No fewer than 240 Boko Haram fighters have voluntarily surrendered to the Nigerian Army after they came under intense fire from troops, authorities said Monday.
“The firepower of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) ground troops and joint Air operation during the Operation GAMA AIKI forced a massive defection of remnants of the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT),” the Chief Military Public Information Officer, Muhammad Dole, said in a statement.
“Sustained offensive operations and blockage of logistics supply routes made the terrorists’ locations untenable; as a result, BHT and their families abandoned their locations and surrendered with their arms to the nearest locations of the ground forces in the operation areas.”
Mr. Dole, a colonel, said the mass defection took place in Bagasola town, in neighbouring Chad, considered by troops as Sector 2 Area of Responsibility (AOR).
The statement added, “A total of Two Hundred and Forty (240) Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) surrendered some of them with arms and ammunition. They are being profiled and camped in Bagasola. During his operational visit to Sector 2 AOR, the Commander MNJTF, Major General Lamidi Adeosun addressed the ex -BHT and their families.
“The Commander commended the leaders of the ex- BHT for their courage and taking the right decision to abandoned terrorism and insurgency for normal life. He assured them of safety and good care as long as they remain in the camps. He also urged them to encourage their colleagues in the bush to stop fighting and join them in the camps.
“This peaceful disarming and profiling of the ex-BHT by the MNJTF forces, clearly demonstrated extent of professionalism and adherence to International Humanitarian Laws and Laws of Armed Conflict in combat operations” he added. The Commander MNJTF donated token cash for purchase of two cows and 10 bags of assorted food stuff for each of the 2 groups for the welfare and up keep of the ex-BHT and their families.
“This brings the total number of surrendered BHT to MNJTF troops in sector 2 to four hundred and sixty-four.
“While addressing a team of International Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating in the camps, the Commander praised their commitment and sacrifice in discharging their humanitarian duties. He implored them to mobilise more resources and manpower, as more BHT are expected to defect and join their colleagues in the camps.
“The ex-BHT are expected to receive trainings in different skills and small businesses as scheduled by government agencies and NGOs.
“In another development, the Commander MNJTF made presentation of cash to representatives of officers and soldiers who were killed in Action (KIA) and Wounded in Action (WIA) during Operation GAMA AIKI.
“As part of encouragement and alleviation of suffering to the victims’ families and wounded personnel, the Headquarters, MNJTF made provisions of One Million CFA (1,000,000.00 cfa) only for each family of KIA and Five Hundred Thousand CFA (500,000.00 cfa) only for each WIA in the battle field.
“During the presentations in Sector 2 Bagasola (Chad) and Sector 4 Diffa (Niger), General Adeosun prayed for the souls of the departed colleagues for the supreme sacrifice they made in the service to humanity and praised the courage and bravery displayed by the WIA.
“He equally consoled the families of the KIA and prayed for quick recuperation of the WIA. In sector 2 Bagasola, Commander was accompanied during the visit to ex-BHT camps by the Coordinator/Chief of Staff of the Chadian Ground Forces and Red Barrettes, Major General Ismael Hour, Deputy Commander, MNJTF, Brigadier General Musa Muhammad Djour and Senior Prefect of Bagasola.”