Nigerian soldiers repelled at least 10 different attacks by Boko Haram in the past two weeks, a military commander has said.
The commander of the ‘Lafiya Dole’ counterinsurgency operation in north-east Nigeria, Lucky Irabor, said on Thursday that scores of insurgents were killed in the attacks while a few soldiers also lost their lives.
Mr. Irabor, a major general, however said troops under his command are prepared to bring an end to the Boko Haram insurgency.
He called on Boko Haram members to give up their dying struggle and surrender to the Nigeria troops or face the bitter fate that befell their killed colleagues.
Speaking at a press conference in Maiduguri, Mr. Irabor said the troops in the past two weeks raided several camps of the Boko Haram around Borno and Yobe states during which a total of 801 captives were freed.
A total of 27 Boko Haram insurgents were also arrested by the troops during the raids, he said.
He said in the last two weeks, the Nigerian troops have been able to move “deeper into Sambisa Forest on many fronts, under its present Operation Rescue Finale.”
The operation rescue finale was launched last month as a continuation of an existing Operation Crackdown, which was aimed at rescuing all the Chibok girls and other hostages held in Sambisa forest.
The commander mentioned some of the attacks repelled by the soldiers.
He said troops came under heavy attack on November 30 after clearing a camp in Goneri Village of Yobe State.
He said a recent encounter with Boko Haram was on December 5 when the troops cleared Boko Haram terrorists delay positions before capturing Njimia.
“At Njimia, our troops were attacked by the terrorists with AA guns and small arms fire. The attack lasted for about 30 minutes but was successfully repelled with BHT (Boko Haram Terrorists) suffering heavy casualties in both men and equipment before retreating. However, one soldier and 2 CJTF were wounded. The soldier and one CJTF later died while being MEDEVAC to the hospital.
“Yesterday, at about 1600 hours, ISR identified Boko Haram Terrorists massing up to attack own troops at Njimia. Own artillery and air asset were used to engage the Boko Haram Terrorists which led to the destruction of 4 x vehicles, a fuel tanker likely laden with IEDs. The air force also strafed and killed many fleeing insurgents. All the incidents are as shown.
“On the second front, the troops advanced and cleared all BHT camps on their axis before harbouring at Amdaga on the first day. At Amdaga the Boko Haram Terrorists carried out a probing attack on our troops, which was swiftly dealt with before the BHT retreated. The following day, troops cleared and occupied DURE and have been operating in the general area to intercept fleeing Boko Haram Terrorists,” text of Mr. Irabor’s speech sent to PREMIUM TIMES showed.
The commander said the ongoing military operation has put the Boko Haram in total disarray, which he said would be leveraged on by the troops in the frontline.
“I can confirm to you that the BHTs are in total disarray due to our current military operations. Even the Maman Nur and Shekau factions clashed again recently which has further forced the BHT remnants at Kafa to disperse in confusion and desperation.
“Let me therefore, reiterate my earlier admonishment to the misguided BHT elements to give up their ignoble adventure. They are advised to surrender to the military or other security agencies without further delay. I wish to re-assure them that they would be humanely treated in line with international best practices and in accordance with the international humanitarian law.
“Failure to do so would be unpalatable for them. I wish to equally state that plans have been concluded to give those who surrender, a purpose-driven rehabilitation which will make them lead a responsible life with other citizens.”