Finally, Nigerian Troops Bombard Sambisa Forest
As part of measures to contain and quell the Boko Haram insurgency, the military has stormed the insurgents in Sambisa Forest, their notorious hideout, according to reports from the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
The director of defence information, Maj-Gen Chris Olukolade, told the agency that the military had been raiding the forest and other hideouts of the sect since Tuesday night.
According to the agency, the army used it war drones to level some of the Boko Haram camps in the northeast but it was not clear about the casualties on both sides. The army said that they are still committed to securing the civilian population at whatever cost.
“We are still committed in ensuring that we degrade their ability to continue their activities and eventually eliminate them,” Olukolade said.
“The mission is on. There are no allowing terrorists anywhere. As many times as they come, it will only give us the opportunity to decimate them.”
On Saturday, Chadian forces reclaimed the northeastern Nigerian town of Gamboru-Ngala after a heated battle with Boko Haram that involved a ground and air campaign. Gamboru-Ngala, about 145 kilometres east of Maiduguri, was captured by Boko Haram last year.
A soldier involved in the operation said Chadian forces were working under the African Union agreement to help Nigeria in its fight against Boko Haram.
Information made available to LEADERSHIP yesterday indicate that troops of the Nigerian Army under directive to invade Sambisa forest in Borno State with a view to end the years of Boko Haram insurgency, have started bombarding the fringes of the forest near Adamawa state.
Sources close to the area have confirmed that aerial bombardment had commenced yesterday.
A soldier serving with the 7 Division, Nigeria Army, Maiduguri confirmed this development to Leadership even as he begged not to be quoted in this report.
According to him, “special forces have been mobilised from different part of the country, especially the 81 battalion, to Yola over the weekend and the operation starts today (Monday).
“What people may have heard or seen today may not be unconnected with the operation. They have to do the bombardment of the forest starting from the fringes before the artillery troops would begin to advance. But be rest assured that before the end of this week the forest as well as many communities under the control of Boko Haram would be reclaimed”.
The soldier said himself and most of his colleagues were happy with the resolution of the United Nations for agreeing to constitute an international joint task force to deal with the Boko Haram.
Explosion rocks Gombe after Jonathan’s rally
Barely 20 minutes after President Goodluck Jonathan concluded his campaign in Gombe State, a car bomb exploded in the state capital, killing at least three people and injuring 18 others, according to a report by the BBC.
Eye witnesses said the attack executed by a female suicide bomber immediately killed women, including the bomber.
A resident, Mohammed Bolari, said that the explosion occurred some minutes after President Jonathan’s departure.
“The president had just passed the parking lot and we were trailing behind his convoy when the explosion happened,” Bolari said.
LEADERSHIP recalls that the state was similarly hit by two blasts on Sunday that killed no fewer than five people.
Another resident told AFP that the latest blast led to unrest in Gombe with angry youths attacking supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the president’s party.
“They were shouting and denouncing the president’s visit which they blamed for the attack,” he added.
FG lauds AU over deployment of 7,500 troops
The federal government said yesterday that the African Union Peace and Security Council had approved the mobilization and immediate deployment of 7,500 to Nigeria to fight insurgency in the north East.
Coordinator of the National Information Centre, Mr. Mike Omeri, stated this while briefing journalists at the centre in Abuja.
He said, “The African Union Peace and Security Council, at the recently concluded 24th ordinary session, approved the mobilization and deployment of 7,500 troops to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram.
“Consequently, the AU peace and Security Council is billed to begin to meet in Cameroon on Monday to authorize and finalize the concept of the operation in the fight against Boko Haram, a decision which has been welcomed by the UN secretary-general Mr. Ban Ki Moon.”
Speaking on the recent breakthrough recorded by the Nigerian army against insurgents, Omeri said the soldiers’ gallantry and the recovery of three armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and 17 pick-up trucks from the terrorists helped the troops to inflict heavy casualties on them, and recapture of the towns of Mafa, Gamboru-Ngala, Malumfatori, Abadam and Marte, while troops are advancing to retake other affected areas.
“The situation in Adamawa State shows that Hong, Mubi North, Mubi South, Maiha, Michika, Shuwa, Wuro Gyambi, Gombi, Vimtim, Uba and Bazza areas have been liberated from Boko Haram presence, while Madagali, Gulak, Wagga-Mildo, Shelini/Vapra, Sabon-gari and Gubla are still under Boko Haram presence.
“Other areas such as Kirchinga, Pallam and Mayo-wandu have remained calm and peaceful. Equally, government troops in Yobe State have recaptured parts of Gujba and Gulani which had witnessed Boko Haram presence,” he said
Omeri noted that the latest attacks on Maiduguri marked the second time the insurgents were launching a ferocious attack on the Borno State capital within one week, saying the Nigerian military’s gallantry in resisting these attacks has resulted in the recapture and liberation of several towns hitherto occupied by the sect.
He expressed government’s approbation of the determination and loyalty of the troops and local folks who ably defended their territory in spite of the violence unleashed by the insurgents.
He urged citizens living within and around the affected areas to be more vigilant and continue to assist troops and other security operatives in their efforts to contain the insurgency.
Boko Haram suffers more casualties in fresh shootout with soldiers
Boko Haram terrorists on Sunday night suffered heavy casualties after hours of shootout with soldiers in Konduga town, 35 kilometres away from Maiduguri, security sources and witnesses said.
Residents in Konduga said the terrorists had plotted to seize Konduga, a town they had repeatedly tried and failed to take in the past months.
The gunmen had attempted to invade Konduga through a neighbouring village called Tungushe, but met a firewall of resistance from Nigerian soldiers stationed there.
A resident of Konduga, Abuwar Ibrahim, who said he witnessed the incident, told LEADERSHIP: “The soldiers were courageous and very professional in the defence of Konduga and its environs.
”The insurgents came at about 5pm on Sunday and engaged the military in a gun battle. They were throwing explosives and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) but they were not successful as usual because the soldiers stood their ground and ensured that about 100 of the insurgents were killed.
“Their corpses littered the streets and the surrounding bushes of the village. I saw many of them. The military seriously dealt with them; they actually did good job. If the soldiers maintain these tempo, I believe, very soon, the Boko Haram insurgency will end as they (the terrorists) were all defeated in all the recent attacks.
A top military officer who does not want his name mentioned in this report confirmed the Konduga battle.
“The Boko Haram terrorists attempted to take Konduga again yesterday but they failed as usual; our men seriously dealt with them there, and going by the reports we got from our field commanders, over 100 of them were killed.”