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Army plans offensive on Boko Haram base in Lake Chad


Nigerian Army

• Kingpin, three others renounce terrorism
• ‘Insurgency claimed 2,295 teachers, displaced 19,000’

The Nigerian Army is to launch an attack on a remote Island in Lake Chad currently being used by Boko Haram insurgents as new operational base.

The Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC) 8 Task Force Division, Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, dropped the hint yesterday during a visit to the 118 Task Force Battalion at Gudumbali village in Guzamala Local Council of Borno State.

A statement by the division’s spokesman, Col. Timothy Antigha, said the GOC was issuing “motivational orders” to troops operating in the Lake Chad region.

Olabanji asked the soldiers to always make sure their weapons were serviceable as the directive to strike the location could be issued anytime.

Antigha, who is also the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, said that the final phase of the onslaught on the terrorists was evident.

The statement reads: “The tempo of ongoing clearance operations will be increased. So be prepared. You may be ordered at any time to clear the remnants of Boko Haram elements in the identified location.”

The Commanding officer, 118 Task Force Battalion, O.P. Oyekoke, had outlined the tasks of his formation and assured the GOC of the readiness of his officers to discharge their duties in consonance with extant military laws.

However, a high profile terrorist and the Amir Kafa of the sect, Konto Fanami and three others have renounced their conviction and surrendered themselves to troops of 120 Task Force Battalion at Goniri.

A statement by Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, yesterday in Abuja, said the terrorists took the decision during a preliminary investigation, saying hardship and misconception pushed into terrorism.

The release reads: “On Monday, four Boko Haram terrorists willingly deserted their hideouts and surrendered themselves to 120 Task Force Battalion at Goniri. Among them was a high-profile terrorist, Konto Fanami, the Ameer of Kafa hideout of the Boko Haram terrorist group that operates along Ajigin-Talala-Mungusum axis.

“The remorseful terrorists regretted their involvement in terrorism and marvelled at the courtesies and humane treatment accorded them by the military on surrendering.”

Also yesterday, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said 2,295 teachers were killed while 19,000 others displaced while almost 1,400 schools got destroyed in Borno State at onset of insurgency in 2009.

The global agency, however, confirmed that t was working closely with the government and partners to rehabilitate children in the North East.

UNICEF’s Representative in Nigeria, Mohamed Fall, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, noted that more than 525,000 had been enrolled in school this year alone with over 37 temporary learning spaces established.

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