• THERE may be no hiding place for Boko Haram terrorists soon as the multi-national military offensives succeed daily in flushing the insurgents from their hideouts and captured territories.
Troops of 7 Division of Nigerian Army, in a coordinated ground and aerial bombardments, yesterday cleared many terrorists from their Sambisa Forest enclaves, including parts of Gwoza town that was captured by Boko Haram on August 6, 2014.
According to a report by Reuters, Boko Haram members also suffered heavy casualties when Chadian troops pushed into Nigeria this week.
The revelations came yesterday as President Goodluck Jonathan reiterated that the enhanced military operation in the Northeast would bring activities of the Boko Haram insurgents to an end.
It was learnt that in flushing out the insurgents from Sambisa Forest, training camps and logistics dumps located in various parts of the forest were targeted and destroyed by the Nigerian troops in the early hours of yesterday.
The Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, in a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, said: “More terrorists died as the air campaign gets results in both Sambisa Forest and parts of Gwoza that was captured last August by terrorists.”
On how the terrorists were flushed out, Olukolade, in the statement, said: “A concerted air campaign by the Nigerian Air Force is ongoing in furtherance of the mission to clear terrorists from all their enclaves.
“The air strikes which today targeted the training camps and logistics dumps of the terrorists in Sambisa Forests and parts of Gwoza have been highly successful as it achieved the aims with required precision. The death of a large number of terrorists has been recorded while many others are also scampering all over the forest and out of the struck bases. Details of casualty will be determined in subsequent phases of the operation.
“Meanwhile, the strikes continue in other locations of the theatre heralding the advancement of troops and other elements of the mission.”
Chad’s army said on Tuesday evening that they had seized control of the town of Dikwa, which is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) southwest of the Nigerian border town of Gamboru.
The offensive deep inside Nigerian territory was a first and suggested a strategy to tackle other rebel-controlled areas in the northeastern Borno State, which is the group’s stronghold.
The Chadians are part of a four-country coalition mounting a regional fight-back against the insurgents.
“Chadian soldiers took over Dikwa from Boko Haram after heavy fighting on Tuesday,” Bababura Diwa, who lives in the town, said by telephone from Fotokol, across the border in northern Cameroon.
Diwa said that the Chadians came from Gamboru, which they previously recaptured, with heavy artillery power and overpowered a group of militants at Lomani village, 15 kilometres from Dikwa.
“When they came into Dikwa, there was intense fighting but at last they subdued the Boko Haram fighters,” he added.
“They killed many of them, including Abu Ashshe, their commander who was notorious for seizing cattle in the area. I used the opportunity provided by the presence of the Chadian troops to leave the town. I was afraid to leave when Boko Haram took over the town for fear of being branded a traitor and killed.”
Diwa’s account was backed up by several other residents, who took advantage of the Chadian advance to flee the ancient town, which is near Boko Haram’s makeshift camps in the Sambisa Forest.
Jidda Saleh, another resident, said that Chadian troops launched heavy aerial and ground attacks on the Kala-Balge area, particularly on Nduwu village, which he said was a “major Boko Haram stronghold”.
“The whole village was bombarded and it is obvious Boko Haram suffered heavy casualties from the aerial attack. Ground troops moved in later,” he added.
“Meleri, which has a huge Boko Haram concentration, was also bombed by Chadian military jets and then taken over by ground troops.
“By the time we left, we learnt the Chadian soldiers were on their way to Kushimori village where Boko Haram keep the livestock they seized from people.
“They have kept thousands of livestock there. They sank boreholes and recruited people to rear the animals for them”.
Algoni Wal-Amire, another Kala-Balge resident, welcomed the offensive.
“Living under Boko Haram was like living in a minefield. You are always afraid your next step could be your last. I thank God I’m now safe from them,” he said.
Source: Guardian


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