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‘No progress until Sambisa forest is cleared of Boko Haram’


Gabriel Olonisakin

Gabriel Olonisakin

• Troops kill 11 insurgents

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin has said that the military operations in the North East were geared towards clearing Sambisa forest of Boko Haram terrorists to allow development of the sub-region.

Olonisakin disclosed this yesterday at the Theatre Command Headquarters, while inspecting newly acquired military vehicles and armoured tanks at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri.

Olonisakin said that no meaningful development could take place without securing Sambisa Forest by clearing remnants of Boko Haram terrorists for the protection of lives and property in the region.

“The corridor is always open for the terrorists to surrender. However, we will not wait until they surrender. That was why the Operation Crackdown is in place to ensure that we take over the Sambisa Forest, clear Boko Haram terrorists in those places and make the region safe for economic activities.

Olonisakin said for the insurgents to be destroyed in the sub-region it had become ‘fight to the finish,’ to make the North-East safe for the rehabilitation of the people and revive economic activities.

He expressed Nigerians’ appreciation of the efforts of the troops, urging them to continue to do much more until Boko Haram is totally defeated.

Olonisakin said: “I want to commend the troops and also the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen.Tukur Buratai for his initiative in the re-modelling of the operational vehicles.”

On repentant insurgents, Olonisakin said: “There is always room for the insurgents or terrorists to surrender. We have put up ‘operation safe corridor’ initiative to have them surrender and integrate into the society.”

In a related development, at least 11 Boko Haram fighters were killed at the weekend as troops of the 103 battalion destroyed a market cum camp operated by the terrorist sect in northern Borno.

An unconfirmed number of terrorists were also wounded during the battle in Yale, about eight kilometres south of Bama and 12 kilometres south west of Dikwa, while arms, ammunition and other equipment were recovered, military insiders said.

Officers and men of the 103 battalion, in conjunction with their counterparts from 21 Brigade, 202 Battalion and 151 Task Force Battalion arrived the market at about 7:30 am Saturday and opened fire on suspected terrorists found on location.

A detachment of Civilian JTF, which has been assisting the military in the anti-insurgency war, because of its deep knowledge of the North-East terrain, also participated in the operation.

All the structures found at the camp were destroyed as suspected terrorists, caught by surprise, fled in different directions.

At least 11 of them were gunned down while several others were seriously injured. A number of the sect members escaped with gunshot wounds, our sources further disclosed.

But as troops withdrew from battle unhurt, Boko Haram elements staged a surprise ambush attack, which was also successfully repelled.

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