The Nigerian Army says troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole have killed 14 Boko Haram insurgents and rescued 21 persons who were abducted by them (Boko Haram) in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Texas Chukwu, said this in a statement on Friday.
According to him, the hostages were rescued on Thursday when the military raided a hideout of the insurgents.
“Troops of 192 Battalion of 26 Task Force Brigade of Operation Lafiya Dole alongside Civilian Joint Task Force neutralised 14 Boko Haram terrorists in a village suspected to harbour terrorists that ambushed a civilian vehicle in Pulka on Wednesday, September 5, 2018.
“The troops attained the feat on Thursday 6th September 2018 during an early hours clearance operation to Amdaga Madachi village in Gwoza Local Government Area in Borno State suspected to harbour the terrorists,” the statement read in part.
Chukwu further stated that the 21 civilians rescued included six women, 11 children and four men, some of whom have been taken to a military hospital for treatment.
“The Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division Brigadier General Abdulmalik Bulama Biu, through the Commander of 26 Task Force Brigade Brigadier General Dahiru, has commended the troops for their gallantry, urging them to maintain the momentum by taking out all Boko Haram Terrorists within the Division Area of Responsibility,” he added.
The rescue of the hostages comes a day after the Senator representing Southern Borno at the National Assembly, Ali Ndume, demanded action and lamented over continued attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the state.
Ndume told journalists on Thursday that the spate of attacks carried out by the terrorists in the last two months is worrisome
The Bring Back Our Girls campaign group has expressed gladness over the fact that the Federal Government was able to secure the release of 82 Chibok school girls out of the over 200 girls abducted by the Boko Haram insurgents.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government and all the other partners, the group also believes that the rehabilitation of the girls as well as reuniting them with their parents is another key step that should be taken immediately.
“We are extremely delighted at this news, at the fact that 82 of our Chibok girls are back, and so right now the total is 106. We still have 113 out there waiting to be brought back home but right now, we are delighted, its a happy day and we are looking forward to the fact that 82 families would be able to have undiluted joy when they finally are reunited with their daughters.”
The co-convener of the BBOG, Mrs Aisha Yesufu, said this in an exclusive interview with Channels Television in Abuja.
Meanwhile, speaking on the overall well-being of the 21 girls who had been rescued earlier, Yesufu stated that although the government had denied them access to the girls, they have continued to push for their proper rehabilitation and most importantly, their return to school.
This according to her, would deny the insurgents the glory.
“Unfortunately, when they were brought back, the Federal Government didn’t give us access and we said that was okay, all we wanted was access between the girls and their parents. Let them be able to meet, let them be re-integrated and rehabilitated into the society and ensure that they go on to get that education.”
The Yobe state Government says it has recruited 17 new Egyptian Doctors in various fields of specialty as part of measures to improve healthcare services among its citizens in the post insurgency era.
This brings to 97, the number of medical doctors in different areas of specialty currently serving in the state.
Addressing newsmen in Damaturu the state capital, the Executive Secretary of the State Hospital Management Board Dr. Garba Fika, also revealed that four of the major hospitals in the state are currently being remodeled to meet the healthcare challenges in the state.
The development became vital as several healthcare facilities in the state particularly those in Gujba, Gulani and Kanamma were destroyed during the reign of terror by militant group, the Boko Haram.
Currently, General Hospitals in Damaturu, the state capital and those in Gashua, Geidam and Potiskum are also nearing completion as they are being rehabilitated.
The executive secretary further stated that the issue of referral cases from the state would soon be a thing of the past as the state would rather be receiving referral cases from other states.
“When the remodeling of these hospitals are complete coupled with the takeoff of the University Teaching Hospital in Damaturu the state capital, I can assure you that we will not be transferring health complication cases to anywhere. Rather, we will receive referral cases from other states”.
Also speaking on the deployment of foreign medical doctors, Dr Fika said “12 of the doctors have reported while the remaining five are still being expected.
“We have screened them thoroughly to ensure they are real medical doctors and experts who can help in the various areas we are lacking”.
Dr. Fika said since creation in 1991, Yobe state has never had it better in the area of healthcare development like under the present administration.
“I have been in the state since creation in 1991 and I can assure you that the state has never had it better than now in terms of healthcare development.
“The present governor has done extremely well in repositioning the health sector geared towards improving the well-being of the people generally”.
He applauded the present administration’s decision to establish a medical college at the state university which according to him, would train all the required medical staff in the state.
Meanwhile, he revealed that over 300 medical students are currently being trained within and outside the state.
Furthermore, he said 80 medical doctors are presently on the state payroll all with the aim of strengthening the healthcare needs of the people.
Fika therefore urged workers to rededicate themselves to duty by ensuring the healthcare dreams of the state government are met.
