The Moment (London)

13 August 2012

Nigeria: JTF Kills 20 Terrorists in Shootout

THE Joint Task Force (JTF) yesterday killed 20 terrorists who in turn killed a soldier in a bloody shootout with the members of the Boko Haram sect in Maiduguri.

A security officer, who wished to remain anonymous said the terrorists, suspected to be members of Islamist sect, Boko Haram, were caught unaware by the JTF who raided their hideout in the Borno State capital.

Confirming the story, field operations officer of the JTF in Borno, Colonel Victor Ebhaleme, said security forces worked on the intelligence information that some members of the group were holding a gathering at a location in Maiduguri to raid them.

'When we approached the venue of their meeting, the terrorists opened fire on the JTF, which led to the killing of 20 terrorists while we lost one soldier and two others sustained injury,' he said.

Meanwhile, Boko Haram was yet to comment on the issue.

Some gunmen also attacked the All Saints Catholic Church, Kanoyel in Gombe State, killing a policeman who was on duty yesterday.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the gunmen arrived at the church premises when the parishioners were coming out of the service and fired at the policemen.

A source said the gunmen also tried to gain entry into the church but the parishioners shut the gate.

Rev. Fr. Williams Ochai, the parish priest of the church, told NAN that the gunmen opened fire on the policemen deployed to guard the church during the mass.

According to him, as soon as the parishioners heard the gunshots, they shut the gate to the church. He, however, said one of the policemen died instantly while the other sustained serious injuries.

Reacting to the incident, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Gombe State, Rev. Abare Kalla, described it as unfortunate.

The clergyman said CAN had information that there would be an attack but did not know where it would occur, adding that security agents were informed.

The CAN chairman said the aim of the attackers was to gain entry into the church but that they could not succeed because of the fence.

He confirmed that a policeman deployed to the area was killed in the incident while another sustained injuries.

Kalla commiserated with the family of the policeman and prayed for the recovery of the injured.

When contacted, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, said on phone that he was in Abuja.

He directed NAN to the Command's Public Relations Officer, Mr Fwaje Atajiri, a Deputy Superintendent of Police.

'I have been promoted to the position of an Assistant Inspector-General of Police and I am now in Abuja for that purpose. So, get in touch with my PPRO,' he said.

Fwaje, however, said on phone that it was only the Commissioner that could comment on the issue.

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