The Nigerian Army has discovered several bomb-making factories in Borno state belonging to the Islamic State-affiliated jihadist group Boko Haram.
Vanguard reports, “Troops of 7 Division Strike Group Team B on clearance operations of the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists at Kumshe made startling discoveries of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making factories replete with some equipment,” said Col. Sani Usman, director of Nigerian army public relations.
“Recall that last Tuesday the Nigerian Army’s 33 Artillery Brigade, said it arrested [four] persons suspected to be Boko Haram terrorist’s spies that include the one that carried out surveillance on the Madalla church before it was bombed,” notes the report.
The army has identified the four men as Victor Moses, Abubakar Shettima, Salisu Mohammed Bello, and Umar Sadiq Madaki. They are accused of conducting surveillance for the Boko Haram terrorists on potential targets for suicide bombings or other attacks, notes Vanguard.
Agence France-Presse (AFP) has learned from a U.S. official that the Pentagon is considering deploying military advisers to train local forces to combat Boko Haram in violence-tormented Nigeria.
In a statement issued last Friday, the United States Africa Command (USAFRICOM) revealed that the Obama administration has offered to send special operations troops to help Nigeria combat Boko Haram jihadists.
According to Reuters, the statement said:
At the request of the Nigerian government, the SOCAFRICA (Special Operations Command Africa) component of USAFRICOM conducted a preliminary assessment regarding the feasibility of resuming a limited advise-and-assist mission alongside select Nigerian units.
The deployment would consist of a “platoon-sized” team, typically meaning a group of between 12-30 troops, noted USAFRICOM.
The New York Times first reported the possible deployment on Friday, saying the Pentagon had recommended sending “dozens” of noncombat special operations advisers to Nigeria’s Borno state capital, Maiduguri, “to help Nigerian military planners carry out a more effective counterterrorism campaign.”
A U.S. defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reportedly acknowledged that “the operation was still being discussed.”
“I don’t think anyone is ready to approve anything today,” the official told AFP. “Recommendations were made, these are still being assessed.”
The U.S. already has about 40 service members in Nigeria, where they are carrying out various operations, including embassy support and military training.
Moreover, the U.S. has reportedly deployed about 250 military personnel to neighboring Cameroon, where most of them are operating U.S. military drones to monitor Boko Haram operations in the region.
Since its insurgency started in 2009, Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), has expanded beyond Nigeria to Cameroon, Niger, and Chad as the militaries of those countries have supported efforts to eradicate the jihadists.
According to the United Nations and Amnesty International, Boko Haram, which seeks to carve out a strict Islamic state in northern Nigeria, has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced 2.8 million in West Africa since 2009.