He also gave the assurance that rehabilitation work would soon commence in other areas of the state.
“With the improved peace, I can assure you that the hospitals in Gujba, Gulani and Kanamma will soon be attended to so that healthcare needs of the people in those areas and environs will be timely addressed”.
Following resurgence of attacks by remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents in some parts of Borno State, Governor Kashim Shettima, has held an emergency security meeting with security operatives.
The meeting was attended by heads of the Nigerian Army, Air Force, Police and the Department of State Services (DSS), with proactive measures taken on how to increase surveillance and forestall unanticipated security breach.
Governor Shettima began with a three-hour closed door meeting with the Theater Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Leo Irabor, on Friday at the Government House in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
During the meeting, he was briefed on recent attacks and ongoing military operations while discussions were held with assurances that the remnants of the insurgents were on suicidal mission, given their displacement from their former headquarters at the Sambisa forest.
Spokesman to the governor, Mr Isa Gusau, said in a statement issued on Sunday that after meeting with the Theater Commander who is not a member of the State Security Council, Governor Shettima presided over an emergency meeting of the State Security Council that involved core armed forces.
At the end of meeting, new guard locations were established in some routes across the state to curtail the movement of the Boko Haram fighters.
The number of security personnel deployed to various locations were also increased with more members of the Civilian JTF (youth volunteers) involved.
Governor Shettima also gave approval for the release of additional patrol vehicles to security agencies for increased surveillance in the state.
He also approved logistics to compliment efforts of the Federal Government in strengthening the armed forces, while measures were adopted to strengthen the Civilian JTF and hunters.
The Council also reviewed the synergy between formal armed forces and volunteers, with steps adopted to increase collaboration and clamp down on cattle rustling used by insurgents to raise funds.
The meeting, which lasted for over three hours at the council chambers of the Government House, had in attendance the General Officer Commanding, Seven Division of the Army, Brigadier General Victor Ezugwu; the Commander, 79 Composite group of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Charles Ohwo; the Borno State Commissioner of Police, Damian Chukwu, and the Garrison Commander, Seven Division of the Army, Brigadier General Jibrin Mohammed.
Others at the meeting are the State Director of the DSS, Suleiman Kankia, Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Secretary to the State Government, Usman Shuwa, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Kaka Lawan and the Permanent Secretary in charge of Security.
No fewer than 13 persons including two dismissed soldiers, attached to Operation Doyle, battling the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno state, have been paraded for alleged involvement in crimes including the theft of a gas turbine worth about 7.2 billion Naira, owned by the Bayelsa state government.
The Bayelsa state government had purchased these gas turbines to aid in the provision of electricity for the indigenes and residents of Etelebou community of Gbarain in Yenagoa Local Government Area of the state.
This, according to the government, was in order to complement the power output of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED).
The timely arrival of the Police made the arrest possible, while five trucks containing vandalized turbine, were recovered.
Asides those involved in the robbery, nine other suspects who were alleged to be involved in kidnapping were also paraded.
Meanwhile, the newly posted Commissioner of Police, Amba Asuoquo, also disclosed the arrest of a car theft syndicate.
Although the Bayelsa state government has prescribed a death penalty for kidnappers, it is yet to be determined what the fate of the arrested suspects would be as they are yet to be officially declared guilty.
The Nigerian Air Force investigative panel set up to over the misfiring incident by one of its jets has been having series of discussions with survivors of the incident.
This is because the affected population in Rann community, of Kalabalge Local Government in Borno state have been thrown into trauma, following the incident which left over 200 people dead.
While some of those affected by the misfire have been whisked away to Maiduguri, others with minor injuries are stabilizing back home.
But anytime an Air Force jet flies over the Rann airspace, there is panic and fear of the unknown, according to officials of the 3 Battalion operating in the area.
Civilian authorities, the Nigerian Army and the Air Force have been talking to them for confidence building.
The Commanding Officer of 3 Battalion, Colonel Patrick Omoke said: “There’s been some form of panic within the community.
“Even when we send for aggressor to come and check what’s happening around us, the moment it’s airborne everybody starts dispersing maybe as a result of shock from the event of January 17th.
“But we have been doing a lot of talking to them through the community leaders, explaining to them that it was an accident and we are the ones sending for them now to come and survey and make sure that we are safe.”
Some of the locals confirmed the words of the Commanding Officer, confessing their feeling of insecurity and fear of the unknown anytime an aircraft flies over the community.
One of the survivors, Bulama Malawa, told Channels TV: “I lost my wife and daughter to the bomb from the airplane and people were in pieces that day.
“Today when we see them coming, everyone looks for where to hide especially the children. We are lucky to be alive from the last time but so no one is taking chances.”
