By SADIQ ABUBAKAR, Maiduguri
In recent times, more of the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists have begun to surrender as troops of Operation Lafiya Dole intensify clearance operations to further decimate more unrepentant terrorists and rescue more captives.
This is according to the Nigerian Army in a statement on Tuesday by Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, Army operations media coordinator. It stated that the impetus is in pursuance of its unwavering resolve and commitment to wiping out terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling and other sundry crimes across the nation. “The gallant troops of the Nigerian Army have continue to decimate terrorists and other criminal elements across the various theatres of operations nationwide.”
Colonel Iliyasu highlighted that:
On February 25, 2020, troops of 144 Battalion deployed in Madagali LGA of Adamawa State prevailed against and indeed decimates some Boko Haram criminals who attempted to infiltrate a defensive location occupied by the troops. In the aftermath of the encounter, the troops neutralised 3 of the maraudering criminals while many others are believed to have escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.
In continuation of their coordinated clearance operations, troops of Strong Response Area Ngoshe in Gwoza LGA of Borno State same day effectively cleared Gava – Chinene Road and the surrounding Villages where they made contact with a pocket of Boko Haram criminals.
However, the cowardly insurgents fled in disarray abandoning a woman and her daughter who were hitherto held captives by them. Preliminary investigation reveals that the rescued captives have been in the Boko Haram captivity for two years. Rescued captives were handed over to Internally Displaced Persons’ Camp officials for further management.
On February 27, 2020, while acting on credible information from the locals, troops of 271 Tank Battalion deployed at Kopa Village in Madagali LGA of Adamawa State mobilized to Maikadiri Village where it was reported that some Boko Haram criminals had abducted 3 women. The troops pursued the fleeing insurgents and established contact thus forcing them to abandon their victims and escape in disarray. Thereafter, the three victims were successfully rescued unhurt and reunited with their families.
On same day (27 February 2020), the combined troops of 19 Brigade, 127 Battalion, 130 Battalion, 707 Special Forces Battalion, 101 Battalion, Army Headquarters Strike Group, 375 Artillery Regiment and elements of Headquarters Sector three Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team under Operation AYISO TAMONUMA conducted a massive clearance operation to Baga and Doron Baga in Kukawa LGA of Borno State. During the operation, troops engaged some plundering Boko Haram criminals who evidently could not match the troops’ superior fire power but rather fled in disarray with possible gunshot wounds. Nevertheless, troops recovered 111 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition at the location.
Furthermore, an Improvised Explosive Device planted by the criminals along Mile 4 – Baga – Doron Baga Road was discovered and safely detonated by their Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team while troops also cleared Baga Town, Fish Dam and Doron Baga general area of any Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals’ presence.
Also, in continuation of the clearance operation, same troops rescued a septuagenarian and a mentally ill woman along their axis of advance.
Troops have also recovered one burnt G3 Rifle, four rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, one cutlass, some pairs of military and Boko Haram criminals’ uniforms, one pair of desert boot, and two pairs of black military boots.
Other items recovered included one mobile phone, one bandolier, one water bladder, two damaged camp beds, 269 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, two Rocket Propelled Gun bombs, one 122mm Unexploded Ordnance, three Pressure Plates (vehicle borne Improvised Explosive Device) and a Boko Haram criminals’ flag.
Following the successful repelling of a Boko Haram attack on troops of 19 Brigade under Operation AYISO TAMONUMA in Baga Town on March 1, 2020 where the criminal insurgents were decisively dealt with by the courageous troops, in the early hours of March 2, 2020, the daring troops conducted exploitation along the withdrawal route of the criminals and recovered three Boko Haram criminals’ dead bodies, two AK 47 Rifles, two AK 47 Rifle magazines loaded with 10 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 310 rounds of 7.62mm (PKT) ammunition, 173 rounds of 7.62mm (linked) NATO, four tails of exploded 60mm Mortar bombs, one Techno phone and two camel bags.
Troops also observed blood stains, scattered human brains as well as signs that indicated dragging of several killed Boko Haram criminals’ bodies. However, two soldiers were wounded in action during the encounter, and were evacuated to a military medical facility where they are positively responding to treatment.
In a similar vein, on February 26, 2020, the combined troops of 152 Battalion and 21 Special Armoured Brigade deployed in Bama LGA of Borno State, in conjunction with elements of Borno State Civilian Joint Task Force conducted clearance operation to Bula Gudi and Safa Villages, both of the same LGA.
Expectedly, the criminal Boko Haram elements hibernating in the area fled their enclaves on sighting the troops. Nevertheless, the unrelenting troops embarked on a hot pursuit of the escaping criminals, neutralizing two of them and recovered three bicycles, and two Boko Haram flags among other items. The troops have also rescued nine women and 16 children who were hitherto held hostages by the criminals.
In another development, on February 26, 2020, troops of Strong Response Area Ngoshe, Gwoza LGA of Borno State conducted a cordon and search operation at an abandoned Boko Haram settlement in Kudeli. The troops discovered some Improvised Explosive Device materials abandoned by Boko Haram criminals in a dilapidated structure. The recovered materials were safety detonated by the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team attached to the troops.
Also, one suicide vest and one Improvised Explosive Device earlier recovered by troops of 25 Brigade during a meeting engagement with Boko Haram terrorists at Njaba along Damboa – Bale Road were also safely detonated by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team of the Unit.
On March 1, 2020, troops of 192 Battalion deployed at Gwoza successfully sprung an ambush at a Boko Haram Crossing Point at Fadagwe Muni general area. During the encounter, one Boko Haram criminal was neutralized while several others were believed to have escaped with gunshot wounds. Items recovered at the ambush site include: one motorcycle, some clothing materials, two 25 litres jerricans containing honey, some food items, herbs, one machete and three axes.
Earlier on February 24, 2020, two Boko Haram criminals namely Abu Abor (61 years old) and Abubakar Hassan (51 years old) both of Chadian nationality surrendered to troops of Army Super Camp 11 Gamboru in Ngala LGA of Borno State after sneaking out of Bagadaza in the Lake Chad.
The two suspects revealed that they were in the Shekau Faction and had to escape due to overwhelming troops’ artillery bombardments and ground assaults for months that have fractured their command structure forcing many among their leadership to desert thus leaving them to their fate.
They further expressed their regret for the heinous crimes they committed against security agents as well as civilians and begged for forgiveness. However, it is worthy to note that, the surrendering of the 2 Boko Haram terrorists of Chadian nationality have further given credence to the presence of foreign mercenaries among the insurgents.
Meanwhile, in the North Central region, on February 27, 2020, the combined troops of 176 and 177 Guards Battalions under Operation MESA while on patrol at Anda Forest, a border area between Nasarawa and Kogi States made contact with a group of bandits in the forest. After a brief encounter, the bandits fled abandoning one AK 47 Rifle, 29 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, one AK 47 Rifle magazine, 5 mobile phones, 5 torch lights and 2 bluetooth speakers.
The statement added that “the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to reassure the general public of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to continue to execute our constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a better, safe and secure Nigeria. He also thanks all well-meaning Nigerians for their unabating support, goodwill and understanding towards the officers and men of the Nigerian Army.
“You are kindly requested to disseminate above information to the general public for awareness. Thank you for your usual cooperation.”