The Boko Haram elements, now operating under the notorious Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), had in the last two weeks or thereabout, been occupying Baga and a few other communities in the northern part of the state.
Confirming the feat in a statement yesterday, Army spokesperson, Brigadier-General Sani Kukasheka Usman said, troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade, which is the vanguard of the great exploit, “dealt the decisive blow that neutralised several terrorists along that axis despite prior warning to them by some unpatriotic elements.”
He said: “The Special Forces commenced clearance operations on 28th December, 2018, where they cleared Zare, Gudumbali, Kukawa and Kross Kauwa without any resistance from suspected terrorists.
“However, at Kross Kauwa, the unfortunate ISWAP terrorists made a costly mistake of raising their ugly heads. In professional fashion, the troops exploited the situation to instantly and decisively neutralise the insurgents and captured some equipment.
“Though some of the terrorists attempted to infiltrate troops’ camp at Monguno, the gallant troops lured them and neutralised many of them and recovered some arms and ammunition.”
The statement further said, “the troops, who are in high spirit, had since linked up with other forces in Baga where they cleared the Naval Base and the surrounding areas.
“Unfortunately, in the process, the Special Forces lost one officer and a soldier, while five other soldiers sustained injuries. The remains of the two fallen heroes and the wounded have since been evacuated.
“The injured soldiers are in stable condition and receiving medical attention. The troops are now busy consolidating and clearing vestiges of the terrorists within the northern Borno state axis with special emphasis on the Lake Chad region.”
“The Special Forces attained these great strides in close operational synergy with Air Task Force of the Nigerian Air Force who gave intelligence and close air support by bombarding the ISWAP terrorists.
“The outstanding and daredevil exploits of the NAF’s pilots, gave more courage and firepower to the troops. Similarly, the Nigerian Navy Special Forces were not left out of this gallant efforts,” Usman further noted.
In a related development, the Army said it has intelligence report that the insurgents were further planning to infiltrate some villages in the fringes of Maiduguri city.
The infiltration by the elements, according to the Army, was to intensify their psychological war and instil fear in the citizens.
Deputy Director, Public Relations, Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Onyena Nwachukwu, disclosed this in a statement, saying they have clandestinely been going about threatening innocent residents and warning them to vacate their homes.
“So far, out of fear, several inhabitants have moved out of their ancestral homes. Consequently, we wish to inform all well-meaning citizens, especially within Maiduguri metropolis and its environs, to promptly report the presence of suspicious persons or avail the security agencies of information about such persons.
“Failure to report will be viewed seriously as it is tantamount to collaboration with the Boko Haram terrorists. Such compromising persons, when found, will be treated like the terrorists.
“Members of the public are enjoined to please cooperate and support ongoing operations to weed out the infiltrating terrorists and their sympathisers,” Nwachukwu pleaded.
Atiku’s plan for Boko Haram
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, has said, contrary to false campaign against him, he has better plans to defeat the insurgents if given the mandate in next month’s election.
In a statement signed by his Media Adviser, Paul Ibe, Atiku said: “Our attention has been drawn to a video being surreptitiously circulated by the Buhari Media Centre, under a satanic pseudonym, ‘Make Nigeria Worse Again’, in which they falsely accuse the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, of planning to cede parts of Borno state to Boko Haram in a peace deal.”
He noted that, the message was completely false and only shows “the level of dirty politics and fake news the Muhammadu Buhari administration is prepared to engage in, in its desperation to cling to power despite its widespread unpopularity.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the only plans that His Excellency Atiku Abubakar has for Boko Haram, is the total defeat of the terrorist sect once and for all. Atiku Abubakar is not one for ‘technical’ defeats. He has said publicly and privately that if he is elected, both Boko Haram and ISWAP would be wiped off the face of the planet.
“Indeed, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has criticised the Buhari administration policy of releasing so-called ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members and tied the resurgence of terrorism in the nation to that ill-advised programme.”
“Under an Atiku Abubakar administration, every terrorist that is caught will be tried in accordance with the provisions of the law. Atiku Abubakar has zero tolerance for terrorists and has detailed his plan to equip the military to deal decisively with these threats to our national security once and for all.
“It is worth noting however that this fake news video began circulating soon after Vice President Yemi Osinbajo commissioned the Buhari Media Centre on Tuesday, January 8, 2019 in Gwarinpa, Abuja.
“It is very doubtful that this is a coincidence and we call on the public to be wary of such videos and other online propaganda from the Buhari Media Centre to discredit the PDP Presidential candidate,” the statement concluded.