A terror group ‘Darul Salam’ has reemerged and scores of its members have surrendered to officers of the Nigerian military deployed to Uttu in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, HumAngle can report.
Toto local government is located about 140 kilometres from Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.
HumAngle also gathered that during a clearance operation in the area, the Nigerian military discovered an explosive-making facility in the camp of the budding terror group, indicating how dangerous its members could become if nothing is done to stop their activities.
In May, the Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, raised alarm on the reemergence of the Darus Salam sect and attributed recent kidnappings and violent crimes in the state to the group.
The discovery was made on August 26 during a clearance patrol by troops of Operation Whirl Stroke following an intelligence report.
In 2018, the Defence Headquarters launched Operation Whirl Stroke, a joint military operation in Benue, parts of Nasarawa and Taraba states to tackle insecurity.
HumAngle analysis of two pictures of the factory shared by the Defence headquarters revealed what appears to be locally fabricated rockets with crude flight control fins and a number of S-5 unguided rockets used by “some” combat aircrafts of the Nigerian Air Force.
The S-5 discovered by the military are most likely unexploded rockets from previous Air Force rocket strikes in the area.
Almeen Yaqub, a security expert tracking military operations said the rockets looked like the S-5M rocket from a UB-32 launcher pod used on Nigerian Air Force’s Russian made gunships and some of the Alpha Jets that don’t use SNEB rockets.
He added that the expertise for fabricating rockets may have been imported from radical non-state actors such as Boko Haram.
In November 2015, Nigerian military special forces backed by close air support raided a Boko Haram rocket fabrication factory in Damboa Local Government in Borno State, Northeast Nigeria.
John Enenche, a Major General and Coordinator Defence Media Operations, in a statement said not less than 410 members of the Darul Salam terrorist group, including women and children, surrendered to the troops during the operation.
“Following aggressive intensive kinetic operations at identified bandits’ enclaves, not less than 410 members of the Darul Salam terrorist group, including women and children, surrendered to the troops of Operation Whirl stroke and other security agencies deployed at Uttu in Toto Local Government Area of Nasarawa State,” Enenche said.
“This development took place on 25 August 2020.”
The Defence Media Operations spokesperson confirmed in the statement that troops of Operation Whirl Stroke on August 26, stormed a Darul Salam terrorists bomb-making factory following actionable technical and human intelligence on the activities of the terrorists in the general area.
He further disclosed that the troops in the course of the operation, “recovered several Improvised Explosive Device making materials at the location.”
The items recovered, according to Enenche, included two scales, six rocket launcher bombs, one bag of fertilizer, half a bag of gunpowder, 10 locally made hand grenades, one Rocket Propelled Grenade bomb fuse, one locally made rocket launcher, two Improvised Explosive Devices,13 improvised rocket bombs, amongst others.
The camp was subsequently destroyed while troops are equally combing the surrounding forests for fleeing members of the sect, he added.
HumAngle reports that Nigerian Air Force attack helicopters and ISR aircraft operating from Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport are also providing air support to ground troops of Operation Whirl Stroke in Nasarawa State.
The military is expanding presence in Nasarawa, the Nigerian Army Special Forces Command Barracks is strategically located in Doma Local Government Area and, a few weeks ago, the Nigerian Police inaugurated the Police Mobile Force Training College, Endeh Hills, in Nasarawa-Eggon Local Government Area of the state.