The federal government has said it has uncovered plans by Boko Haram insurgents to hide and detonate explosives using livestock such as goats, cows, donkeys and camels.
Coordinator of the National Information Centre (NIC) and Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, at a briefing on Thursday in Abuja, also revealed that the sect was planning to arm young male suicide bombers such as cobblers to attack soft targets in the country.
Omeri said the young bombers would hide explosives in their toolboxes and detonate in populated areas including markets, restaurants, political rallies, ATMs locations and worship centres.
“Available intelligence reports indicate a plan by Boko Haram to use young male suicide bombers disguised as cobblers to hide explosives in their toolboxes and detonate them in soft areas such as markets, restaurants, ATM locations, political rallies, worship centres as well as other public places,” he said.
“Also, there is indication of a plan by this group to use livestock such as goats, cow, donkeys and camels laden with explosives to attack chosen targets.
“In view of these, persons who rear goats and cows in the centre are advised in their own interest to restrict such movements because actions could be taken, and nobody should blame the police and other security agencies for taking the necessary steps,” he said.
He advised the general public, including those working within and around the aforementioned places, to be vigilant and mindful of suspicious activities within their environment.
Omeri added that there were also unconfirmed reports from IDP camps that they had been infiltrated by Boko Haram insurgents and urged development partners to visit the various camps to ascertain the true situation.
“Most recently, it was discovered that some IDP camps had been infiltrated by agents of the insurgents. Unfortunately, these reports have been adopted as the true situation by international organisations and the media,” he said.
Omeri, who confirmed the release of some persons by the sect members, said those released were undergoing counselling in the custody of military authorities.
“Authoritatively, we can confirm to you that these persons are currently undergoing counselling at a military facility in Yobe, after which they will return home to rejoin their kith and kin,” Omeri said.
Last week, the sect members had reportedly released 192 out of the 218 people abducted from Katarko town in Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.
It has also emerged that child soldiers and teenage female suicide bombers were used by Boko Haram during its multiple attacks on Maiduguri, Kodunga and Monguno in Borno State last weekend.
Disclosing this to THISDAY, military sources said troops were taken aback when they were confronted by children and teenage girls who were being used by the Islamist sect.
“The most callous aspect of the attacks was the conscription and deployment of child soldiers, teenage female suicide bombers and animals to frustrate the troops,” the officer said.
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Senator Iroegbu, Adebiyi Adedapo and Daji Sani with Agency Report