FG deploys massive troops to Adamawa, Yobe, Borno

By The Citizen

Troops moved into cities in the Northeast yesterday to enforce President Goodluck Jonathan's emergency rule declaration.

Residents were frightened by the sight of many army trucks carrying soldiers into Yola and Maiduguri. Borno, Adamawa and Yobe are now under emergency rule, following attacks by militants of the Boko Haram group.

A Reuters reporter saw six trucks carrying soldiers enter Yola, the capital of Adamawa State. In the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, the biggest city in the area and birthplace of the insurgency, residents also reported an influx of troops.

The mood was tense in the city. Shops were mostly shut and there were few people on the streets. Schools were closed.

Residents were worried that the 9pm to 6am curfew in place may be extended.

'What I saw this morning scared me,' said Maiduguri resident Ahmed Mari. 'I have never seen soldiers on the move quite like this before.'

Another, Kabir Laoye, said he was scared that civilians could be caught up in the conflict: 'There is a lot of apprehension about the state of emergency,' he said.

Some state government officials doubted the state of emergency would work unless security forces can win popular support.

'This state of emergency will not change anything if the people do not cooperate and start exposing members of Boko Haram,' said David John, a director in the state government.

President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the Nigerian Armed Forces to take over the patrol of the nation's borders.

The main thrust of the patrol is to track down criminal elements within the vicinity of border communities prone to terrorist activities.

A statement by the Director of Defence Information, Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, yesterday said the troops were made up of the Armed Forces, the police and other security agencies.

Gen. Olukolade added that the troops would also focus on every suspected terrorist enclave and cell in the various border communities.

The statement reads: 'In furtherance of the Commander-in-Chief's directive, the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies have commenced operations to rid the nation's border territories of terrorist bases and activities.

'The operations, which will involve massive deployment of men and resources, is aimed at asserting the nation's territorial integrity and enhancing the security of constituted governmental structures in all territories within Nigeria's borders.

'The operational plans have also briefed participating troops appropriately on arrests, cordon and search, especially directed at apprehending those who have been violating sovereignty of Nigeria through terrorist training for insurgency and related activities.

'The operation is expected to put an end to insurgent activities in these parts of the country.

The Defence Headquarters said measures had been put in place to ensure the safety of civilians and non-combatants while the operation lasts.

The authorities of the Armed Forces enjoined communities in the border areas to cooperate with troops and give information on criminal and terrorist activities.

They are also enjoined to report suspicious activities or movements in their various localities, they said, stressing that the operation is intended to safeguard the nation's interests and citizens in all parts of the federation.