Boko Haram insurgents operating in the Sambisa forest area of Borno State have come under intense attacks from the Air Task Force of the Operation Lafiya Dole.
This was disclosed in a statement issued on Monday by the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche.
Enenchen said multiple airstrikes were launched in the vicinity of the Sambisa forest on November 14, adding that several of the terrorists were killed after the Air Task Force dispatched attack aircraft to engage the target areas where the armed fighters were spotted under the dense vegetation.
The two locations at Gobara and the Sambisa ‘s’ region were said to have been used by the terrorists as logistics bases as well as staging areas to launch attacks.
The United Nations (UN) Deputy Secretary-General and ex-Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed has visited Banki, a border town in Borno State.
She arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital on board a UN jet, and immediately flew to Banki.
The deputy secretary-general was accompanied by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, other principal officers, and Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum.
Addressing journalists in the state, Mohammed said her mission was to assess the government’s responses to the humanitarian crisis in the northeast with the intention of amplifying priorities.
“Coming to Borno was very specifically for people to understand that in the context of Nigeria, there is still an ongoing challenge with some areas of Borno State in post-conflict, and many areas under the threat of the Boko Haram insurgency,” she said.
“Our visit to Banki was to see the collaboration with Cameroon in a camp and that collaboration with the Borno State Government and the UN, how that is evolving first in meeting the needs of those that have found themselves displaced and those that are coming back across the border and really finding a pathway for that resettlement and reintegration of the people of Borno State to a life of peace and prosperity.”
According to her, the camps visited were overcrowded and feelers from interactions with the people indicated the desperate desire to return to their homes and live normal lives again.
On his part, Governor Zulum said the state government is working with the Federal Government to commence the repatriation of citizens from Cameroon latest on December 5.
The governor asked all partners to support the state government as it drives responses to the humanitarian crisis.
“I am very happy to inform you that we are gradually having peace restored and with the restoration of peace we have received overwhelming requests by our people to return to their places of origin these processes of return are being carefully planned to take into account all the factors such as security, livelihoods, and continuous presence of civil authority to restore confidence in the communities,” he said.
“Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have had great success in returning people to areas that are confined to be safe.
“We call on all our partners to put the government of Borno in the driving seat of support being given out in order to gain sustainability and lasting impact.”
The Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has killed several Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters in Borno State.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, disclosed this in a statement on Monday.
He added that the Air Task Force destroyed some ISWAP structures, including a suspected fuel storage facility at Tumbun Allura and a terrorists’ logistics hub on the fringes of Lake Chad in the northern part of the state.
Major General Enenche explained that the air raid was executed on Sunday on the heels of credible human intelligence reports, as well as aerial surveillance missions.
According to him, this led to the identification of a command post and a suspected fuel dump, with a large number of jerry cans and barrels concealed in makeshift structures within the settlement.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) attack aircraft, dispatched by the Air Task Force to engage the location, scored accurate hits in the target area, resulting in the destruction of the terrorists’ fuel dump, which was seen engulfed in flames.
“Several ISWAP elements were also neutralised as a result of the air strike,” the statement said.
Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum has condemned police brutality in the country.
Speaking on Friday during a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Zulum warned Nigerian youths against escalating protests.
“Let me also use this opportunity to condemn police brutality in other parts of the nation. Let me use this opportunity to condemn the killings in Lekki,” he said
“I will also use this opportunity to condemn the excesses of some of the Nigerian youths in taking the laws into their hands by destroying some of our basic infrastructures.
“I am calling all Nigerians, especially the youths to be very careful. The whole Boko Haram saga started as a result of a protest by some youths of Maiduguri against the use of helmets by motorcycle riders. You have seen the situation now.”
The governor also blamed poverty as one of the root causes of the insurgency that has gripped the north-eastern part of the country for 11 years.
He, therefore, called on the government at all levels to avail the young people of employment opportunities, adding that military exercise is not sufficient enough in tackling terrorism in the region.
“One of the greatest root cause of insurgency is poverty. Government at all levels need to provide job opportunities to the youths, enabling environment for the poor to have access to their farmlands.
“This is the only solution. Military solution alone will not solve the problem,” Governor Zulum said.
The military says it has killed 35 suspected terrorists in Borno State, within the last week.
