Taraba state governor, Darius Ishaku Dickson has said that some intelligence reports have indicated that some fleeing Boko Haram members from the dismantled Sambisa forest are now finding a safe haven in Suntai forest of the state.
The governor said the axis, also known in Taraba as the Bali axis, has been infamous with “kidnappers, armed robbers and rapists”, which needs the urgent attention of the Nigerian Army.
Mr Dickson said this while playing host to the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 82 Division Nigerian Army, Adamu Abubakar on Thursday, who was in Taraba on an operational visit to 93 Battalion in Takum town.
The visit of the GOC, was at the instance of the state governor to parley on the intermittent clashes between herdsmen and farmers, leading to banditry activities.
The governor told the visiting GOC, a Major General, that “We invited you to thank you and your troops that are tirelessly working here in Taraba State. We will use the opportunity to give you first hand security situation brief.
“Heads of security agencies in the State and other members of the State’s Security Council will also brief you with the view to finding a lasting solution to intermittent and unyielding clashes between Fulani- herdsmen and farmers in the State.
“Similarly, we are awfully disturb, there are reports of fleeing (suspected) Boko Haram Terrorists from Sambisa forest, that are now finding a safe haven in Suntai’s forest in the southern part of Taraba State.”
He said there has also been a noticeable presence of sleeper cells in the communities. “The GOC, the situation is worrisome; we know how proactive and decisive your COAS is on security threats across the nation. So, we want you to pass this information to him with the view to having a major military exercise in Taraba State, to destroy the bandits, especially in the notorious Suntai and Bali forest.”
The GOC was accompanied in the visit by the Commander 13 Brigade, Brigadier General Bulama Biu, the Commander 82 Division Provost Group Colonel Ahmadu Abubakar, the Commanding Officer 93 Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Ibrahim Gambari, the Commanding Officer 20 Battalion Lieutenant Colonel Awwal Abdullahi and the representative of the Commander Military Intelligence Brigade Major Ige Titus.
They discussed the general security situation of the state with the Governor and members of the State’s Security Council during their visit to the Government House, according to a statement by deputy director of the Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa.
Mr Abubakar assured the Governor of the determination of the Division to checkmate the security challenges in the State.
“We will intensify whatever we have been doing to ensure security in Taraba State. I will surely pass your request to the COAS Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.”