The Nigerian military has vowed to do everything possible to defend the country against Boko Haram in the face of rapid territorial gains by the sect in the last two weeks.
“In the light of the current challenges in the counter-terrorism efforts in the north east which has understandably elicited a sense of apprehension among citizens and even foreign allies, the DHQ wishes to reiterate ….that everything will be done to reverse the situation and defeat the rampaging terrorists,” said defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade.
Boko Haram is reportedly in control of Gwosa, Borno State, and has fought to take over Bama, another strategic town in the state, displacing thousands of residents as soldiers also retreat from the area.
Under intense fighting more than a week ago, at least 480 Nigerian troops crossed the border into Cameroon. The military said the move was a “tactical manoeuvre”.
Boko Haram has threatened an attack to capture Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, stirring concerns among Nigerians and foreign allies about the capacity of the military to wade off any significant attack.
In a statement Friday, the defence headquarters vowed every action to defend the nation and defeat the extremist group.
“While welcoming all the concerns shown by Nigerians and a section of the international community following the increased menace and activities of terrorists, it is necessary to reassure all that the Nigerian Armed Forces is more than ever determined and committed to the defence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria, regardless of any odd,” the statement said.
The military said it was conscious of what is at stake if it fails to reverse Boko Haram’s gains.
“It is not only the pride and reputation of the military that is at stake but that of the entire nation. We therefore urge our citizens not to lose hope or be disenchanted but to remain steadfast and supportive of the military as all steps are being taken to ensure the success of the counter-insurgency operations, especially at this crucial time when our sovereignty is being challenged,” the military said.