- Graft Warkill 66, Rescue 370,Repel Attacks Sect Fights Back,
- Retakes Liberated Areas-IDPs
While controversies continue to rage over the true state of affairs in Boko Haram affected areas, the Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Major General Hassan Umaru has commended the efforts of Nigerian troops and renewed the call for them and the public to be more vigilant and security conscious at all times, particularly at check points, markets, worship centers, motor parks and schools. The Military, authoritieshe said appreciate the support from the public in rendering useful information on the activities of the terrorists.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Maiduguri in fulfillment of the Theatre Command’s promise to keep the public informed of the activities of the Operation Lafiya Dole, General Umaru stated that, in furtherance of the ongoing offensive operations to clear Boko Haram Terrorist (BHT) in the Northeast, troops on 17 January 2016 conducted a clearance operation at Shentimari general area and cleared Boko Haram enclaves and recovered 78 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition.
While denying insinuations that boko Haram is still lethal, and constitutes more threat, he maintained that, troops also on 18 January 2016 at Chukun Gudu, encountered and destroyed terrorist’s camps along Jillam, Bula Butube general areas. During the exchange of fire, 10 terrorists were killed, 2 AK47 Rifles, 2 AK47 magazines, 2 solar panels and 2 GSM handsets were recovered, while 1 Isuzu vehicle was destroyed. And on 20th January 2016, troops cleared terrorist enclaves at Ngwalimiri and Gazama in Damboa Local Government Area.
“While conducting operations in Mufurundi village along Damboa-Bale road, troops intercepted 10 Boko Haram suspects from Bego, Mesemarri and Bale villages carrying bags containing food condiments, soaps, and other items”, he added.The suspects are presently undergoing interrogation. Also, troops had an encounter with terrorists during advance from Wajiroko to Ajigin. During the encounter, 3 of the terrorists were killed.”
The statement further claims that, “In another development, one of our units located in old Marte repelled an attacked by BHT and in the process, killed 21 terrorists, while 3 soldiers were wounded during the encounter. One Anti Air Gun, 10 AK47 rifles,1 FN rifle,7 x 60mm MOR bombs, qty 342 rounds of 12.7mm, Qty 507 rounds of 7.62mm ammunitions, 1 Toyota Hilux, 1 Land Cruiser vehicle, 1 IED with charger were captured from the terrorists”.
“Troops took custody of 3 suspected Boko Haram Terrorists, who voluntarily surrendered themselves to Damboa Vigilante Group at Kaya village. During interrogation, they claimed to have been forced to join the Group and also participated in the Group’s previous attacks at Askira and other locations. As at about 1719hrs , 21 January 2016, ahead of a Cashew plantation near Maiduguri, an unknown civilian tried to gain access into the village but was confronted by a civilian JTF. In the process of the ensuing interrogation, he stabbed a member of civilian JTF to death but was shot by another Civilian JTF’, the General stated.
“In continuation of the ongoing operation, troops advancing to clear Dure village, came under Boko Haram Terrorist ambush at Rugga Fulani but were cleared. During the encounter, 8 BHTs were killed, 2 AK47 rifles,2 locally made Den Guns, 3 AK47 Magazined with 38 rounds of ammunition were recovered. Similarly, a unit of troops cleared BHT hideouts in Wala, Tirkopytir, and Durubajuwe villages. During the operation, troops recovered 1 rusty GPMG barrel, 1 grinding machine and 1 locally made Dane gun.” The theatre Commander said.
The statement also said, troops conducted a fighting patrol in Afe, Kudiye, Souma, Dika, Mijigeta and Mida. During the operation, the team made contact with BHT at Kudiye, Mijigete and 20 BHT were killed, while 3 rifles, 41 motorcycles were destroyed, and 370 hostages rescued and brought to IDP camp at Dikwa.
“Also, around Huyum, Jeje and Diba villages. The terrorists sighting troops, abandoned their families behind which include 5 women, 12 children. However, troops killed 4 of the sect members. The women are currently undergoing interrogation.” The statement also said
These claims came on the heels of claims by internally Displaced Persons, IDPs from Mobbar and Abadam local governments in the Northern Borno that, they cannot go back to their respective local governments now because their areas are still under the control of Boko Haram militants.