This is part of efforts to restore peace in the North East and the country in general.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, the Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche while confirming the death of the terrorists says the military in conjunction with other security agencies across the country progressed satisfactorily with significant successes.
“The land component of Operation Lafiya Dole conducted robust operations, the troops executed several attacks in the terrorist hideout, repelled their attacks, locations and forstalled attacks on the IDPs convey”.
General Enenche explained that these operations led to the neutralization of armed bandits, the arrest of suspected bandits and their collaborators, rescue of kidnapped victims and recoveries of rustled cattle as well as a large cache of arms and ammunition.
“During the encounters, the superior power of home troops resulted in the decimation of several Boko Haram terrorists and ISWAP elements.
“Two, three, and eight of their fighters were killed in contacts by the troops all in Gombe State.
“Large ammunitions, materials meant to produce IEDs were captured from the terrorists”, he added.
He further revealed that in a similar operation, the troops successfully repelled two several attacks by the Boko Haram members and ISWAP, two communities in Borno State.
General Enenche reassured Nigerians of the unwavering commitment of the Armed Forces to secure the country for all human activities to thrive.
The Borno State Government has provided scholarships for children, most of them orphans, whose fathers were volunteers amongst the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF), hunters, and vigilantes that were killed at battlefronts while fighting Boko Haram in the last seven years.
Governor Babagana Zulum announced this on Wednesday in Maiduguri, while addressing a gathering of about 9,000 volunteers who have been fighting alongside the Nigerian armed forces to contain the Boko Haram insurgency in Borno.
Each of the 9,000 volunteers is to receive 20,000-naira cash, a 50-kg bag of rice, a carton of spaghetti and a gallon of cooking oil, all of which were outside their regular monthly allowances.
‘Why Owe Families Of CJTF’
Governor Zulum said the emergence of the Civilian JTF in 2013 is the greatest miracle that has emanated from the state within the last ten years.
He also commended the volunteers from hunters and vigilantes for devoting their lives to fearlessly and patriotically fight side by side with soldiers and other armed forces in liberating the state from the insurgents.
“Of all the components of persons who make up the Borno society today, for me, there is no group that is as important and as critical to us as the brave men and women gathered before us today, who have given up their basic and entitled needs for safety and comfort so that millions of fellow citizens can be safe and comfortable,” he said.
“Our indomitable men and women of the civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes, the people of Borno State are mightily and gratefully proud of each of you.
“Nothing can compensate for the sacrifices you are making, only Allah can adequately compensate each of you. This is particularly so for many of our fellow compatriots who have died on the battlefields.”
The governor explained that the state has recorded instances whereby volunteers have lost their lives while fighting the terrorists.
Although he didn’t mention their names, Zulum praised their efforts, noting that they gave their lives while fighting for the people of the state.
“In the last seven years, we have recorded instances in which volunteers in the civilian JTF have intercepted suicide attackers and in the process lost their lives. We have recorded more instances of many killed in major battles after they also succeeded in our shared victories over Boko Haram at different encounters.
“I will not mention names, but there are records of warriors in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes from Southern, to Northern and Central Borno, who fought so hard and gave their lives fighting for Borno.
“These volunteers fought and died with no death benefits, no pension, and no gratuities. As we should expect, orphaned children and widows left behind by these fallen Civilian JTF and hunters have been struggling whether to feed, to access medical services, or to access basic and secondary education.”
Borno has been experiencing a series of attacks as the nation grapples with the terrorism war that has lasted for more than 10 years.
Several people have died with many more displaced in the northeast despite repeated claims by the military authorities that the terrorists have been decimated.
A former Deputy Director of the Department of State Service (DSS), Dennis Amakiri has reacted to the recent attack on Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum.
Speaking during a special programme on Channels Television to mark Nigeria’s independence anniversary on Thursday, Amakiri said Governor Zulum was warned earlier against moving out.
“The Governor of Borno State was given the intelligence that this road is not safe, he felt he could go,” he said.
“And being the Chief Executive, he ventured out. He was attacked twice. I hope he will not go again because at least they continue telling him, managing him to make sure that he keeps himself safe.”
The ex-DSS boss explained that there are certain procedures to be carried out before Very Important Persons (VIPs) move.
