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Obasanjo: FG Already Talking With Boko Haram – The Guardian

Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo
The Joint Military Task Force (JTF) in Borno State yesterday killed one terrorist and arrested two others during a clash with suspected terrorists at the Customs Bridge of Maiduguri, the state capital, just as their counterparts in Kano State yesterday morning raided Farawa quarters in Kumbotso Council and arrested a man suspected to be a high profile member of Islamist sect, Boko Haram, his wife and five children.

Similarly, suspected gunmen planted Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at the St. Michael Church in the Railway Quarters of Maiduguri, Borno State.

The explosives resulted in no casualty, as the JTF and the police anti-bomb squad safely detonated the devices at about 2am.

In Jalingo, the Taraba State capital, there was a bomb explosion at about 12.35p.m yesterday allegedly targeted at a Police Hilux van conveying policemen to their places of primary assignments.

But unlike last month’s explosion, which claimed several lives and injured many, no death or injury was seen to have been caused by the blast.

These happened as former President Olusegun Obasanjo in far away Addia Ababa, said President Goodluck Jonathan’s government was seeking dialogue with the sect.

“Within the last 48 hours I heard that the government is pursuing dialogue with Boko Haram,” Obasanjo said in an interview, adding:

“Until now, I think there was an element of ambivalence. We didn’t know if the government really wanted to talk and negotiate,” Obasanjo stated.

Confirming the attacks in Maiduguri, spokesman of JTF, Lt-Col. Sagir Musa, in a press statement, said: “On reaching the area, two unexploded bombs were recovered and were safely detonated by the anti-bomb squad.”

On how the terrorists were killed and arrested, Musa said: “After killing a high profile terrorist, we were able to arrest two of them with the recovery of 20 rounds of ammunitions and a tricycle used in the attacks at the bridge.”

He said there were no casualties, saying the security situation was under control, with people going about their businesses and other activities in the metropolis.

The Kano State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, confirmed the arrest.

A police source said the sect leader might be connected with attacks on places of worship and silent killing of innocent victims in the past.

“Men of the task force made the arrest and the man in our custody is a suspect in the terrifying attacks in this state and investigation is in top gear,” he said.

Sophisticated weapons, including an SMG rifle, three pistols, hundreds of live ammunition and cans used to make IEDs were also found in the residence of the suspect, who did not resist arrest.

The police commissioner had earlier called on the people of the state to notify the police of any suspicious movement by people they might not be comfortable with and also be vigilant for any item that may be planted, which could be harmful and dangerous.

The Taraba blast occurred despite the security measures claimed to have been put in place by operatives in the state to halt terrorist attacks.

Security operatives, including bomb detectors, have taken over the scene of the incident, a few metres away from one of the new generation banks.

An eyewitness told The Guardian that the bombers, on a motorbike, threw the substance neatly wrapped in a polythene bag at the van as it passed by.

It is feared that the explosion might affect the voter turnout in today’s local council election, as many eligible voters have vowed to stay indoors.

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Ibiang Mbaseki, told The Guardian that the explosion is “a strategy to discourage the people from coming out to vote tomorrow (today).”

He described the explosion as “a minor one,” adding: “It has been certified to be an improvise explosive devise.”

The police spokesman called on the people not to be deterred by the incident, as relevant security measures have been put in place by the command to ensure hitch-free council polls today.

A senior police officer, who craved anonymity, linked the insecurity in the state to the political class, whom he said “have deliberately refused to allow the people’s choice to prevail in tomorrow’s election.”

Obasanjo stated that he heard of the dialogue approach “from people close to the President,” but didn’t give details on when the government decided to hold talks with the sect, which recently indicated interest in dialogue on certain conditions through one of its alleged leaders, who called in during a programme by a privately-owned television station.

Obasanjo’s assertion was given corroborated by Vice President Namadi Sambo, who yesterday said the government was calling “on all aggrieved groups to cease fire and come forward for dialogue.”

Although he did not mention Boko Haram by name in a statement on the Presidency’s website, Sambo criticised “negative forces” responsible for “senseless killings” that portray Islam in a bad light.

Meanwhile, Idris said gunmen, suspected to be Boko Haram members, late yesterday shot and killed a Shiite leader in Kano.

Muhammad Ali was shot at his home.

One Response to “Obasanjo: FG Already Talking With Boko Haram – The Guardian”

  1. Collins says:

    Nigeria needs international help for lasting security.People are been kill every Sunday like animals.The president needs to station the latest high tech security and directors at airports,seaports and land bordering Nigeria and it neighbors.Nigeria also needs a spy drone that is capable of doing anything.Set up a spacial security service and a rapid intervention unit that is capable of acting within seconds in case of any security treats.Not to kill them but catch them right handed so, they can give more information to which person or country is sponsor the boko harram and how they get away with their devilish acts without being caught.

    The cheapest and most effective security I would like to suggest the president apply is to apply a surprise nation wide search to properties, houses, shops etc with a heavily guarded security.This will definitely clean this nation in and out.It is with this kind of strategy you can know who is who in Nigeria.

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