By Wahab Akanji, Maiduguri
No fewer than 88 people have been rescued by troops in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State just as three others died during an encounter with members of the dreaded Boko Haram Islamist sect.
A statement signed by Col. Sani Usman, Acting Director, Army Public Relations, in Abuja on Tuesday, said 28 people of those rescued, claimed they escaped from Bula Musa village.
Usman said the 28 people comprised two men, nine women and 17 children, adding that the troops killed three terrorists during separate encounter.
â€œThey have been taken to Bama town for screening, profiling and possible handover to emergency management and humanitarian agencies,â€ Usman said.
He said that another 23, comprising a man, five women and 17 children were intercepted by troops deployed at Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camp in Bama.
Usman said this was after they escaped from terrorists in Bula Musa general area on Sunday.
â€œIn Dikwa, the troops also recorded influx of 37 IDPs, comprising two men, 12 women, 12 boys and 11 girls from Gulumba Gana village which is about 45km astride Gulumba-Kumshe Road axis, Bama Local Government Area.
â€œThey were screened by the troops and the Civilian JTF who, later handed them over to the Dikwa IDPs camp management for further registration and rehabilitation,â€™â€™ Usman said.
He said those deployed at Nigeria-Cameroon border in conjunction with Civilian JTF also arrested two escaping Boko Haram terrorists named Mohammed Mundilga and Ahmed Ali.
â€œThe terrorists, who hail from Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area on preliminary investigation confessed that they were Boko Haram fighters, and added that they sneaked into Gamboru from Abbaganaram village, Marte Local Government Area after being tired of staying in the bush.
â€ªâ€They, terrorists, attempted to disguise and pass on as IDPs but ran out of luck as they were found out. Both of them have been handed over to the Joint Investigation centre for further interrogation,â€™â€™ he said.
â€ªThe army spokesman said troops also carried out clearance operation and fighting patrol at Wadama, Izakah, Gelemari and Kalizaram villages.
â€ªHe said following information that terrorists were extorting residents of Zankari village, troops stationed in Monguno, responded and killed two of them, while one sustained gunshot wounds.
â€ªUsman said the troops recovered one AK-45 rifle and three rounds of 7.62mm ammunition from the insurgents.
In a related development, Usman said the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) team led by Adam Zanna Karamma had visited Bama IDPs camp.
He said the team registered internally displaced persons below 17 of age for distribution of non-food items, adding that they would be trained on skills acquisition and construction of temporary shelter.
Report says Maiduguri, the Borno State capital is currently engulfed in wild jubilation over the latest development.