The AVM Bala-Ribah-led board has assured the villagers of the good intentions of the Nigerian Air Force and a thorough investigation.
Part of the terms of reference of the board is to investigate circumstances surrounding the operational error that killed over 200 civilians and two soldiers.
“In the Nigerian Air Force, be it accidents, incidents or whatever, we go very thorough in our investigations; reason being that the operations will be continuous and if there was a mistake whether systemic, whether it was from the machine or from the human being; we need to find out exactly what the problem was so that we can incorporate that in our local procedure or in the rules of engagement to forestall future occurrence,” he said.
The board also visited the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor, commending the Army for the show of solidarity when the error occurred.
General Irabor has also asked the Air Force Investigative Board to concentrate on detecting what went wrong and make recommendations on how future occurrences can be forestalled.
He said that the theatre command is also conducting independent investigation for record purposes.
There are about 23,000 men, women and children living in Rann, the headquarters of Kalabalge Local Government Area.
While the Doctors Without Borders (MSF), put the death toll at 90, the locals put the figure at over 200.
The Nigerian Airforce had admitted that the bombing was a mistake and apologised.
Officials of Kalabalge Local Government Area (LGA) in Borno State have claimed that at least 236 died during the recent military operational error in Rann.
They have demanded compensation for survivors of the unfortunate mishap.
Kalabalge, one out of the 20 LGAs infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists in the wake of the insurgency, is 170 kilometres away from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State.
It was liberated eight months ago by troops with the support of the Multi-National Joint Task Force, who rescued thousands of hostages and opened up the town for humanitarian services.
Rann is home to the local government headquarters and to the affected population mostly from adjoining villages and hamlets, fleeing to safety under the case of the Three Battalion of the Nigerian Army until the airstrike that occurred on Tuesday, January 17.
However, the community residents and their leaders have accepted the tragedy in good fate, owing to past efforts of the military in liberating their town.
One of the residents told Channels Television’s crew that: “We just heard bombs exploding; an aeroplane dropped them.
“(The aircraft) passed then came back again and dropped it (and) all the houses went on fire. That was what happened. Those that died were buried, some were taken to Maiduguri in the planes they brought (while) those with minor injuries were treated here”.
They asked the Federal Government to compensate them for their huge loss and build roads that would link them to other parts of the state.
234 People Buried
The Chairman of Kalabalge LGA, Mr Babagana Malarima, lamenting the volume of the destruction of lives and property, called for the Federal Government’s intervention by compensating the survivors.
“Our problem since this local government was created about 20 years now (is that) we need a road to link this headquarter to other parts of the state (while) the second thing is with what happened. Now, we are begging Mr President (Muhammadu Buhari) to compensate us.
“Many people have lost their loved (ones) as most of them are the bread winners. About 234 people is not a small number; we need to compensate these people. Yes! 234 (people were) buried by the community and it’s even more than this.
“The report I received from Maiduguri this morning (Saturday) is that two (persons) who are in the hospital have also died. Therefore we need to be compensated seriously. It was the market day yesterday, it was not like the normal market day. After all this is a place where our activities was on a skeletal basis but it was at the lowest ebb yesterday,” he told Channels Television.
A statement issued by the Borno State government on Friday also corroborated Mr Malarima’s claim that two injured persons have died.
The statement further revealed that five people have been discharged while 73 others were still hospitalised.
Barely two days after the accidental bombing, a group of Boko Haram insurgents reportedly launched an attack on the community, targeting both the traumatised civilians and the troops.
However, they were successfully repelled, with 15 terrorists killed and one captured alive with their arms and ammunition.
The captured, man who speaks neither of the local indigenous languages, is believed to be a Cameroonian.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, who has been talking to commanding officers, assured the people in the area that such mistake would not happen again.
“These are the terrorists that came to attack here (Rann community) yesterday almost around 6:00 PM on Thursday (but) they (the troops) were able to repel them. This is to show the level of alertness of the troops and the level of commitment for them to defend this community.
“Luckily when they came, they couldn’t succeed and the troops were able to repel them and pursue them far and you saw what they recovered (as) one of them was captured alive (with) their vehicle and the array of ammunition recovered from them.
“The intelligence information we got from our partners was that Boko Haram terrorists were moving into this place and indeed the information was that they are already in this place. It’s not unconnected because you saw them coming to attack them here.
“Probably it must be the information that was passed to the air component for them to take necessary action, (but) unfortunately a mistake happened. It has happened before in other places and we pray it doesn’t happen again,” the Army chief said.
The Police Command in Abuja says it has begun raid operations to identify Boko Haram sect members that might have infiltrated the Federal Capital Territory.
The operations follow the dismantling of the insurgents’ stronghold in Borno State, the Sambisa forest and the subsequent arrest of a suspected terrorist in the nation’s capital.
