2 January 2013

Nigeria: Most Boko Haram Fighters Arrested - Jonathan

Photo: Leadership
JTF soldiers in Jos

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said security forces have arrested those behind the major bomb attacks on targets in and around Abuja.

Jonathan also said most fighters of the Boko Haram sect are in custody, indicating that the government was winning the war against insurgency.

The President spoke in Abuja at the 'Naming and Circumcision of Jesus Christ' and New Year Service held at the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) Diocese of Abuja, All Saints' Church.

"Most of the terror suspects have been arrested. Most people will not know what the security agencies have been doing," he said.

"The people who bombed Police headquarters, UN House and St Theresa's Catholic Church in Madalla (Niger State) have been arrested. We will continue to improve security architecture. The new year will be better for the country," he added.

The President said government was making efforts at checking other criminal activities.

"We have moved to another phase of terror, kidnapping and armed robbery but these are momentary challenges," he said.

Jonathan called for more prayers from the church, saying prayers helped his administration in stabilising the country.

"Church prayers have been helping us to stabilise the country at the time of challenge. There was time the country was drifting and everyone thought the country will not endure but the prayers rescued us," he said.

"We shall overcome terrorism, kidnapping and armed robbery with more prayers from the Church."

The President also blamed the country's problems on attitude of the people, saying "it is ambition to get rich overnight that leads to robbery, kidnapping and all sorts of crimes."

In his sermon, the Primate of All Nigeria Anglican Communion, the Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, urged Nigerians to "circumsize their hearts" towards evolving a better nation.

"To be regarded as uncircumcised means you are a godless person. Jesus demonstrated his circumcision by being obedient. We ought to be obedient to God's laws," he said.

"Circumcision as it affects us today means cutting of sin, corruption, bitterness and so on and so forth. As we enter the new year we should cut off certain things."

Troops, insurgents in deadly shootout

Few hours after Jonathan spoke in Abuja, one soldier and at least 13 suspected insurgents were killed in a shootout in Maiduguri, Borno State, yesterday.

Military authorities said Boko Haram fighters killed a soldier and injured two others, while Joint Task Force operatives killed 13 insurgents during a gun duel at Bulabulin and Bayan Quarters areas.

Residents said they heard sounds of gunfire between 4pm and 6pm in the two locations.

They said as the shooting went on, they saw armoured personnel carriers and pickup vehicles loaded with soldiers moving towards the troubled areas.

JTF spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, said there was a shoot out between security operatives and insurgents.

"At about 1600 hours today (yesterday), our troops had an encounter with Boko Haram terrorists at Bulabulin and Bayan Quarters of Maiduguri. During the encounter, the JTF lost one soldier and 2 were wounded. Thirteen Boko Haram terrorists lost their lives," he said.

Musa said civilians were protected during the encounter. He added that 3 AK-47 rifles, 1 rocket-propelled grenade and large quantity of ammunition and improvised explosive devices materials were recovered.

"The operation is ongoing to apprehend the fleeing members of the gang and recover more weapons," he said.

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