their homes,” he said. Enenche said the claim was the usual propaganda of the group and that it is one of their major weapons.
“Our message here to the general public is that they should not be discouraged and that we are moving forward and with your cooperation we are going to end this menace,” he said.
Enenche said the military had sustained its onslaught against them through both ground and air offensives across the theatre of operation.
He said the troops had raided some of the identified hideouts of the terrorists killing scores during the week and recovered cache of arms and ammunition.
Meanwhile, the Defence Headquarters says the military has killed no fewer than 43 bandits and arrested 10 with their collaborators within one week in the North West and Central part of the country.
Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, disclosed this while giving an update on the operations of the armed forces between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2 on Thursday in Abuja.
Enenche said that the air component of Operation Hadarin Daji eliminated no fewer than 37 bandits at Dunya and Birnin Kogo forests in Katsina State and destroyed their camps in air raids within the period.
He also disclosed that the troops arrested eight bandits and their collaborators in different locations within Zamfara and Katsina States and also rescued three kidnapped victims during the week.
In the North Central, Enenche said the troops of Operations Safe Haven, Whirl Stroke and other subsidiary operations conducted raids at identified criminals’ hideouts, killing six bandits in various encounters within the week.
He said that troops, in conjunction with local vigilante members, engaged bandits at Dutse Magaji in Mariga Local Government Area of Niger, killing three, recovered one AK47 rifle and 38 rustled cattle.
He further disclosed that troops also killed three bandits, recovered four AK47 rifles, one locally made rifle, three AK47 magazines, 67 rounds of 7.62mm Special Ammunition and some cash as well as rescued 38 rustled cows.
According to him, troops arrested three suspected kidnappers in Kanam Local Government Area of Plateau and recovered one AK-47 rifle, one Barreta pistol, three rounds of 7.62mm Special Ammunition, one pair of military camouflage uniform and nine SIM cards.
“The suspects and items have been handed over to the appropriate security agency for further action.
“As part of non-kinetic activities of the DHQ, the Commander Operation Safe Haven presented TVs, DSTVs, tables and chairs to Government Secondary School Gidan Waya in Jama’a Local Government Area, Kaduna on Nov. 27.
“He also commissioned a renovated Clinic at Sabon Kaura village in Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Kaduna State as part of CIMIC activities.
“In a related development, Stakeholders’ peace meeting was held at Headquarters Sector 3 in Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau on Nov. 28 as part of measures to curtail incessant kidnapping, illegal mining, and farm encroachment among other security challenges.
“Community members were urged to avail timely and credible information on activities of criminal elements to Operation Safe Haven.
In attendance were various leaders and other stakeholders of Irigwe, Rukuba, Berom, Afisere, Fulanis and Jarawa,” he said.