World Bulletin / News Desk
Nigeria on Wednesday announced that at least 135 militants had given themselves up to authorities in the restive northeastern region.
"A total of 135 terrorists have yesterday evening surrendered along with equipment to troops around Biu Local Government Area," the defense headquarters said in a statement, referring to an area in Borno State.
It added that 88 submitted themselves in Bun Yadi in Yobe State and another group of 45 militants around Michika in Adamawa State.
"They are all being interrogated and processed in conformity with the dictates of standard best practices," said the army.
Defense headquarters announced on Sunday that several Boko Haram militants had surrendered amid repeated army attacks on their positions in Konduga, a town located just 50km from Maiduguri, Borno State's provincial capital.
Leader's fate unknown
The military confirmed earlier Wednesday killing a man described as an impersonator of "deceased" Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau during coordinated air and land operations conducted by its troops.
"In the course of these encounters, one Mohammed Bashir – who has been acting or posing in videos as the deceased Abubakar Shekau, the eccentric character known as leader of the group – died," it said in a statement, to which were attached photographs purportedly showing the slain lookalike.
Nigeria's Information Minister Labaran Maku said Wednesday that his country prefers to see Boko Haram members lay down their arms and embrace peace than celebrating the purported killing of its leader.
"Nigerian government would be happier if the Boko Haram leader and his group laid down their weapons and embraced peace,” Maku told reporters following a meeting of the country's federal executive council in Abuja.
Nigeria's secret police have repeatedly said that Shekau had long been killed and that whoever assumes such name within the group is just an impersonator.
But Maku said Nigeria is not willing to celebrate the death of Shekau or his lookalike. "For us, it is immaterial if the leader of the terrorist group is killed or not," he said.
"We want them to drop their weapons and embrace peace. We want them to drop their weapons, stop killing their parents and innocent people and accept peace," he added.
$1bn to fight Boko Haram
Nigeria's Senate Committee on Finance has endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan's request for a $1 billion to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
"This committee recommends that the Senate approve the request...to aid the counterinsurgency measures of the government," Committee Chairman Senator Mohammed Makarfi said Wednesday night.
The parliament had last week referred Jonathan's request to the committee, more than two month after the president requested parliamentary approval for the foreign loan which he said would be used to strengthen the military in the fight against insurgency in the north.
In a letter to parliament dated July 17, the president said the money "is needed to upgrade the equipment and logistics of our armed forces and security services to enable them more forcefully confront this serious threat."
In recent weeks, Boko Haram militants have overrun several towns in Nigeria's restive northeastern region.
Outlawed in Nigeria, Turkey and the U.S., Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths and scores of violent attacks since the group became violent in 2009.Last Mod: 25 Eylül 2014, 09:37