• Says another 69 Boko Haram members surrender
By Emma Njoku
Director Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, has defended the military’s decision to carry out social media surveillance. He said it was necessary for the military to get vital information that would aid its activities.
Enenche spoke about the controversial surveillance during an appearance on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily yesterday morning, a week after he told Channels Television that the military was monitoring the activities of Nigerians on the social media, sparking outrage.
When asked if it was part of the military’s role to carry out such a surveillance, Enenche said the objective was not to curtail freedom of expression, but to aid the military with planning.
Despite the outrage the military has no plans of stopping the surveillance.
“We are monitoring the social media to sieve out information to help us in our planning. In the military, we cannot arrest anybody for that. Surveillance is observing, getting information. That is what we are doing so that we can be proactive,” Enenche said.
“We are monitoring the social media to help sieve out information, the one that will be anti-government and anti-military. Surveillance is part of our job and we will keep doing it.”
He said the “social media is a platform where people communicate, a platform where anybody can join and you can get information. Surveillance is observing, that is what we are doing so that we can be active.”
Enenche, during the interview, also said the military is still observing Boko Haram insurgents closely despite claims that they were tired of fighting the federal government.
“We are following up because it is not unexpected considering the actions we had put in place in the past, the reinforcement and the reinvigoration of our actions. We started with clearance operations which is supposed to dovetail into dominating the whole area; and now, we have seen the results,” he said.
“We cutoff their lines of supply and communication and then, there is pressure on them. Their help centre in Sambisa forest has been knocked off.’’
On what the military is plans to do with the information it is getting, he said: “The information we are getting, we are yet to convert into intelligence. We are not taking it at surface level because, sometimes, it might even be a decoy to divert our attention.
“So professionally, we are handling it to ensure what they are telling us is true intelligence and that is the situation of things. But, I will tell you that it is 60 per cent closer to the truth that they are fatigued and they are giving up.’’
Meanwhile, 69 Boko Haram members have surrendered to the military following cordon and search operations in various locations in Borno State.
Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, said, at a press conference at the Theatre Command Headquarters in Maiduguri, that the repentant insurgents took the opportunity provided by the Federal Government’s Safe Corridor programme. He said the safe corridor was to integrate Boko Haram members who surrendered back to the society.
“Many of the Boko Haram terrorists’ foot soldiers are abandoning the futile struggle and senseless ideologies of the group to surrender to our troops. During the period, a total of 69 insurgents have denounced terrorism and surrendered to our troops, “ Attahiru said.
He also said 82 other insurgents were killed in combat during the clearance of about 630 settlements. A total of 468 persons were rescued from the clarence operations. He said troops encountered some Boko Haram along the hinterlands and fringes of Lake Chad.
“Some of the major encounters involved troops deployed at Gulumba Gana recording a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack on July 3.
“The troops neutralised the attack and killed three BHT and recovered one AK 47 with registration number 562703141 and a magazine. Also on July 10, 17 troops encountered BHT at Kwatara-Kasa village along Gwoza-Limankara Road,” he disclosed.
Commenting on the increased suicide bomb attacks, the theatre commander said the military has commenced cordon and search operation, urging residents to be more vigilant.