The Nigerian military on Saturday said the wife of Mamman Nur, the factional leader of Boko Haram, was among those killed when troops attacked the group’s location in the Lake Chad region.
The announcement came hours after the military declared Mr. Nur had been “fatally injured” during an operation.
The military did not explain how Mr. Nur was identified.
The State Security Services, SSS, had in September 2011 placed a N25 million bounty on Mr. Nur, blaming him for a car suicide bombing at the UN building in Abuja that year.
Since then, Mr. Nur has continued to evade the Nigerian security while still being active in the command hierarchy of the Boko Haram.
In 2014, Mr. Nur broke away from the Abubakar Shekau command and midwifed the formation of AbuMussab Albarnawi faction of the Boko Haram group.
Mr. Albarnawi is said to be the surviving son of Boko Haram’s spiritual founder, Muhammed Yusuf, who was extra-judicially killed by the security forces after he was arrested for leading his group to wage a bloody war against the Nigerian security forces in August 2009.
The spokesman of the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command in Maiduguri, Onyema Nwachukwu, said about 250 Boko Haram fighters on the side of Mamman Nur (Albarnawi camp) surrendered.
The statement also warned residents of Kano, Yobe and Jigawa states to be vigilant as some of the dislodged Boko Haram fighters are currently fleeing towards their border villages with an attempt to, “diffuse into the local communities.”
Mr. Onyema said the new feat of victory was achieved following the sustained “onslaught on Boko Haram terrorists’ enclaves in the Lake Chad region where a factional leader of the group Mamman Nur has suffered grave injury, while one of his wives has been killed in the battle”.
“Moreso about 250 foot soldiers from the Albarnawy camp have surrendered to Nigerien Authorities due to the devastating artillery and aerial bombardments by Operation Lafiya Dole troops.
“Many of the insurgents who fled the onslaught are now taking advantage of the “AMNESTY” offered by the Nigerien government by surrendering to Nigerien Forces,” he said.
The military also said among the insurgents “fleeing from the ongoing offensive are senior and junior commanders in the Albarnawy faction who are now attempting to melt into other communities in and around Kano, Geidam and Gashua axis unnoticed.”
The statement indicated that one of the identified junior commanders was known as Bana Bafur.
“Members of the general public, particularly in Kano, Geidam, Gashua, Hadeja and the northern part of Jigawa are therefore enjoined to be vigilant and watch out for strange faces suddenly appearing in their communities and promptly report same to security agencies”, the statement warned.
Mr. Onyema added that about 700 insurgents have also surrendered to troops in the general area of Monguno following troops’ clearance operations.
He said the ongoing onslaught will be “tenaciously sustained”.
The statement recalled that the Federal Government of Nigeria has since provided a window of opportunity through the Operation SAFE CORRIDOR program to insurgents who surrender willingly to be deradicalised and rehabilitated.
“About 300 insurgents who willingly surrendered are currently benefiting from this programme”, he said.
“We call on all Boko Haram insurgents to abandon the futile struggle and take advantage of the Safe Corridor program by surrendering willingly to troops in any location nearest to them. We guarantee their safety and incorporation into the programme for deradicalisation and rehabilitation,” Mr. Nwachukwu, who is also Deputy Director Army Public Relations at Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole.