The warning by the General Officer Commanding 1 Mechanized Division, Kaduna, Maj.-Gen. Garba Wahab, came after the Joint Military Taskforce killed three suspected members of Boko Haram in a gunfight in Kano on Tuesday.
Wahab, who was on a familiarisation tour to his command, said at the Bukavu Barracks, Kano on Wednesday that intelligence reports had indicated a possible by suspected Boko Haram members during the Christian festivities, from Friday to Monday.
Book Haram claimed responsibility for the January 20 coordinated bombings which left 185 people dead in Kano.
The GOC, who praised Kano residents for assisting the JTF in its fight against terrorism in the state, assured that everyone would be protected during the Easter and beyond.
He said, “If security situation in Kano is guaranteed, then we will get security situation back in Nigeria. I want to appeal to the average Nigerian, especially the good people of Kano to realise that the soldiers are out to ensure their safety and security.
“Nobody is out to harass or provoke anybody, rather we want to be sure that our job is done professionally. And we all need to realize that the guys we are dealing with are living among us, they are fellow Nigerians like us.
“So, it takes a lot for us to be able to fish them out. If we don’t do a thorough job, the possibility of these people escaping from one point to the other will be high. And if they perpetrate what happened here in Kano second time—what happened on January 20, if it is repeated, I’m sure the average person will write the Nigerian Army off; and we don’t want that to happen.”
Army spokesman, Lt. Ikediche Iweha, said on Wednesday the three suspected Boko Haram members were killed by soldiers at a checkpoint while trying to escape after snatching a Honda Accord from its owner.
Iweha said in a desperate attempt to escape from being apprehended, the suspects opened fire on soldiers at the roadblock in an undisclosed location.
He said, “At about 2130hrs, a JTF checkpoint was alerted by an afflicted member of the public whose car was snatched at gunpoint at his residence by terrorist elements as he entered his house.
“The car was to be used possibly in the next few days for a suicide bombing mission. Based on the tip-off, the JTF alerted all its units within the area to look out for a Honda Accord 2008 model with the colour and description accurately given.
“The troops at all JTF checkpoints responded with all alertness and within 20 minutes, one of our checkpoints spotted the vehicle in question.
“The vehicle was flagged down for checking, but the terrorist elements on sighting the JTF opened fire in a desperate bid to get away.
“Troops at the checkpoint responded to stop the criminal terrorist elements from getting away.
“During the brief but intense encounter, three of the terrorist elements were gunned down.
“An immediate search conducted on the vehicle revealed that the occupants had 2 AK 47 Riffles, one pistol, one locally manufactured pistol, 47 rounds of 7.62mm special and six rounds of 9mm.”