By ABDULAZIZ ABDULAZIZ
Some soldiers arrested in the crack down on Boko Haram funders have disclosed the identities of their civilian collaborators, according to sources.
The arrests of the officers came after an in-depth investigation into connections between Boko Haram members and military officers, that they helped to infiltrate into the army and sabotage efforts to end insurgency in Nigeria.
Daily Trust had reported how the Federal Government launched an operation against suspected financiers and collaborators of Boko Haram.
The ongoing inter-agency operation is being led by a top intelligence officer, with an army general leading a task team comprising military personnel and staff from intelligence services.
Multiple sources informed Daily Trust that the closely-guarded operation is being coordinated by Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), in collaboration with the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
As part of the operation, billions of naira traced to businesses belonging to persons of interest have been blocked in banks in series of “post no debit” letters sent out to banks by the CBN and NFIU.
Twenty soldiers who were arrested in the operation are currently being detained in Borno State.
“About 20 of them were arrested in Borno and detained. In the course of interrogation they revealed a lot including the identity of some of their civilian collaborators who were also arrested,” a source told Daily Trust.
The ongoing operation, Daily Trust gathered, is the first phase of activities lined up by the task team to crack the riddle of how Boko Haram, kidnappers and other criminals fund their operations and launder the proceeds.
When contacted, spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Major General Mohammed Yerima, said he was not aware of the arrest of army officers in connection with allegation of collaboration with Boko Haram elements.
He also referred the question on the military’s involvement in the operation to the DSS, saying issues to do with arrests on charges of terrorism financing is under the purview of the DSS.
Spokesperson of the DSS, Peter Afunaya, when contacted on Friday, promised to make findings on the issue and revert to our reporter. He, however, did not get back as of the time of filing this report. He did not respond to a text message sent to him to follow up and ignored repeated phone calls thereafter. (Daily Trust)