West and North Africa

Police arrest Boko Haram’s ‘chief butcher’

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Police detectives attached to Bauchi State Police Command have arrested one Mohammed Zakari, a top operative of the violent group in Balmo Forest.

Zakari, 30, who identified himself as the ‘chief butcher’ of Boko Haram in Balmo Forest, was apprehended last Saturday along Darazo-Basrika Road, while fleeing from the intensive counter-insurgency operations going on around the forest.

The suspect, who hails from Kaigamari village, Daptchari in Darazo Local Government Area, Bauchi State, is the self-styled ‘chief butcher’ of the insurgent group at the Balmo camp. He was said to be linked with the recent slaughter of seven people, including women and children in the area.

A statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, in Abuja on Tuesday, said that findings as well as disclosures from the suspect would assist law enforcement agencies in tracking down some other members of the terror cell.

It explained that the terror suspect was discovered to have actively participated in the April attack on Customs officers at Kari town, along Maiduguri Road, Bauchi State.

The police stated that investigation revealed that Zakari (the suspect) was tutored in the art of insurgency at Gombe Forest under the leadership of a fleeing insurgent, one Abba Taura. The police added that he moved to Balmo Forest only three months ago.

The Police High Command called on the citizens in the affected areas to be on guard for any suspicious or strange character fleeing from the forest.

It also called for the understanding and support of the public for the efforts of the Police and other security forces in tackling insurgency, terrorism and other related crimes headlong. It noted that ‘although the war on terrorism is unrelenting, it is certainly not insurmountable and must be won with the cooperation of all.’

Troops on mopping up operations in the forest had, last week, recovered over 10 rifles alongside parts and accessories as well as more than 80 General Purpose Machine Guns, tubes of Rocket Propelled Grenades and Launchers, cables, wires and thousands of rounds of assorted ammunition.

They also recovered uniforms of security agencies, including protective clothing used by the insurgents.

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