The Nigerian Army has announced the apprehension of Khalid al-Barnawi, the leader of al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group, Ansaru, on Friday in Lokoja, the Kogi state capital.
This is just as the military confirmed the capture of some Boko Haram commanders, while others willingly surrendered to the unmatched force of the security agencies.
The Director Defence information, Brigadier Rabe Abubakar, who confirmed this development in a statement on Sunday said:
“With ongoing aggressive military operations in the North-East, some Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered to the Nigerian troops just as some top commanders were arrested while fleeing from the theatre of war.
“The improved synergy and inter-agency collaborations have enhanced the various operations towards the massive arrest of members of the terrorists’ groups.
“We are conducting series of investigation including background checks on some of those arrested and those that surrendered to the security agencies for proper identification. So far most of the operations are going on smoothly.
“Our concern is for Nigerians to support the military and other security agencies with useful information especially now that most of the Boko Haram camps have been destroyed; while the stubborn members may be fleeing to new locations.
“We urge Nigerians to report any strange movement and people, including suspicious objects in their localities to ensure that suspects do not have new haven to hide where they may later disrupt such communities.”
Ansaru is a splinter group of Boko Haram, which has a staunch ideology that is aligned to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb; they are infamously feared for kidnapping foreigners and killing a number of Westerners.
To underscore the value of al-Barnawi, the US had placed a $5m (£3.5m) bounty on his head after branding him one of three Nigerian “specially designated global terrorists” in 2012.
In a similar development, troops of 22 Brigade Garrison, Army Headquarters Strike Group (AHQ SG) with the help of some Civilian JTF on fighting patrol to Boboshe, Garna, Kyare, Kadawu, Gineba and Ajiri have arrested 6 Boko Haram terrorists.
Confirming the arrest on Sunday, Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, said “although the fighting patrol team found Boboshe village virtually empty, they however recovered 8 industrial gas cylinders and 5 regular gas cylinders at a Primary School being used for IED making and also recovered a Pickup vehicle.
“The patrol team captured 3 Boko Haram terrorists at Kadawu and recovered 4 motorcycles, 3 bicycles 1 solar panel and 2 liquid herbicides.
“At Garna, the troops also captured 3 suspects and recovered 7 locally made guns from them.”