From TIMOTHY OLA, Maiduguri
The Joint Task Force in Yobe State announced yesterday that one Bakaka, who is believed to be the field commander of the Boko Haram sect in Damaturu, has been killed.
A statement issued by the JTF spokesman, Lt. Eli Lazarus, said the Yobe sect kingpin was among 30 sect members killed and 10 arrested after a search operation at a hideout in the Khandahar area of the state capital.
The statement reads: “In the early hours of Sunday, October 7, 2012, men of JTF in Damaturu, Yobe State on cordon and search operation in suspected Boko Haram hideout at Kandahar and the cemetery areas of Damaturu engaged in a gun battle with the suspected terrorists.
“About 30 suspected Boko Haram terrorists were killed in the battle, which lasted several hours. In the battle, the notorious, one-eyed Bakaka, the field commander of Boko Haram in Damaturu and a close associate of Abubakar Shekau, was killed.
“Ten others arrested during the battle are presently assisting investigators to track other senior members of the terrorist group.
“Six rifles, 90 rounds of ammunition, several handsets and sim packs were recovered. Other items recovered include knives, bows and arrows, diggers and 2 keke NAPEP tricycles. Also, 3 cans of IEDs recovered were detonated.”
Lazarus noted that the success so far recorded in the operation showed the cooperation of the residents, stressing: “JTF wishes to appreciate the support so far received from the peace-loving and law abiding people of Yobe State, urging them to volunteer more information that would lead to arrest of other suspected terrorists.
“JTF further requested that people should remain calm and go about their lawful activities as efforts were geared towards ensuring the safety of lives and property.”
The statement also announced the appointment of Colonel I.S. Ali as the new Commander of the JTF in Yobe State.
Ali is to take over from Colonel Dahiru Abdulsalam, who proceeds to Defence College for further military studies.
Until his recent appointment, Colonel Ali was a deputy director at the Army Headquarters Department of Training and Operations (DATOPS).
Meanwhile, the JTF in Borno State has threatened to deal with those it said “harbour terrorists, criminals, arms, ammunition and explosives.”
A statement made in Maiduguri yesterday by the task force spokesperson, Lt. Col. Sagir Musa, also advised residents of the state to remain at alert and be security conscious even as they continue to give timely and credible information on any suspicious movement, persons or groups to security agencies.
Musa expressed the appreciation of the JTF to residents for their cooperation and assistance, urging those that had credible information to be free to contact the task force through some designated telephone numbers which he gave.
These include 08064174066, 07085464012 and 08154429346.