Speaking in Maiduguri with some of the IDPs, who claimed to be from those areas but refused entrance into the Bakassi IDP camp along Damboa road in the capital last Friday, over a disagreement with a member of the Civilian JTF, the IDPs told our correspondent that, the CJTF member was being arrogant and one of them tried to correct him, resulting into the fracas, which was subsequently resolved.
According to them, “You see, Boko Haram are still in my local government. I am from Abadam and what I am telling you is the truth. No Soldier in Abadam. No Soldier in Damasak. We are aware of the time the Army Chief went there, but we are talking of now. The last time some areas were liberated we know what happened when some people returned home. We want to be sure that such did not happen to us and from our own information, Boko Haram are still in Abadam and Mobbar.” Zannah said.
He also said that, it is not their desire to continue to leave in the camp because they all want to go back to their villages if not that their areas are still under the control of the Boko Haram militants.
When this Reporter told them that, last year General Buratai was in their area and chased all the Boko Haram members out and liberated the area, they argued that, after the Army Chief left the area, the soldiers could not stay as they withdrew and camped at Gubio allowing the Boko Haram militants to return to base.
Meanwhile, over 600 people from five villages in MAFA local government area of Borno state have fled their homes in renewed Boko Haram attacks to seek refuge in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
Speaking with leadership of the group on Monday in Maiduguri, they told this Reporter that, there were no security presence 10 kilometers away from MAFA and the Boko Haram terrorists had been killing people, a situation which informed their decision to relocate to Maiduguri, which is a safe haven for them.
Mallam Bunu Kachallah told Our Correspondent that, they have come with their Chief Imam and their village heads to settle in Maiduguri and want government to give them a place to stay and mourn some of their people already killed by the insurgents.
The people who stormed Maiduguri with their horses and donkeys were able to carry out the exodus to Maiduguri, station themselves at the entrance to the city, near the NNPC Mega station along Mafa road, where they asked security operatives for further direction.
Kachallah who spoke on behalf of the community from the five villages said, they had battled the insurgents and came to the decision to leave their homes before the insurgents killed them.
“They had been coming and we fought them and lost many of our youths who stood in Defence of our villages. But last week during the market day at Gwom, we decided to leave.” He said.
According to Kachallah, they would not have come out to seek refuge when government was trying to relocate other internally displaced persons, IDPs, if the security of their areas was guarantee but that, but that it was only when they arrived MAFA approaching Maiduguri that they discovered military presence.
He said, “Boko Haram are having guns, while we are only using den guns, spares and bow and arrows. We can not match their powers because they are many. I lost my son who fought the Boko Haram to defend our village. I regretted allowing him to join the youth to defend our village but as an elder I have to allow him when other peoples children are came out to defend the village.”
He said, all they are asking is for government to give them their own camps to settle down with their wives and children until the issue of Boko Haram is over.
This is even as Nigerian Troops situated in Dikwa town of Dikwa local government area of Borno state had repelled attempts by desperate members of the Boko Haram insurgents to take over the local government.
Shettima Sheriff, a resident of the area told newsmen in Maiduguri that, the people of the area were impressed with the show of force by the military who cleared and repelled the insurgents.
According to him, this is the first time Boko Haram are coming to the town and could not succeed. “This shows that, the country is moving forward and we are hoping that very soon all the insurgents would be dealt with and our people would all return home.”
In another development, hundreds of internally displaced person, IDPs from Ngala local government area are returning home following the relative peace returning to their area.
Speaking to newsmen in Maiduguri, officials of the state emergency management agency, SEMA said, it is the desire of government to return all IDPs to their various local governments as peace returns to such areas.
“Our major challenges are fears by those IDPs, who believe their areas are not free from these Boko Haram, but for now people are sleeping in Ngamboru Ngala town.” Umar Saini said.
by Yahaya WAKILI-Maiduguri