- Rescue 1,018 civilians, arrests over 1000 terrorists
- As new Theatre Commander, Maj-Gen. Attahiru reels out successes
The new Theatre Commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole , Maj-Gen. Attahiru relayed recent successes recorded by Nigerian troops in the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations of against Boko Haram terrorists in the North East including killing of over 404 terrorists and rescue of more than 1000 civilians in four months.
Attahiru in a detailed briefing at the weekend in Maiduguri, Borno State, said the success “include on-going operations, arrests made, civilians rescued from hostages of terrorists as well as recent events that took place within the Command”.
Attahiru while briefing journalists on military measures of clearing Sambisa Forest of fleeing insurgents that attack and ambush motorists along Maiduguri-Chibok-Biu road, said that 15 soldiers were lost in the fight against terrorists within the period under review.
While indicating that the terrorists carried out 97 suicide and vehicle borne attacks between March and June this year, Attahiru added: “Our troops however during the same period rescued 1,018 civilians held in various camps of Boko Haram insurgents in the forest and Northern parts of Borno, comprising various villages and communities on shores of Lake Chad.”
He further disclosed that a total of 1,018 Boko Haram suspects were also arrested during the period under review, even as he noted that only 67 Boko Haram suspects have so far voluntarily surrendered to troops.
According to the Commander, the 700 Boko Haram insurgents earlier said to have given up their struggle were actually those that indicated their intention to surrender, the commander said, adding that more villages and settlements are still being cleared within the forest under the special operation code named:
He said the Chikun Gudun operations in northern Borno particularly Marte LGA to clear remnants of Boko Haram terrorists using some islands in the area as enclaves has made meaningful progress with the clearing and destruction of their hideouts at Baranga and Katikima during which 9 terrorists were killed and 17 motorcycles destroyed.
“Troops also cleared Chukun Gudu, Tumbuma Karami and Tumbuma Baba where 13 BHTs were killed while the troops recovered 3 AK 47 rifles, one pump action, 4 FN magazines, 3 AK 47 magazines, 19 rounds of 7.62mm special, 287 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, one barrel of anti-aircraft gun and 4 BHT flags. Other items captured are one tool box, 2 x 10 units of machine gun links, one Toyota Land Cruiser van and 5 Toyota Land Cruiser tyres. Troops also destroyed 2 Toyota Land Cruiser van, one Toyota truck, 2 motorcycles, 6 bicycles and 3 BHT flags in situ”,he said.
Speaking on Operation Deep Punch flagged off on 8 Apr 17 after the completion of the NASAC 2017 conducted within the Sambisa Forest, the Commander said the operation was designed to further consolidate on troops’ domination of the Sambisa Forest and that during the operation, troops progressively cleared Modube, Yiwe, Tokumbere, Lokwansa, Angwa Lawal Nmusa, Tulatuge and Parisu.
Attahiru said “in the period under review, troops conducted several clearance operations to rid the hinterlands of fleeing BHT elements stressing that aggregate of 860 settlements were cleared of terrorists by troops and 404 Boko Haram insurgents were killed”.
He disclosed that a number of encounters with terrorists were successful and promptly defeated by own troops.
He listed some of the major clearance operations are as follows:
- .On 15 Mar 17, troops location at Magumeri was attacked by elements of BHT. Though the attack was repelled, it was not without a cost. Regrettably we lost an officer and 4 soldiers in the attack. Unconfirmed number of BHT were killed in that attack and troops captured one gun truck, 1 anti-aircraft guns, 2 anti-aircraft spare barrels, 2 Rocket Propelled Gun bombs, 31 pieces of explosives, one roll of detonating cord, one 60mm mortar bomb, 160 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) links and 172 rounds of anti-aircraft gun links. Others are 3 spare tyres with rims, one vulcanizing pumping machine, one motorcycle, assorted foodstuffs and drugs, 3 pairs of camouflage uniforms and 12 blankets. Also, on 17 Apr 17, at about 1815 hours, troops deployed at Forward Operational Base Sabon Gari had an encounter with BHT. It is quite unfortunate that during the fierce engagement to quell the attack. Sadly we lost 5 of our soldiers who fought gallantly to defend the location. 9 soldiers who were wounded in the encounter are still receiving medical attention.
- On 7 Jun 17, troops had an encounter with BHT elements who sneaked into Jadari Polo, a community in Maiduguri town. In the process, they set some houses ablaze and attempted to attack an IDP camp in the area. In the ensuing encounter with own troops that went for reinforcement, 3 BHT were killed, one AK 47 rifle and 2 mortar bombs were recovered while normalcy was immediately restored to the area.
- On 20 Jun 17, civilian convoy being escorted to Damboa was ambushed by BHT elements at Abari village along Maiduguri – Damboa Road. Reinforcement was dispatched to the scene to extricate the convoy.
Attahiru noted that some terrorists were recently arrested were found among rescued locals who were held hostage or escaping from fleeing terrorists.
“Unfortunately a developing trend indicates that some fleeing BHTs are now melting into groups of locals in an attempt to stealthily join up in IDP camps as IDPs. A good number of them have been identified and arrested as own troops in collaboration with other para -military agencies meticulously screen the locals before they are admitted into the IDP Camps”, he said.
Speaking further, he said that due to unrelenting efforts of officers and troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, a total of 67 Boko Haram terrorists have willingly surrendered adding that there are indications that there are still a good number of them out there that are willing to give up the irresponsible and criminal activities.
The Theater Commander also called on them to boldly reject the hypocrisy of the Boko Haram leadership, who live in affluence while their foot soldiers die in hunger, to surrender to any military location closest to them.
He gave details of some of the surrendered terrorists during the period under review are as follows:
- On 15 Mar 17, four BHT suspects from the Abubakar Shekau faction escaped from Falafala village in Dikwa Local Government Area and surrendered to troops in Monguno.
- .On 19 Apr 17, two BHTs fighters named Nata Bunu and Abdulrahman Shugaba Kori surrendered to own troops at Wulgo, while on 22 Mar 17, fourteen years old Jidda Babangida, a member of the Mamman Nur faction surrendered to troops in Monguno town after he escaped from Arina. On 18 Apr 17, one Ali Bala (a.k.a) Ali Hassan aged about 15 years old from Sabon Gari also surrendered himself to CJTF office in Biu.
- On 3 July 17, a group of BHT insurgents numbering about 70 surrendered to Operation LAFIYA DOLE troops deployed in the fringes of the Sambisa forest. Another group of 700 insurgents have also indicated interest to willingly surrender to own troops and this is anticipated to materialise soon.
Attahiru also listed other occurrences to include; arrest of fish Smugglers along Doro Naira- Daban Masara axis heading towards Monguno, Arrest of Drug Peddlers and human traffickers by troops deployed at Katarko on routine check point duty, Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship 2017and The Chief of Army Staff First Quarter Conference 2017.
The Commander, however, appreciated and commended the Maritime and Air Components of Operation Lafiya Dole as well as other security agencies for their untiring efforts to ensure that the insurgency is brought to an end while calling on the civilian populace in Borno State to cooperate with the military in the onerous task of ending insurgency in the North East region