Fighter jets have been deployed in Yobe State as part of the crackdown on Boko Haram insurgents who killed 41 students at the College of Agriculture in Gujba. The Federal Government has also ordered the military, the police and other security agencies to protect all schools in the state.
There are indications that the state government may not close schools following the killings.
The Defence Headquarters has directed the Air Force and the Artillery Unit of the Army to join forces with the infantry troops, The Nation learnt.
For the third day running, the troops have engaged Boko Haram members in a battle in the forests between Yobe and Borno states, a source said.
The source, who pleaded not to be named, said: Air raid is a vital component of our manhunt for insurgents still lurking in some forests in this axis.
“And with the backing of the Artillery Unit, heavy bombardment has been going on in these forests in the last three days.
“So far, we have been able to dislodge the camps of the insurgents, most of which were just being established along the Borno-Yobe axis.”
The directive to protect schools covers day and boarding schools.
It was gathered that both the Federal and Yobe State governments believe that closing schools will amount to bowing to the wish of the insurgents to stop any form of Western education in the Northeast.
A government source said: “There are some suggestions that the schools should be closed in the state again, but we are not thinking along this line because this might be a defeatist approach. We know that parents and children may be disillusioned but we cannot give up to insurgency.
“We are, however, waiting for a comprehensive security plan from the military and other security agencies on how to provide adequate security in all schools.
“What we have done is to put all communities on the alert to notify the military and security agencies of any suspicious movement.
“The encouragement the state government is getting from all citizens of the state borders on the need to cooperate and resist the insurgents.”
Defence spokesman Brig.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said: “We have a mandate from the Federal Government to protect all schools in Yobe State.
“We have mapped out plans to secure the schools and prevent a repeat of this dastardly act.”
On the combing of forests for insurgents, Gen. Olukolade said: “The operation is still on; we will let the public know accordingly.”