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Jonathan and Shettima

Jonathan, Shettima meet over Boko Haram’s Damboa massacre

  • Military: we won’t allow hoisting of strange flags in any part of Nigeria

Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima met with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja on Friday, pleading for assistance to stop the rampaging Boko Haram insurgents.

More than 300 peoples, including a Lieutenant-Colonel, have been killed by the insurgents in the last  three weeks in Damboa.

The daring insurgents have also served notices of attacks on nine other towns.

But the military yesterday stepped up activities against the sect and ordered troops to rout out Boko Haram from Damboa.

The Defence Headquarters said it would not allow any group to annex any part of Nigeria or hoist a strange flag.

According to sources, Shettima had a closed door session with the President at night on Friday on the security challenges facing the state.

The two leaders locked themselves up for about 45 minutes without any of their aides present.

A source said: “The meeting had to do with the security situation in the state, especially attacks on Damboa and the withdrawal of troops from the area by military authorities.

“The death toll had made the governor sad, in spite of the huge investment in security apparatchik in the state.

“The military is unhappy that some local collaborators played key roles in the ambush of troops on July 4 which led to the killing of a Lieutenant Colonel in a tank by some suicide bombers.

“The governor came to beg for more military intervention to save the state. No leader will be happy seeing his people being killed like fowls. And the President reassured the governor that more actions will be taken.

“As if the assault on Damboa was not enough, the insurgents have served notices of attacks on nine more towns. It is like a part of Borno is under siege again after the gains made by the military.

“I think they also had discussions on the fate of the Chibok girls and the President’s proposed meeting with some of the parents of the abducted girls and those who escaped.”

Neither the Presidency nor Borno State government was willing to reveal the details of the meeting.

When contacted, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati confirmed that the President met with the governor.

Also, a top government official in Borno State confirmed that the governor met with the President on Friday night.

Barely 48 hours after the meeting, the military yesterday stepped up activities against the sect and ordered troops to rout out Boko Haram from Damboa.

The Director of Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, who spoke with our correspondent,  said the military had ordered troops to firm up activities against the sect in Damboa and other vulnerable areas.

He said: “We have put in place necessary machinery, including the patrol of vulnerable areas, to check the insurgents. Activities are being stepped up to curtail the menace.”

Asked in what manner the activities had been stepped up, he replied: “I won’t go into details on the actions we have taken. I cannot disclose military plans.

“We will not say when troops will take charge of Damboa to avoid a repeat of the last ambush of these committed and loyal soldiers. But we are firming up deployment of troops to Damboa and other places.

“We are ready for the insurgents but we will prefer to keep our strategies to ourselves because of the nature of the battle ahead.”

Pressed to talk on the hoisting of flags in Damboa by Boko Haram, Brig.-Gen. Olukolade said:”From intelligence report, no hoisting of the flags was noticed in the sense that people are creating the impression. One or two persons may have hoisted flags in their compounds

“The Nigerian military will deny them any freedom of action against the people this country.

“Let me assure you that the military will not allow any portion of this country to bear any strange flag.”

[The Nation]


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