Maiduguri — Few days after declaring ceasefire, 17 suspected members of the Jama'atu Ahlis Sunnah Lidda'awati Wal Jihad, also known as Boko Haram, had been killed when the Joint Task Force (JTF) raided two training camps of the insurgents in swampy locations in two local government areas of Borno State between Wednesday and Thursday.
One soldier was also killed during what the JTF officials called 'special operations' that were reportedly supported by a Nigerian Air Force Helicopter Gunship and armoured personnel carriers (APCs).
The JTF described the siege as a landmark onslaught which led to the discovery of cache of arms including 40 assorted primed Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) canisters, six AK 47 rifles, two G3 rifles, three pistols, a Rocket Propelled Grenade Bomb (RPG), an RPG Tube, 20 RPG Chargers, two double barrel rifles and 2,543 assorted ammunition.
Other discoveries include, 33 assorted empty magazines, three laptops computers, 10 assorted Motorola walkie talkies, 20 telephone handsets, three bags of rice, two bags of beans, two jerry cans of palm oil, a bag of salt, a generator set and light green uniforms (sown and unsown).
The offensives were carried out two days after one Sheik Muhammad Abdulazeez Ibn Idris announced a cease fire on behalf of the sect, and three days before the visit of Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo to Borno State today (Saturday).
A statement by JTF spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa said the operations were carried out when troops were 'supported by the Nigerian Air Force to dislodge Boko Haram terrorists' camps' located in Sambisa Game Reserve in Bama Local Government Area and Farin-Ruwa Forest South West/East of Damboa local Government Areaof Borno State.
According to him, "the camps were properly sighted and fortified and had training facilities; armoury, accommodation, drugs store/medical, kitchen, vehicle holding area, latrine and water points (River).
"The camps were used to conduct training and carry out recent attacks, killings and bombings in Maiduguri, Musari, Konduga, Biu, Bama, and Damboa communities.
"Efforts by the JTF troops to destroy the camps led to fierce exchange of fire that resulted in the death of 17 Boko Haram terrorists and one JTF personnel was killed," he said.
Our correspondents reports that the JTF has welcomed the cease fire announcement by Ibn Idris, but said it will continue to maintain law and order, and protect lives and property of the citizens.
Meanwhile, residents of Maiduguri including traders and drivers had lauded the JTF for re-opening some roads it has closed for over six months.
The Borno Elders Forum (BEF), led by Dr. Shettima Ali Monguno, which applauded the Boko Haram cease fire has on Thursday called on the JTF to relax some of the stringent measures taken in Maiduguri and environs that made life difficult for the people.
Our correspondents who went round Maiduguri yesterday reports that part of the Ahmadu Bello Way which leads to the Monday market has been re-opened.
A trader said he can now take his car close to his shop after more than six months of blockage of the road.
Drivers said a disturbing roadblock along the Gwange road has been dismantled. "We can now freely move with our cars and our passengers are happy because they get home early," Modu Bana, a taxi driver said.