Soldiers block highways in Borno and Yobe states in desperate bid to flush out Boko Haram

SOLDIERS blocked all the major highways in and out of Yobe and Borno states earlier today in a desperate bid to end the Boko Haram menace that has become a major headache over the last few weeks as the terrorist sect has stepped up its attacks of late.


Since 2009, Boko Haram has been waging a war against the Nigerian state and at one stage controlled 13 local government areas. Over recent weeks, the sect has stepped up its activities, attacking military installations across Borno State and killing dozens of soldiers, forcing thousands of refugees to flee to neighbouring countries.


In a desperate bid to stem the tide of attacks, soldiers blocked all major highways in and out of Yobe and Borno states, leaving hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded. Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole locked down the highways, forcing the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) in Yobe State to suspend the signing of peace accord by political candidates.


Before the shutdown, the ceremony was billed for the commission’s offices in Damaturu. Alhaji Ahmad Makama, the Yobe State resident electoral commissioner said:  “We woke up this morning to find out that there are some security challenges.


“The military have closed all the highways and roads leading to Damaturu and some of the delegates are coming from outside Damaturu. So for that reason, we have agreed that it is wiser to postpone the programme to next week Thursday, January 17.”


Travellers from Gombe, Bauchi and Kano states were stranded in different axis of the states. Military authorities denied closing the roads but admitted carrying out clearance operations to weed out Boko Haram insurgents.


Army spokesman Col Onyema Nwachukwu, said:  “What is happening is an ongoing clearance and snap checks operations in the general area required to clear suspected Boko Haram terrorists along that road. The clearance operation is ultimately for the safety and security of motorists and other road users."


Apparently, the chairman of the Yobe State Christian Pilgrims Board who returned from Jerusalem on Tuesday through Gombe International Airport could not reach Damaturu because of the blockage of the road from Fika axis of the state. Abdulmalik Sunmuno, the Yobe State police commissioner, confirmed that the military Joint task Force had blocked all the roads because of certain operations it needed to carry out.