The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, on Friday said following extensive mop-up operations, Nigerian troops sacked Boko Haram terrorists from Michika – one of the remaining two local government areas in Adamawa under the control of the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The Defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, in a statement said the operation, which involves a search for arms and stranded terrorists and other casualties, commenced after terrorists operating there were dislodged.
Mr. Olukolade said, “The main assault on terrorist’s main positions was concluded yesterday as many of them died in the combat.”
He also said that some troops, who sustained injuries during the mop-up operation, were receiving necessary medical attention while others continued with the pursuit of those who are on the run from the town.
Mr. Olukolade said normalcy has been restored to the troubled town, which was overrun by the Boko Haram group early January.
President Jonathan had on Thursday, at a campaign rally in Yola, also said Michika had been recaptured by troops.
He said his administration is committed to the liberation of the state.
“Adamawa will be the first state that will be freed,” Mr. Jonathan had said. “As we are talking to you Michika Local Government area has been recaptured by our gallant soldiers. The remaining Local Government Madagali will Insha Allah be recaptured very soon.”
But displaced members of the Michika community say they are skeptical of the claims by both the DHQ and President Jonathan.
Some of the villagers say they would not return until the whole villages are recaptured.
In a telephone chat with our reporters, the displaced residents claim information at their disposal suggest the insurgents still control 80 per cent of the area.
A displaced community leader, Emmanuel Kwache, said, “We are yet to believe the claims by the president that troops have finally liberated our local government Michika, I don’t think so.
“We can only believe if your reporters will be taken there and the areas that were recaptured or liberated are televised.
“For almost four months, the area has been under Boko Haram territory, while thousands of our people fled and hundred others trapped in mountains.
“You know, for sometimes, we have been hearing the rumour that soldiers are in Michika, I think it is just political statement to woo our sympathy and canvass for votes,” Mr. Kwache noted.
Also corroborating, a 45-year old fleeing father of three, who is now taking refuge in Uba area, Kainu Vandu, said, “We heard that they (soldiers) are only patrolling Michika town. I am yet to believe that because it was the same story they have been feeding us with for almost two weeks now.
“Initially, we were told by soldiers that they had since mounted their base at Marrarraban Garta, until these boys (Boko Haram) struck and ransacked all our villages.
“Let me tell you, there is no presence of soldiers in nearby villages where the boys are moving freely. Places like Mayo Wandu,Mararraban Garta, Monday market, Mbororo, Garta, Kamale, Liddle and other villages.
“They (soldiers) might be patrolling Michika town, not the outskirts and suburbs because as I am talking to you, they are at Mayo Wandu, battle ready in their base,” Mr. Vandu said.
Wuro Wandu is about 10 kilometres from Michika.
Also, another displaced Michika resident, Adamu Kamale, said, “We heard soldiers have entered Michika town, though I have not gone there, and you know it’s a gradual process.
“For now, they (soldiers ) have entered Michika town, but for the rest of the areas I cannot confirm,” he said.
Efforts to speak to the council chairman of Michika, Vandi Favanza, was unsuccessful.
A top staff of the council, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to on the matter, however said, “We also heard that soldiers, since last three days, were able to enter Michika town, although I am yet to get details.
“It is possible. You know the insurgents have changed their mode of operations. Instead of staying in one place, they now adopt hide and seek tactics and they also operate in cells.
“And after Mubi was recaptured, Nigerian troops, being assisted by local volunteers of hunters, civilian JTFs have advanced towards Michika and Madagali,” the source said.