Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - For the second time in a week, Nigeria's military Joint Task Force (JTF) battling the Boko Haram Islamic sect in the northern part of the country announced Thursday it had killed two suspected commanders of the sect in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, which is the spiritual base of the sect.
The JTF spokesman, Lt.-Col. Sagir Musa, announced the killing in a statement, saying the suspects were believed to be top commanders of the group in-charge of Mubi and Yola in Adamawa as well as Yobe States, both in the north.
''Two suspected Boko Haram top terrorists commanders were killed along Maiduguri-Kano Road as they tried to escape on Wednesday,'' Lt-Col. Sagir said, adding that the duo were trailed by a combined team of security operatives for many hours before they attempted to escape.
''The suspects were on on their way to Damaturu for a planned special operation to attack civilians and military locations,'' he added.
The spokesman said the task force also arrested eight suspected members of the sect in an earlier operation in Maiduguri Wednesday.
On Monday, the JTF said it killed one suspected top member of the sect and arrested two others during an early morning operation in the northern city of Kano.
Speculations that the sect member who was shot dead was the group's spokesman, Abul Qaqa, has yet to be confirmed by the military.
Boko Haram, which means 'Western education is sacrilege' in the local Hausa language, launched its violent campaign in 2009 following the killing of its leader, Mohammed Yusuf, by the police.
The sect said it is fighting to avenge the death of its leader as well as to establish an Islamic state in the predominantly-Muslim northern Nigeria.
According to the New York-based Human Rights Watch, Boko Haram has killed over 1,400 people in gun and bomb attacks since 2009.
-0- PANA SEG 20Sept2012