Vanguard (Lagos)

10 July 2014

Nigeria: Insurgency - Army Finds Links to Politicians in Balmo Forest

Photo: Premium Times
Boko Haram (file photo).

ABUJA--Some prominent politicians are presently being interrogated following the discovery of their identity cards and other incriminating items when troops destroyed terrorists' camp in Balmo Forest, Bauchi State last week.

The Coordinator of the National Information Centre, NIC, Mr. Mike Omeri, told newsmen in Abuja, yesterday: "Following the last successful operation carried out by security forces to dislodge terrorists from their forest bases in Darazo Local Government Area end of Balmo Forest, some politicians are currently being interrogated following the recovery of some sensitive registration cards and other materials of a prominent political party that were found in the possession of some of the suspects arrested.

"Those who are being interrogated are prominent politicians belonging to a frontline political party. Troops even recovered the identity cards of some of the politicians."

He, however, declined to mention any particular party.

Faults pro-Chibok girls groups

Omeri, who has been coordinating information regarding the efforts towards finding the Chibok schoolgirls, decried the activities of some organisations and individuals championing the cause of the abducted girls as, according to him, they were aiding insurgency in the country.

He said: "Some of these groups are augmenting and supplementing terrorists by their activities because they create diversion for security operatives from promptly responding to insurgent activities."

Responding to a question, Army spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade insisted that the military and other security agencies were getting results in their fight against terror.

He noted that the regular arrests of terrorists and their backers were indicative of such results which should be encouraging to all Nigerians.

He said: "Nigerians should be assured that there is hope of finding and bringing back the girls; there is hope that the terrorists will be defeated and good progress is being made.

"We told you earlier that over 250 sorties have been flown while President Goodluck Jonathan once announced that over 20,000 troops have been deployed."

'BringBackOurgirls deceives public'

Spokesperson for the Department of State Services, DSS, Mrs. Marilyn Ogar, accused the BringBackOurGirls campaigners of turning the issue into a franchise.

She said: "BringBackOurGirls movement has become a franchise and security forces know what they are up to. If it is an ordinary movement seeking to pile pressure on government or security agencies to free these girls, there will be no need for the group to begin to have tags and insist that you must be registered.

"Security forces also know that they have bank accounts. We also know that they want to simulate a protest march inside Asokoro Extension in Abuja and claim that they were doing so inside Sambisa Forest, to be reported in some foreign media.

Getting security training

"We also know that they brought in some experts from outside the country to teach them how to beat security when they are demonstrating; to withstand police teargas and security operations. We are waiting to see when these things would work.

"We also know that they are dividing themselves into groups and zones giving each other specific assignments.

"They were also paying courtesy calls to money bags to solicit support. It is getting very ridiculous, but we are still watching.

"There is no need to hire people to come and claim that they have children among the girls that were abducted. It has become a franchise or why would those involved in the movement decide to carry out smear campaign against certain government officials?

"If we have to fight for our rights, let us genuinely fight for our rights by being more transparent."

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