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General News of Monday, 20 June 2022


Military warns against business dealings with Boko Haram, ISWAP

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The military high command has issued a stern warning to individuals or groups, who conduct business with terror groups, Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP), saying those who engage in such acts risk being killed by insurgents.

It warned that Nigerians, especially Borno residents, who conduct business transactions with the insurgents were prolonging the 13-year insurgency war and warned them to cease all such business dealings.

There were reports that the business of fuel supplies to the insurgents had become a lucrative one where a litre of fuel is sold for N10,000.

It also stated that the killing of 63 scrap metal scavengers in the Borno State in the last four weeks was occasioned by their secret collaboration with terrorists.

Giving an update on counterterrorism operations in Maiduguri, Commander, Joint Task Force Operation Hadin Kai, Maj Gen Christopher Musa, warned that those who engaged in business transactions with the terror groups risk death even as he affirmed that the situation was prolonging the war against terrorism.

“One of the things we realise that is prolonging this issue is that we have some individuals that sell food and fuel to them. For example, at their own area, a litre of fuel goes for about 10,000 naira there. So, if you take 10 litres that’s N100,000. So, people are dragging things, taking the risk to go there and sell fuel to make money. We have people that go to market to buy foodstuff to give them.

“So, we are telling them a friend of a thief is a thief. So, if we catch you doing those things we will treat you like one of them. Let us finish this thing so that normalcy could be restored.

“Let people live their lives. We have spent 13 years on this issue and still running, I think everybody should be tired. So, we want to warn people, nobody should trade with them. Nobody should do any business with them. You don’t have any business with them,” he warned.

The theatre commander urged Northeast residents to give credible information to any military formation near them about the hideouts of terrorists to ensure the restoration of peace.

“Tell us wherever they are. We, Will, go and smoke them out. Let us have peace. The rainy season has started. Farming is going to return, we want farmers to go back to farm and fishermen to go back to their fishing,” he said.

On the issue of unexploded ordinances, Maj Gen Musa advised families with children in the rural areas in the northeast not to pick or allow their children play with any strange objects seen in their farms as they may have been planted by terrorists and may cause injury or death if touched.

“Now that people are going back to farms, a lot of these bombs that were thrown here and there some of them didn’t explode. We wish to sensitise people, especially children not to pick anything on the ground because the tendency is that when they pick, they start playing with it and then it explodes. It’s very, very dangerous.

“We want to appeal to them. Please, if you see anything like that in an isolated area report to the nearest military formation. We have an Explosives and Ordinance Department (EOD) team that will come and detonate them or even the police, they have EOD team. We work together so that everybody is safe. We appeal to members of the public.”

General Musa said the military had carried out a lot of sensitisation programmes with the locals on the issue.

On the issue of scrap metal scavengers killed by the terrorists, the theatre commander pointed out that the military had issued warnings and conducted sensitisation programmes, urging the villagers not to move beyond some boundaries and not to do business with terrorists because they don’t have any respect for human life.

“You do business with them. They turn around and kill you simply. Some of them still deal with these monsters and got eaten by them. They were going for scrap metal, they too were struggling for scrap metal, they met and something went wrong and they decided to kill them.

“So that is why we tell people we have areas we have cleared, we told them don’t move beyond this area but you see people are still going to them secretly because you want to go and do one funny thing or the other and then you ended up getting killed”, he said.

The theatre commander noted that the military cannot be everywhere. “Therefore, it is an individual responsibility to stay safe, stay within the limit given”, he said in a media interview.

He revealed that soldiers were being deployed to guide farmers to their farms to ensure a smooth farming season.