Thursday, March 31, 2016 5:19 am
The Minister of Defence, Brig.-Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali, said that out of the 60 local councils occupied by Boko Haram in the past, only two have remnants of Boko Haram activities.
It was the first official admission that Boko Haram elements are still operating on Nigerian territory, contrary to oft-repeated statements that they were not holding any territory or even operating from Nigeria.
Dan-Ali’s admission came via a clarification he made to debunk a report that quoted him as saying that Boko Haram insurgents control two local government areas in the North-East.
The minister’s clarification was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday by Col. Tukur Gusau, Public Relations Officer in his office.
“The Minister said that before now, over 60 local government areas were under the occupation of Boko Haram in the North-East, but now only two were having some remnants of Boko Haram activities and not under their complete control”, Gusau said.
The Minister also denied reports in the same medium credited to him that the abducted female students of Government Secondary School, Chibok, were being used as suicide bombers.
According to the statement, the minister was quoted out of context, as he did not imply what was reported by the online medium.
“The minister was a guest in the studio of Voice of America, where he spoke in Hausa language, on the appraisal of the successes recorded in the ongoing war against terrorists in the North- East.
“On the issue of the Chibok girls, the minister was not referring to the girls abducted on April 14, 2014 from Government Secondary School Chibok.
“Rather, he was referring to other girls abducted by the terrorists from the local government areas and environs,’’ Gusau said.