By Abdulkareem Haruna
The commander of the ongoing counterinsurgency operation in northeast Nigeria, Leo Irabor, has said that Nigerian troops have in the last eight days arrested 1400 civilians.
Mr. Irabor, a Major General, made this known during a weekly briefing on the activities of the Nigerian military in the six states of northeast Nigeria.
The figure brings the number of suspects arrested by the Nigeria troops, within two weeks, to about 2700.
On December 28, 2016, Mr. Irabor had at the same weekly briefing said that troops arrested 1,240 Boko Haram suspects following the fall of Sambisa forest.
The suspects were not paraded before the media, as top military officials said doing so may jeopardize ongoing investigations.
It was not clear what they were accused of.
Mr. Irabor said troops have cleared many villages in Borno and Yobe States, following the fall of Sambisa Forest.
The commander said “a total of 1,400 civilians were arrested by our troops during all our operations conducted between 28 December 2016 – 4 January, 2017”.
He said a couple of top Boko Haram insurgents, including kidnappers, have been arrested within the period under review.
Mr. Irabor also said that troops had on December 29, 2016 carried out an ambush attack on Boko Haram fighters at a village called Rann, killing 15 of the insurgents.
He said four soldiers were wounded during the gun battle.
He said troops successfully reopened the Maiduguri-Gubio-Damasak Road on December 25, 2016, which allowed displaced residents of Damasak border town to return to their communities, either from Maiduguri or from border communities in Niger Republic.