Insurgency in parts of the country was created with the aim of undermining the economy and development of Nigeria, former head of state General Muhammadu Buhari said yesterday in Daura, as military operations continued elsewhere in the Northeast against insurgents..Military retakes 5 Borno villages
Buhari spoke in his hometown which came under bomb and gun attacks that left 3 soldiers dead last Thursday.
“The insurgency was a deliberate move to scuttle the security and development of Nigeria. Take for instance Kano and Borno states. The economy of the people in the two states was completely wiped out by the activities of insurgents. Nothing economic is moving in the two states,” said Buhari, who spoke while on a sympathy visit to the Emir of Daura’s palace.
“No nation in this world can develop with this kind of insurgency. It is unfortunate that activities of insurgents are on the increase in Nigeria,” he added.
Buhari said also no religion will condone the kind of terrorism taking place in Nigeria.
He urged Nigerians to intensify prayers for the restoration of peace and harmony in the country.
The Emir of Daura, Alhaji Farouq Umar Farouq, told the former head of state that he opposed the conduct of house-to-house search in Daura town by the military in the wake of the attack.
Five villages ‘secured’
Meanwhile, defence authorities yesterday said troops had “secured” five towns and villages that had hitherto seen activities of insurgents in Borno State, as military operation in the area enters the second week.
Borno is among the three states under a state of emergency—the others being Yobe and Adamawa—proclaimed by President Jonathan last week in the wake of rising insurgency.
Authorities deployed thousands of troops and fighter jets to the affected states, launching air strikes on insurgents camps and conducting house-to-house searches.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, Director of Defence Information Brigadier-General Chris Olukolade said 120 “terrorists” were arrested in Maiduguri as they tried to bury one of their commanders killed by the military.
“The Special Forces have now secured the environs of New Marte, Hausari, Krenoa, Wulgo and Chikun Ngulalo after destroying all the terrorists camps sited in the vicinity of these localities. The troops are already interacting with locals and citizens assuring them of their safety and freedom from the activities of insurgents,” Olukolade said.
“Terrorists fleeing towards Chad and Niger Republic are being contained as they have had encounter with Multi-National Joint Task Force in various locations towards the border. Advancing troops also observed a few shallow graves believed to be those of hurriedly buried members of the terrorist groups.
“In Maiduguri, about 120 terrorists were arrested as they organized burial of one of their commanders who died in an encounter with Special Forces the previous day. The arrested insurgents are in custody of the Joint Task Force where they are being interrogated.”
In Maiduguri, military authorities yesterday relaxed the 24-hour curfew imposed since Saturday.
Spokesman for the Joint Task Force in Borno State, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, said the curfew would now start at 6pm and end at 7am, Reuters news agency reported.
The curfew had raised fears of a humanitarian crisis as residents of the 12 affected areas run out of food and other basic supplies.
No official announcement on relaxing the curfew was issued by the JTF, but some of the trapped people had already started losing patience and began to trickle on the streets to try to stock up supplies from the areas not affected by the curfew.
Residents told Daily Trust “sympathetic soldiers” cleared the way for them to go out.
“We have been indoors for almost 48 hours, until this morning (yesterday) when some soldiers told us that we should go to our normal businesses and come back home by 6pm,” trader Mohammed Bashir said.
Falmata Gana, a school teacher who lives in Gamboru, said she was able to buy items at the Monday Market yesterday.
“The soldiers in our area said we should hurriedly go out and buy the things we need. One of them told me that the 24-hour curfew has not been lifted. He said they only cleared the roadblocks to help us,” she said.
But phone service remained turned off in Borno and Yobe states yesterday. Some residents with wifi internet access use services like Blackberry voice messaging and Yahoo messenger to communicate with people in other parts of the country.