Troops Close To Rescuing Chibok Girls, Others – DHQ

The Defence Headquarters has said troops of the Nigerian Army are close to rescuing the Chibok girls and other captives from the Sambisa forest.

This was revealed by the Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar on Sunday.

Abubakar explained that the operation in the Boko Haram enclave will only end, after the girls and others had been rescued.

He said: “We should allow for calm in this operation, which is still ongoing. We have yet to come to point zero. We have taken over the heart and the centre of Sambisa.

“The operation will culminate with Operation Rescue Finale which will end only when all the captives, including the Chibok girls have been rescued, and this would be soon.

“There are things we want to keep to ourselves for now. Everyone should understand that now that Sambisa is under the control of the military, there will be more rescues. We cannot say what will jeopardise the rescue operations of the troops.”

Presidency, Military Deny Payment Of Ransom For Chibok Girls’ Release

The Presidency yesterday denied the alleged payment of $21million to Boko Haram leadership for the release of 21 Chibok girls.

It said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had no such money to pay as ransom.

The presidency said negotiations for the release of more Chibok girls, possibly all the rest, were in progress.

The military high command also strongly denied paying any ransom.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity) to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, faulted some reports that the ransom cash was being used by Boko Haram insurgents to buy arms to launch fresh attacks on the country.

The statement said: “Over the past few days, some newspaper reports ascribing the recent terrorist attacks in Borno State to the government’s negotiation of the release of 21 Chibok girls, with a particular report alleging the exchange of US$21 million for the girls are false and should be disregarded by members of the public. This loose talk is journalism at its most irresponsible and it’s most dismaying.

“As a responsible government that is run on the basis of the constitution and budgets duly appropriated by the National Assembly, we have no such money under any allocation to pay out this outrageous sum of money as ransom.

“Beyond the call of journalism, the newspaper making this charge has a national duty to point how and where this money was paid, and to supply leads as to where the “powerful weapons” were bought by the terrorists.”

The statement said the girls regained freedom in line with the campaign pledge of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The statement added: “From the inception of President Buhari’s administration, the media, local and international groups, have persistently pressured the government to do everything possible to facilitate the release of the Chibok girls.”

The presidency however appealed to the media not to relent in their support for the military.

It said: “May I humbly, once again appeal to the Nigerian media to continue their unflinching support to the military and other security agencies as they fight to free our country from terrorism.”

In a statement in Abuja, the Defence Headquarters also said it has become worrisome that some sections of the media have continued to undermine national security by insisting a ransom was paid to Boko Haram.

Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig. General Rabe Abubakar said the story carried by a national newspaper (not The Nation) is unsubstantiated, false and a deliberate campaign against the military. He said the report that the ransom paid is being used by Boko Haram to further carry out attacks is capable of undermining national security.

The DHQ however warns: “The DHQ wishes to once more remind the media to be cautious of such reports which has serious implication on national security and to further add that, as partners in progress, the media also has a stake in the ongoing efforts to restore lasting peace in the North East and the country in general.”

FG,DHQ Dismiss Appointment Of New Boko Haram Leader, As Sect Splits Over Choice Of Leader

The Federal Government yesterday dismissed as inconsequential the appointment of a new leader for Boko Haram by the Islamic State (IS).
The Defence Headquarters also spoke in the same vein.
Besides, Wednesday’s appointment of Abu Musab al-Barnawi has split the organisation, which appears to be struggling to return to relevance as Abubakar Shekau said he remains the group’s leader.
Minister of Information Lai Mohammed said nothing would bring back Boko Haram as its defeat is complete. He described the claim by the sect as “another cheap propaganda.”
Mohammed added that “it is too late to employ such tactics to revive the group
“By the way, don’t believe the cheap propaganda by the global terrorist group ISIS, which has reportedly named a new leader for Boko Haram. Our gallant military has put Boko Haram on the run and nothing will bring back the terrorists, not even the wishful thinking by ISIS,” the minister said.
The Director of Defence Information, (DHQ), Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said in Abuja that the military remained focused on its operation in the Northeast.
He said the announcement of a new leader for the group was only aimed at seeking attention and relevance.
“As far as we are concerned, what Boko Haram or their cohorts are doing is of no relevance to our operations against them.
“We are just focused on clearing the remnants of the insurgents that are scattered around.
“What they are doing is to seek relevance and to tell the world that they are still around whereas they have been decimated.
“Their latest move is the antics of a fading group and I believe that in the shortest time they will be history.’’
Shekau yesterday insisted he was “still around”.
He described his rival to power, Abu Musab al-Barnawi, as a “polytheist”, meaning one who worships many gods.
Shekau, who wears military uniform and waves an AK-47 assault rifle in propaganda videos posted online, said he sent letters to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), but its leaders had stopped replying.
“I was asked to send my ideology in writing to the caliph but it was manipulated by some people in order to achieve their own selfish interests,” he said in a 10-minute audio message.
“People should know we are still around.
“We will never cause any discord among the people, we will live by the Koran.”
Al-Barnawi’s appointment as the new “Wali of West Africa” was announced through an interview with him in the latest edition of Isil’s online weekly magazine al-Naba.
Boko Haram’s former spokesman, he is seen by the terrorist group as more moderate.
Despite the group’s substantial territorial losses at the hands of a multinational force comprising Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad, al-Barnawi said that Boko Haram was “still a force to be reckoned with” and vowed to end its practice of attacking mosques and killing Muslims.
Instead, he said, it would focus on attacking Christians, by “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the cross”.
Analysts said the rift opened up a new and dangerous chapter of Nigerian-born terrorism as both factions could now compete to outdo each other.
Shekau’s faction may also team up with al-Qaeda in the Islamic Magreb, al-Qaeda’s official branch in North Africa which was behind hotel terror attacks in Mali and Burkina Faso.
Ryan Cummings, director of Signal Risk consultancy, said Shekhau had fallen foul of Isil leaders after attacks on cities like Baga, a north eastern town whose residents were all but wiped out in January 2015.
“Boko Haram’s wanton violence has always been a concern for Isil,” he said. “They are no angels but justify the deaths of civilians by applying the apostate label.
“To re-establish the group’s credentials and recruiting abilities in the Lake Chad region, Isil obviously realised a change in strategy and leadership was needed.”

Military Vows To Deal Decisively With Niger Delta Militants

The Nigerian military has vowed to respond appropriately and decisively to the resurgent Niger Delta militants who have blown up major economic facilities in the nation’s maritime areas in recent times.

The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Brig-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, in response to inquiries, described the recent attacks as unpatriotic and callous activities of the criminal gang.

He said that the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) is aware of increased militant activities and promised that the military response will be both holistic and professional.

He vowed that the militants will be treated as criminals and that the security forces will leave no stone unturned to apprehend the perpetrators.

He said: “This is no doubt a criminal activity and they will be treated as such at an appropriate time. The whole world is seeing the callous and unpatriotic activities of this gang. Our response will be holistic and professional, which will come at an appropriate time.

“The military and other security agencies will ensure the apprehension of these criminals and leave no stone unturned in this direction, in compliance with the directive (by President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Speaking further, DDI urged “the community leaders, oil companies and innocent individuals should go about their legitimate endeavour as military and other security agencies have the capability to respond appropriately and guard our strategic assets and other platforms”.