The Nigerian Army has called on Nigerians to report any Boko Haram member in and around their vicinities to relevant security agencies.
The call was made by Maj Gen Lucky Irabor, Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole on Wednesday while briefing newsmen on the operations of his command, and capture of the Sambisa Forest.
He warned that many of the Boko Haram terrorists who escaped from the Sambisa during the military’s bombardment of the area may have gone into civilian territories to shelter, and regroup.
He also advised that anyone who habours the terrorists would be regarded as collaborators, and treated as such by security agencies.
“Concealing a criminal will not do you good but will destroy you”, he said, even as he adviced Nigerians to also understand their civic responsibilities within the Nigerian state.
The sector commander who displayed the flag of the Boko Haram, and a Holy Book retrieved for the sect’s headquarters called on Nigerians to take ownership of the nation’s security, adding that it is a collective responsibility.
On Sambisa becoming a training ground for the military, Maj Gen Irabor explained that the Forest will remain a games reserve, but the Army will maintain a presence there, to ensure it does not return to use by criminals.
He explained that it will not become a military property, noting that there are some ungoverned spaces around the nation, like the Sambisa Forest, which he said will still be made available to any government agency that is in charge of same.
He also advised members of the sect who were dislodged from the forest to give themselves up to the security agencies.
According the army chief “We have won the war, but we need to win the peace”, explaining that the military will work with other stakeholders to ensure that such terrorist threat do not recur.
The sector commander also stated that they exercised caution in engaging the Boko Haram members fleeing the forest because they noticed a number of females among them, whom they suspected were part of the missing Chibok Girls.
He also lamented that the fleeing terrorist used the females as human shield to make good their escape.
Irabor also disclosed that the Army arrested about 1,240 suspected Boko Haram terrorists during a mop-up operation by troops inside the Sambisa forest.
He said that 413 of the suspects were adults; 323 were female adults; 251 male children, while 253 were female children, adding that they were apprehended during a mop-up operation against the sect members in the forest.
He said, “We are interrogating them to know whether they are Boko Haram members, because there is no way somebody that is not their member would live inside Sambisa forest”, he asserted.
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