Boko Haram: 20 arrested as soldiers raid hideouts in Abuja
Barely four days after a deadly attack on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS) office in Abuja, soldiers yesterday stormed suspected “cells” and hideouts of suspected members of Boko Haram in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Some of the suspected cells and shanties were burnt in Apo and Guzape districts.
Also, security agencies have arrested more than 20 suspected members of Boko Haram members in the last five days in and around Abuja, following intelligence alert.
Yesterday’s raid took about five hours with more than 100 cells and shanties buried in hills and valleys in the city destroyed by gun-wielding soldiers.
It was gathered that the combing of the cells is part of a new pre-emptive strategy adopted by the government.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that FCT Minister Senator Bala Mohammed had on Tuesday and Thursday held “crucial” meetings with security chiefs in the area.
Soldiers were drafted to the marked cells in the hills and valleys following intelligence report.
Our correspondent was trapped in the heavy traffic snarl generated by the “emergency” combing of the cells.
Soldiers and some security officials in mufti declined to speak with our correspondent.
A soldier shouted at this reporter: “Leave this area now. This is a special operation.”
A source said: “We got intelligence report that some Boko Haram members and armed robbers have cells around this area and we decided to take pre-emptive steps. This particular area is notorious because of its hilly terrain but we will not relent until we clean the hills and valleys of criminal cells.
“We have burnt more than 100 cells, make-shift camps and shanties locked in the hills and valleys. Some of these cells were not faraway from SARS office.
“The armed raid will continue. If they could attack SARS, they can also storm any of the military and intelligence agencies in this area.
“You can see that armed soldiers were involved in the combing to underscore the importance attached to this action.”
It was gathered that security agencies have arrested more than 20 terror suspects in the last six days.
Those arrested are undergoing interrogation in some detention facilities.
Another source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have made some useful arrests. At least more than 20 suspected members of Boko Haram are undergoing interrogation. So, we have foiled plans by some terror groups, including Boko Haram, to strike.
“As a matter of fact, we received report of plans to disrupt the just-concluded Abuja Carnival. We were able to do some surveillance and ensure that the carnival was hitch-free.
“What we have adopted now is to be proactive. If we know that they want to carry out an operation, we burst it. This method has been helpful.”
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