"Two of the terrorists were earlier arrested at a local market two days ago while trying to procure foodstuff while others were spying on the military base in the area."
The Nigerian military said on Friday that 'over 40 terrorists' were killed in a battle between them and soldiers in Bulanbuli, near the dreaded Sambisa Forest. The military also said 4 soldiers were killed in the battle with the terrorists, believed to be members of the Boko Haram.
The Defence Headquarters spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, in a statement said the battle was caused by the arrest of suspected leaders of the sect.
"The capture of a number of terrorists believed to be the ringleaders of those operating around Alagarmo, has sparked off a major fight in the outskirts of Bulanbuli, Borno State last night," Mr. Olukolade, a Major General, said. "Over 40 terrorists died in the encounter while 4 soldiers lost their lives and 9 were wounded."
The spokesperson said "more than 16 rifles and a substantial number of assorted calibres of ammunitions, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) materials, SIM Cards and electronic items have so far been recovered."
Mr. Olukolade said, "Two of the terrorists were earlier arrested at a local market two days ago while trying to procure foodstuff while others were spying on the military base in the area. Others still being trailed include a terrorist medic who was on a mission to procure drugs for use by his colleagues."
He explained that Bulanbuli is between Alagarmo and Sambisa Forest "where the terrorists have been attempting to establish a stronghold in their campaign."
PREMIUM TIMES could not independently verify the military's claims.
Sambisa Forest is a major base of operation of the Boko Haram. The over 200 female students kidnapped by the sect members were taken to the forest upon their kidnap last week Monday.
Parents and relatives of the students who trailed the kidnappers into the forest said they had to return after travelling several kilometres inside when they were told by people they met in the forest that they could be killed by the sect members. They said the people they met in hamlets inside the forest confirmed that they saw the kidnapped girls being taken deeper into the forest by the terrorists.
There has been widespread outrage since the kidnap of the girls, final year students of the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. The federal government has pledged to do all it can to rescue the girls.