Lagos, Nigeria - The military Joint Task Force (JTF) battling the Islamic sect Boko Haram said on Sunday it killed 20 members of the sect following an attempted attack on a military barracks at Monguno in Nigeria's northern Borno State in the early hours of the day.
The JTF Spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, said in a statement that the clash occurred some 200 kilometres from the state capital, Maiduguri, which is considered the spiritual base of the sect.
'The attack was repelled by the (military) at the outskirt of the barracks. The encounter led to the death of 20 Boko Haram terrorists, 3 four-wheel vehicles and 8 motor cycles used by the terrorists were destroyed,' the spokesman said.
He also said seven assault rifles, 10 Rocket Propelled Grenade, large quantity of assorted ammunition and eight assorted magazines were taken from the attackers.
In a related development, Lt.-Col. Musa has confirmed the arrest of 'two high profile Boko Haram Commanders' who were believed to be responsible for the explosions in Maiduguri on Thursday, adding: 'Those arrested are in JTF custody undergoing interrogation.'
Meanwhile, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has again denied the purported cease-fire and dialogue with the federal government by his group.
In a new video released by the sect, Shekau also denied Sheikh Abdulazeez, who has been claiming to speak on behalf of the sect in recent times.
'There is this wicked rumour making the rounds that we have dialogued with government of Nigeria which led to a ceasefire on our part. We have also heard how some of our operations and attacks are being credited to criminals. As such the security agents have been killing
our armed members in the name of criminals. We have seen how our members who were out on holy mission are being attacked and killed with the label of criminals.
‘We are telling the world that whoever kills any of our members in the name of being criminals, would surely be avenged unless such person repents now. We are stating it categorically that we are not in any dialogue or ceasefire agreement with anyone. And we have never asked
anybody in the name Abdulazeez to represent me, Abubakar Shekau, the leader of this movement,' the private Vanguard newspaper Sunday quoted the sect leader as saying in his video.
Since launching its violent campaign in 2009, Boko Haram, which means Western education is forbidden in the local Hausa language, has killed over 3,000 people in gun and bomb attacks, in the predominantly-Muslim northern Nigeria.
The sect says it is fighting to establish an Islamic State in secular Nigeria, among other stated objectives.