Nigerian troops fighting the insurgent group, Boko Haram, have reclaimed the town of Monguno and other communities in the North East after nearly two days of fighting.
Boko Haram carried out a pre-dawn attack on Monguno, which is about 137 kilometres from Maiduguri, the Borno State capital over two weeks ago.
The takeover of Monguno and other communities brought Boko Haram closer to Maiduguri and the Army successfully repelled the insurgents’ attempts to get into Maiduguri.
PREMIUM TIMES had Saturday reported how the Nigerian security forces launched a huge military campaign to retake a swath of territory in the North East seized by the terror group.
In a tweet Monday, the Nigerian Defence Headquarters said “Operations to Clear Terrorists From #MONGUNO and Other Communities Successful”.
The spokesperson of the DHQ, Chris Olukolade, in a statement also said, “troops in a military operation spearheaded by highly coordinated air assaults have completed the mission of clearing terrorists from Monguno and environs this morning”.
Mr. Olukolade, a Major General, also said a number of terrorists as well as truckloads of rice, beans and other logistics meant for resupply to the terrorists operating around Baga have been captured in the course of the operation.
“Casualty inflicted and arms recovered as well as other outcome of the operation in Munguno, Marte and other communities already secured, will be determined after the ongoing cordon and search in the environs,” he said.
He added that the air and land operation is continuing in the area of operation with aggressive advance towards other designated communities and locations meant to be cleared in the ongoing offensive against the terrorists.
The operation to recapture Monguno and 14 other territories held by Boko Haram kicked off February 14 as announced by the military a week ago – the major reason the security services gave for their demand that presidential and National Assembly elections, earlier billed for that day, be delayed.
Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, and the military chiefs had warned that they could not guarantee security if the elections went ahead as planned.
According to details referred to by the Independent National Electoral Commission, the military was planning sweeping onslaught against Boko Haram starting February 14, and did not want a distraction.
The military assured that the six-week extension, which will allow time for the operations, will significantly turn the tide in the war against Boko Haram, a pledge re-affirmed by President Goodluck Jonathan during a televised media chat on Wednesday.
Security sources had told PREMIUM TIMES of a massive deployment of troops and military assets, many of them newly-acquired, in the fight to re-take Monguno.
The operation, our sources said, was being personally led by L.O Adeosun, the General Officer Commanding of the Maiduguri-based 7th Battalion and the Commander of the 5 Brigade, Munguno, a Brigadier general Udoh, Mr. Adeosun, a Major General, was recently posted to Borno after the loss of Baga and Munguno to Boko Haram.