The Chadian and Nigerien troops have been reported to be in total control of security and protection of the border town of Damasak in Borno State in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing the Multinational Joint Task Force (MJTF) against terrorism in Nigeria’s North-east, a military source has disclosed.
This is just as the Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) announced the restrain of two unaccredited Al Jazeera journalists to their hotel rooms, after they were found loitering around operational areas of the North eastern part of the country.
The step was taken on the heels of a trending speculation in major international media, stating the likely kidnap of another 400 children and women by Boko Haram terrorists, while fleeing from Damasak, recently liberated by Chadian and Nigerien troops.
The military personnel in his address wondered how fleeing terrorists, who were pounded by Nigerian Air Force aircraft, before being overwhelmed by forces from the two MJTF participating troops could abscond with over 400 individuals in the process.
“Although, we are not officially responding to such baseless assertions because it has become normal for some interests to manufacture something so that their media will have something negative to report about Nigeria. It is nevertheless important to let them know that troops from Niger and Chad have been in charge of protecting that town and we wonder how they would have allowed Boko Haram the luxury of such mass kidnapping.
“Were the abducted individuals herded away on foot or packed in trailers or small trucks?” the source queried.
Meanwhile, the two Aljazeera journalists, in a statement published on the Nigerian Defence information online platform stated that; “the journalists, Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Andy, who were noted to have been moving around various locations including restricted areas in Yobe and Borno State were also operating without any protection, accreditation or due clearance.”
They were accordingly monitored by military intelligence operatives until they eventually had to be restrained to their hotel in Maiduguri. This followed the increasing suspicion that their activities were aimed at interfering with the ongoing military operations in the area.
Also, the motive, activities and some material in possession of these individuals are being investigated.
It will be recalled that foreign journalists were earlier cautioned against unauthorised and unprotected movements around the military operations area until formally reversed or lifted.