Military destroys seven terrorist camps, rescues 25 more women, children
A statement issued yesterday in Abuja by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said despite the terrain laden by landmines, the troops were able to overcome the obstacles, killing the terrorists in the way, as they rescued about 25 women and children from the camps.
It reads in part: “Seven additional terrorist camps were yesterday destroyed as more terrorists also died in the ongoing onslaught to flush them out of Sambisa forest. An additional 25 women and children were rescued in the process.”
Olukolade said the destroyed camps have unsavory reputation for housing some of the most deadly members of the group and some of the weapons used in the course of perpetrating their acts against the nation.
“The troops, who scaled series of land mines in continuation of the assault on the forest bases of the terrorists, captured camps which include the four notorious Alafa camps as well as those in Rogo Fulani, Laraga and others used as training camps in the forest. Various weapons, including rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft guns and a number of vehicles were either captured or destroyed during the operation. Four soldiers were wounded and have been evacuated for treatment.
“The operations is continuing with troops demonstrating high morale and fighting spirit as they search the forests for terrorists, arms and hostages”, the military further said.
In another development, members of parliament in the House of Representatives yesterday commended the Nigerian armed forces for the success achieved in the ongoing operation in Sambisa Forest to combat Boko Haram insurgents.
Also, a bill granting legal powers to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) to effectively check the influx of illegal arms and ammunition as well as inflow of immigrants has been approved by the Senate.
Adopting the prayers of a motion introduced on the floor by Friday Itula (PDP, Edo) under matters of urgent public importance, the Chamber also called on the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to take urgent steps to rehabilitate and re-integrate the over 1,000 men, women and children rescued by the troops during the operation.
Earlier, while leading debate on the motion, Itula expressed the need for the House to prevail on NEMA to take steps towards providing rehabilitation to the rescued victims before re-integrating them into the society.
He said: “Every one of us is aware of what has been going on in the Northeast with regard to the military operation in Sambisa forest. We have also been told that a very large number of women and children have been rescued.
“A very large number of the women rescued are also said to be pregnant, something that should be viewed with all the seriousness it deserves as an emergency.
“The House therefore should urge the Committee on Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness to liaise with NEMA with a view to rehabilitating and re-integrating them into the society and report back to the House within two weeks,” he submitted on the floor of the Chamber.
Abdulrahman Terab, who represents some of the most ravaged constituencies in Borno State described the motion as timely.
Supporting the motion, Terab described the issue of pregnancy among the victims as worrisome.
\ “This motion is very apt at this time. And I’m also very glad that the mover is asking for federal intervention in areas of rehabilitation and integration of these people.
“Because, as we speak, the situation remains a time bomb if urgent steps are not taken to counsel the victims and make them see the need to live a normal life,” he said.
House Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his contribution said, “We do know that beyond the physical injury and suffering that these people had been put through, we also should be mindful of the emotional and psychological trauma they must have been exposed to.”
“So I would urge the mover of this motion to elaborate and convert this motion to a ‘Victims Rehabilitation Bill that would be speedily passed by this House so that the issue doesn’t fall on deaf ears due to the resolution that may arise from it,” Gbajabiamila said.
The bill empowering the Nigeria Immigration Service, which was processed by the Senate Committee on Interior, was passed in the House of Representatives last year.