–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA): From Mike SOGBOLA, North East Correspondent:
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) , Lt . Gen. Tukur Buratai has said that Nigerian troops withstood the rigour of Lent and Ramadan to inflict major defeats of Boko Haram, killing 1015 terrorists and arresting 84 of their collaborators.
Buratai, who hosted troops of Operation Lafiya Dole (the military counter-insurgency operation in the North East) to Sallah Lunch, however lamented the loss of 11 soldiers and injuries to several others in the operations he had led since April 4, when he relocated to the troubled region to confront the terrorist group.
The Army Chief said despite the physical challenges that come with the spiritual excercise of Lent and Ramadan, troops demonstrated ” resilience, doggedness, as well as mental alertness” to successfully execute the operations in the past two months against Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists .
He said: ” Since the commencement of the special operations in the past two months on my arrival on 4th April, we have all put in concerted efforts which have resulted in the killing of 1015 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and the arrest of 84 logistics suppliers and informants operating with the terrorists.”
He added that: “Typical of every military operation of this nature, we had significant successes and some not too palatable encounters . We have taken time to reflect on our setbacks with a view to doing things better to secure the successes we had recorded.
“Some of the notable encounters included that of dislodging the terrorists in Geidam , Mainok, Dapchi, Baga, Dikwa , Gajigana among others, where the insurgents were dealt with decisively.
“Our artillery and air strikes unbroken operations in the Boko Haram enclaves have been hugely successful . We have succeeded in dislodging the terrorists at various locations.”
The COAS added that hundreds of the terrorists have been neutralized in the different camps as attested to by deposed and captured terrorists trying to escape the operations
He said: “Many more terrorists have been wounded and are presently hiding in forests with several wounds. This explains why the insurgents have resorted to desperate attacks on towns and villages such as Babangida and Dapchi, searching for medical supplies and logistics to treat their injured that are dying like flies in the forest.”
He said he was full of joy being with the troops and the wounded soldiers to celebrate the end of Ramadan, assuring that the end of the terrorists is at hand with the fighting vigor of the troops.
Buratai expressed appreciation to the other components of the Operation Lafiya Dole, such as the Air Force and the Navy and even Civilian Joint Task for their efforts in bringing the terrorists to their knees.
Buratai also thanked the Governors of Borno and Yobe states for their support to the Nigerian Army in the counter-insurgency operations, and as well thanked the police, and other security agencies for their role in the successes achieved against the insurgents .
The Borno Governor, Professor Babagana Zulum , had earlier told the COAS that “Borno State under his watch will always be very faithful as it is ready to partner with the Nigerian army to effectively tackle the insurgency issues.”
Governor Zulum spoke while receiving the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai and his team at the Government House Maiduguri on sallah homage to the governor.
Zulum expressed his appreciation to the Nigerian Army, and promised to support them with all the required logistics for them to succeed.
The governor added that the fight against insurgency is everybody’s business for the Nigerian Army to succeed. He stated that everybody must support the fight and provide useful information and suggestions to the Nigerian Army.
He further thanked the COAS for his foresight and gaint strides in establishing the Army University at Biu and also the Command Secondary School at Auno.