Briefing journalists on the development, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mr Muhammed Mustapha, explained that security operatives have already apprehended some of the suspects.
Mr Mustapha assured residents in the FCT of their safety, stressing that the Police were working with other security agencies in all their operations.
The Police on Tuesday, December 20, arrested a suspected Boko Haram member in Abuja.
The suspect reportedly confessed that more members of the sect have found their way into the nation’s capital to seek refuge.
“As we are here, some elements of the Boko Haram, have always been with us… Definitely they will be all over Nigeria not only the FCT.
“We are conscious of that and we are doing raids and you are even aware that two or three of them were picked up, so it is a continuous process and our raiding is helping and we will continue to raid.
“The intelligence is there too. People should come out and give information.
“So as these people have been dislodged and they are coming, we will advise the general public to work with us. If you suspect any individual, if you suspect them to be people from those areas, please quietly give us this information,” the FCT Commissioner said.
Wife of Nigeria’s President, Mrs Aisha Buhari, has commended the patriotism and resilience of the military in its sustained effort to rid the country of the Boko Haram insurgents.
Mrs Buhari gave the commendation when she visited about 50 soldiers who sustained various degrees of injuries in the battle field and were receiving treatment at the 44 Army Reference Hospital in Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria.
Presenting some gift items to the wounded soldiers and officers, the first lady, who was represented by wife of the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Mrs Ladi Bantex, commended them for their gallantry in protecting Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
She lauded their effort in ensuring that peace was restored in the troubled northeast region and prayed for their quick recovery with an assurance that their efforts would not be in vain.
Also, the delegation visited the Obstetrics/Gynecology wards to offer gifts to patients as well as pregnant and nursing women at the hospital.
The Medical Director of the Centre, Brigadier General Ikechukwu Okeke, who commended the gesture, revealed that the soldiers were injured during the Operation Lafiya Dole operations.
He added that some of them were responding to treatment, while those with critical cases had been flown abroad for further treatment.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on Saturday reassured Nigerians that the army will take every necessary step to restore normalcy across the northeast.
He says the Boko Haram militants that have in the last seven years pushed for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region ‘picked the wrong fight against the wrong enemy’.
The COAS gave the assurance in Goneri and Buniyadi, two prominent frontline locations the Nigerian Army is currently prosecuting the Boko Haram war in Yobe State.
Represented by the head of Logistics of the military headquarters, Major General Pat Akim, the Buratai said the army would work hard to defeat those undermining the nation’s security.
The highest military hierarchy had deplored very senior officers to celebrate the Christmas with troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgents in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, with the aim of giving them a sense of belonging while at the battle field.
Nowhere To Hide
The Chief of Army Staff, who tasked officers and men within the theater of the operation on putting an end to every form of terrorism in the region, also praised the soldiers for their gallantry, stressing that although the war is being won, they must stand firm in the fight until the militants are completely defeated.
“We are proud of you for sacrificing your sleep, leisure and working under the sun and in the rain to ensure that those undermining the nation’s security are taught lessons that will serve as deterrent to others.
“Let me seize this opportunity to call on Nigerians to appreciate the role being played by these gallant officers and men who are putting in their best by ensuring peace is maintained across the country so that their labours will never be in vain.
“We are sad that you are spending Christmas in trenches, that is why we are leaving the comfort of our homes to share with you this moments and I can assure you that everything will be done possible to ensure your welfares and logistics needs are taken care of.
“Don’t retreat and don’t give room for any laxity that you are winning the war despite the successes,” Buratai stressed
He assuresd them that more troops would be deployed to increase the manpower needs of the military formations across the theater of war.
The Nigerian Army has challenged troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgents in northeast Nigeria to remain committed despite successes being recorded at the theatre of war.
The General Officer Commanding, 3 Division of the Nigeria Army, Major General Peter Dauke, made the call at the decoration of four lieutenant colonels, who were promoted to the rank of colonel in Yobe State.
He noted that professionalism and dedication were strategic, stressing that both attributes must be observed at all times in the fight against terrorism and insurgency.
The GOC stated that even as the war was being won, security forces must remain focused and ensure that the insurgents are completely defeated.
He also tasked the promoted officers to justify the confidence the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, and the military authority have in them.
General Dauke assured troops that the military would do everything possible to ensure normalcy was restored not just in the northeast, but across Nigeria just as he urged them to work towards achieving that in the interest of all Nigerians.
Speaking on behalf of the promoted officers, Colonel Akut Aboi, thanked the entire military authority for the confidence they have in them and pledged their total commitment towards the restoration of peace across Nigeria.
The event was graced by officers and men across the various theatres of war in the state and beyond.
It was also witnessed by family members of the promoted officers as well as friends and well-wishers among others.