The Nigeria Army said it has arrested 40 foreigners, 39 Boko Haram suspects and more than 42 Kalare boys in Gombe State, by troops deployed to fight Boko Haram in the state.
Brigadier General Zakari Abubakar, the Commander, 301 Artillery Regiment, Gombe stated this at the Army Barracks in the state capital Saturday evening during the West African Social Activity (WASA), which marked the Army’s end of 2016 calendar year.
Brigadier General Abubakar said the troops conducted several cordons and search operations, patrols to rout the criminal elements from their hideouts.
He gave the assurance to continue in ensuring greater security in Nigeria, but however, called for greater cooperation and collaboration with the public through information sharing in order to defeat Boko Haram, saying the army cannot do it alone.
WASA, is an acronym for West African Social Activities and also means sports in the Hausa Language.
It is an annual event in the Nigerian Army, where officers, soldiers, their families and friends socially interact in a relaxed atmosphere.
It was specifically conducted to mark the end of an eventful year and to herald the beginning of a new year and also to thank the military for their selfless sacrifice to the nation.
The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, was represented by Brigadier General Luka Busu, thanked the military for their efforts and said the headquarters was aware of their constraints and working to tackle them.
“During the cultural dances, I saw members of families, even soldiers in uniform coming out to dance. So you now understand why this occasion was instituted, because it will not be possible for us to give you passes to go to your various locations to celebrate your cultures and traditions. Let me also convey the Chief of Army Staff’s congratulations to all of you, officers and men in your fight against insurgency. You can see that your resilience is showing, in the sense that, despite some challenges here and there, the insurgency is virtually defeated. The Army Headquarters is not unmindful of all the challenges you are having. A lot is being done to see that all these challenges are overcome,” said Brigadier General Luka Busu.
The Commander, 301 Artillery Regiment, Gombe, Brigadier General Zakari Abubakar, said 2016 was a course for celebration because it was quite eventful in training and operations.
Brigadier General Abubakar said the use of Hi-Tech by the Nigerian Army helped in the defeat of the Boko Haram, but that communities and they were not giving out information to the army.
“The only problem we are having is the communities, the people have not accepted the Army the way they should. A lot of people do not volunteer information to us and we cannot do it alone. So we are calling on the populace around us to volunteer information to us to enable us perform even better. When they see any undesirable element, they should tell us. But if you collaborate with Boko Haram and hide them, that honestly will make our jobs difficult,” Brigadier General Abubakar said.
The Deputy Governor of Gombe state, Dr. Charles Iliya, commended people who stayed late to see the end of the event as an indication of their interest in the armed forces, which he said was a call for more gratitude to the military.
Dr. Iliya who spoke on behalf of Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo assured the Army that the government would never stop assisting their formations in Gombe state.
“Gratitude for so many reasons, we would not have been standing here like this. But here we are today because peace has returned to the northeast and Gombe state in particular. That is why we are gathered here today feeling relaxed, feeling alright and enjoying ourselves. We therefore thank God, thank the Army; thank other security outfits for ensuring that we can sleep with our eyes closed these days. We wish you more successes in the northeast, more successes in other parts of Nigeria,” said Gombe state Deputy Governor.
The Commander, 301 Artillery Regiment, Gombe, Brigadier General Abubakar extended his gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, whom he said had made it possible for the military to offer the services to the people.
He also called for greater cooperation and collaboration with the public through information sharing in order to completely defeat Boko Haram, saying the army cannot do it alone.