Security agents made another major breakthrough yesterday with the killing of a top suspected member of the insurgent group Boko Haram and the arrest of 156 others in Mubi, Adamawa State.
Mubi, which is about an hour's drive from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, and one-and-a-half hour's drive from Damaturu in Yobe State, both focal points of Boko Haram activities, is a major base of the Boko Haram in Adamawa State.
Operatives of the special security squad, "Operation Restore Sanity", made the arrest during a raid on the insurgents' hideout in Mubi which led to a gun battle with the terrorists in which one of the Boko Haram key commanders, believed to be Abubakar Yola, alias Abu Jihad, was killed.
Four of the 156 persons arrested are also believed to be top unit commanders of the sect involved in the recent bombings of telecommunications facilities in the North-east about three weeks ago.
The security operatives also rescued five women and six children from a house suspected to have been used by Boko Haram as its main ammunition dump.
Conducting reporters round the enclave, the Brigade Commander, 23rd Armoured Brigade, Brig.-Gen. John Nwoaga, accompanied by the state Police Commissioner, Mr. P. C. Okeke, and the Director of the State Security Services (SSS), Mr. Olugbenga Jayeoba, said the kingpin was shot by soldiers, while resisting arrest.
He said that over 300 improvised explosive devices already primed for detonation, 25 assorted brands of rifles, mostly brand new AK 47, submachine guns and over 2,000 daggers, swords, bows and poisoned arrows, were recovered from the hideout.
Also recovered was a huge quantity of bomb making devices, which was stored in a large compound situated at Shagari Low Cost Housing, Mubi.
Nwoaga said security agents were compelled to impose a 24-hour security cordon on Mubi for the last two days before they could track down the sect members.
He appealed to traditional rulers and community leaders to advise their people to keep the peace and report suspicious persons to the security agencies, stressing that bomb explosions do not discriminate along tribal or religious line.
Monday's killing of Abu Jihad is coming one week after the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) claimed to have killed a key member of the sect and arrested two others in Kano.
JTF spokesman, Lieutenant Ikedichi Iweha, said the operation was carried out by the security personnel in Hotoro in the Kano metropolis.
Iweha, who did not confirm the identity of those killed or arrested, said the military task force had carried out an operation in the early hours of Monday, last week, during which it killed one terrorist and arrested two others.
However, it was gathered that the sect member who was killed and the two others arrested were among the most wanted members of Boko Haram by the security agencies.
There were speculations that the sect's spokesman, Abu Qaqa, a nom de guerre used by the spokesmen of the sect, was alleged to have been killed, while other sources revealed that among those arrested included a woman, who was alleged to have been close to members of the sect.
Since it intensified its attacks on security agents, particularly in Borno, Bauchi and Yobe States following the killing of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf in 2009, Boko Haram has killed more than 1,400 people since 2010 just as the attacks have spread to Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).