The Nigerian Army said it eliminated over 1,015 Boko Haram terrorists in different encounters with the insurgents in the Northeast from April 4 till date.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Tukur Buratai, disclosed this on Sunday when he hosted the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole to Eid-El-Fitr luncheon at Military Control and Command Centre in Maiduguri.
Mr Buratai, a lieutenant-general, said that the insurgents were neutralised since his arrival in the theatre to lead the troops under Operation KANTANA JIMLA within the period under review.
He said that some of the notable encounters since the commencement of the operation include that of Buni Gari, Gaidam, Minok, Dapchi, Baga, Dikwa, Awulari, Ajiri, Pulka, Ngoshe, Alafa and different parts of Sambisa Forest as well as Gajiganna.
He explained that the artillery airstrike and blockage operations conducted by troops at the Tumbuktu Triangles around Sambisa has been greatly successful.
He said that the troops succeeded in dislodging major camps of the terrorists at Mungusum, Gajirin, Talala, Buk, and Malumti among others under the operation.
“Hundreds of terrorist fighters have been neutralised in this different camps as confirmed by the force and captured terrorists while trying to escape the operations.
“Many more hundreds have been injured and are hiding in the forest with serious wounds.
“This explains why the terrorist have resulted to desperate attacks on towns and villages such as Babangida, Dapchi searching for medical supplies and other logistics to treat their injured colleagues, who are dying like foul in the forest.
“Overall, since my arrival here in the Northeast on the 4th of April this year, you gallery troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have neutrialised over 1,015 Boko Haram terrorists.
“Also, you have impressively maintain the blockage of Boko Haram logistics supply chains and freedom of movement within the Tumbuktu Triangles.
“In a light manner, the Nigerian army intelligence core has impressively been organised and its operations has greatly improved.”
The Chief of Military Intelligence Team, through covert operations has arrested 84 Boko Haram/ISWAP logistics suppliers, informants and curriers, he said.
According to him, this has greatly disrupted their logistics supply chain and communication network, thereby tightening the blockage around them.
“It is also gratifying to note that officers and men of the Nigerian Army, fighting in close support with the combatant personnel of the Nigeria Navy Special Force Services and the gallant pilots of the Nigerian Airforce, have consistently disrupted the terrorists moves and done well in nutrialising them,” he said
The COAS said it had also sustained some casualties while others sustained injuries while executing the operations.
“We pray for the departed souls even as you continue to look after injured ones to the best available standard,” he said.
He charged the troops to collectively match ahead without fear, put ahead without hesitation, strike ahead without holding back to end the war and secure the country once and for all.
“Like all other sectors in the country, the Nigerian Army has its own share of some challenges. This inadequacies of recent times has further compounded by the global lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has to some extend delayed the arrival and delivery of some of our much needed military equipment.
“However, our good foresight as examplified in the investment in the local production of the Ezegwu, Concoror and the Champion Mrap, alongside other notable efforts that are profiting some of our old equipment by the Command Engineering Depot and the Special Vehicle Plant and the Defence Industry Corporation of Nigeria, have assisted in sustaining our operations thus far.
“We have also embarked on special recruitment sub commissioning exercise to cater for our manpower challenges.
“We are restructuring our forces to enable them fight better within the dictates of the new assymetric warfare we are encountering today.
“In this regards, in the four Special Forces Command, we have trained Special Brigades and Special Forces Battalions, which have been established. Two of these battalions recently completed the special forces training and have been inducted into this Theatre.
“It is expected that the effects of their specialised training and modes of operations would be felt across the Theatre in the days to come.
“Therefore, what remained is our collective efforts as a nation and as officers and men to make good use of this platforms to end insurgency and other forms of criminalities across the country.
“The Nigerian Army on its part remained focused in dealing with the insurgency and other forms of criminalities in the country and will not allow itself to be distracted from unpatriotic elements in the society.”
Mr Buratai lauded President Muhammadu Buhari, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, Governors of Yobe and Borno states as well as the people of Northeast for their unflinching support to the Nigerian army.
“I commend the support and sacrifices of each and every one of us, especially those who have paid the supreme sacrifice. I charged you all never to allow the sacrifices of our fallen heroes to be in vain,” said Mr Buratai.
In his remarks, Governor Babagana Zulum acknowledged the tremendous success recorded by the Nigerian military during the last two months and prayed to God to give the troops more strength, wisdom, courage, long life and productivity to fight the insurgency.
Mr Zulum, who described the Eid-El-Fitr celebration after Ramadan as a month of devotion, sacrifice and spiritual rejuvenation, noted that lessons learnt from fasting include patience, perseverance, devotion, sacrifice and resilient.
“I want to express our appreciation to those that are here and to the COAS, and other high ranking military officers for the enormous support that you have been rendering toward protecting the lives and property of the displaced communities of Borno State.”
The governor noted that the security architecture has to be motivated for greater efficiency and productivity, and pledged his administration’s commitment to supporting the military to succeed in the counter terrorism campaign.