•Recover 80 machine guns, RPGs from Balmo Forest
•Over 20 suspects undergo interrogation
The Defence Headquarters is still counting the gains of the recent capture of Balmo Forest in Bauchi State from Boko Haram.
The military authorities said yesterday that troops uncovered an underground armoury owned by the Islamic sect in the forest which stretches from Bauchi to Jigawa and to the fringes of Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
Recovered from the armoury were more than 80 General Purpose Machine Guns and tubes of Rocket Propelled Grenades(RPGs).
Besides,over 20 insurgents arrested from the forest are undergoing interrogation,according to Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade.
The claims could not be independently verified last night.
However,Gen.Olukolade,in the statement,said: “The mopping up operation in Balmo forest is yielding more discoveries of arms stockpiled in underground cells in the forest.
“Troops who have been excavating various sites in the forest in search of hidden weapons, have so far recovered over 10 rifles along with parts and accessories as well as more than 80 General Purpose Machine Guns, tubes of Rocket Propelled Grenades and Launchers, cables, wires and thousands of rounds of assorted ammunition.
“Also recovered in the search are uniforms of security agencies including protective clothing.
“Meanwhile, suspects captured in the forest have been taken into custody and they are volunteering information linking the activities in the forest with other terrorist activities in the country.
“The mopping up operation continues”
Although,the statement was silent on the number of captured insurgents, a top military source said: “They are over 20 insurgents in custody from the forest providing clues on the operation of the sect.
“We decided not to publish their photographs for strategic reasons. We do not want the sect to know who among their members in Balmo Forest are still alive or not.
“But some of those captured were in charge of armoury for Boko Haram. They are helping ongoing investigation.”
Responding to a question, the military source added: “The recovered arms and ammunition and the arrested insurgents have been moved to a military facility where security agencies are also collaborating to source vital information from them.”[The Nation]