He noted that if such processes are not meant, the public official is exposed to danger, with the masses berating security officials for not sharing intelligence to avert an impending tragedy.
On September 25, a convoy conveying officials of the Borno State Government was attacked near Monguno town killing at least 11 security operatives among others.
The officials were ambushed by Boko Haram terrorists on Friday while they were journeying to Baga, where Governor Babagana Zulum is expected to receive returning IDPs.
Two days later, the governor faced another attack by the insurgents on Baga-Monguno road in Borno.
Govt’s convoy attack, a growing concern
The attack on Friday is the second of its kind, stirring great concern.
Earlier in July, the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, narrowly escaped a terror attack in Baga town.
Governor Zulum had departed Maiduguri, the state capital for the northern part of the state in continuation of a food distribution programme, and a few kilometers to the town, gunmen opened fire on the governor and his entourage.
Distraught by the attack, Zulum confronted the army expressing his disappointment at the inability of the military to rid Baga and environs of insurgents.
“You have been here for over one year now, there are 1,181 soldiers here; if you cannot take over Baga which is less than 5 km from your base, then we should forget about Baga. I will inform the Chief of Army Staff to redeploy the men to other places that they can be useful,” Zulum said.
The governor insisted that there is sabotage in the system that will not allow the insurgency to end in the North East.
He claimed that some elements are trying to frustrate the effort of the government in ending the insurgency, stressing that “President Muhammadu Buhari needs to know the truth”.
The military in reply to Zulum’s claims said the governor’s theories are unfounded.
The Nigerian Army has commiserated with the Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, over the attacks on his convoy last week.
They also commiserated with families of all the fallen heroes (military, police and civilian victims) following the ambush by Boko Haram Terrorists along the Monguno – Kross Kauwa road.
In a statement signed by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Sagir Musa Colonel on Monday, the Army reassured the nation of its determination and commitment to the successful prosecution of the war on terror in Nigeria.
The Army also commended the army for the ongoing efforts by the governor, to relocate displaced persons in Borno, back to their ancestral homes.
“Indeed His Excellency’s efforts are commendable and the right step in the desired direction,” Colonel Musa said.
“As a patriotic and key agency in the war on terror in the North-East Nigeria, the NA will continue to do everything possible to ensure the successful actualization of the governor’s desire and hereby declares its unflinching commitment to the relocation of the Internally Displaced Persons to their original abodes.
“In this regard, the Theatre Command has been directed to do all it takes to ensure the successful and seamless relocation of the affected people in the state.
“The relocation of these law-abiding Nigerians to their towns, villages and homes at this stage of the war against insurgency is highly strategic and a decisive political decision required to actualize both the political and military objectives of the war towards the ultimate endstate of restoring peace and stability to Borno State and NE region”.
The governor’s convoy came under attack on Sunday, while on his way out of Baga.
Zulum had departed Baga at about 10:30 am after a two-day visit to receive indigenes of the town back home after 21 months of exile.
Few kilometres away from Baga, unknown assailants believed to be members of the Boko Haram opened fire on the escort of the governor.
The convoy was being escorted out of Baga by the military who replied the gunshots and cleared the way for the governor.
The Borno State Police Command have released the names of the officers killed by Boko Haram ambush on Saturday.
Commissioner of Police, Bello Makwashi listed the names of his dead personnel on Monday when Borno Governor, Babagana Zulum visited the Command Headquarters in Maiduguri, the state capital.
“During the encounter, I want to name the names of those that lost their lives and paid the supreme price,” Makwashi said.
According to him, the affected officers are Mba Mathew, Ibrahim Muhammad, David Jarta, Jerry Joseph, John Barka, Elijah Gwarza, Eheboya Osaheinde, and Nura Aminu.
The police boss told the governor that the State Command had to break the sad news to the families of those in Maiduguri, adding that some were still on their way coming.
Meanwhile, the wives of the slain officers have appealed to the governor for support during the trying moment.
Mrs Effa David Jarta who spoke on behalf of the widows said they received the news of the unfortunate incident that claimed the lives of their breadwinners in utter shock, adding that “it is not easy.”
“It is God’s design for them, everybody will die but our prayer is to consider us. Let the government see us and pay all the benefits of our husbands. This is all I have to tell you.”
Mrs Joseph thanked the governor for his visit but said “consider us and the situation we are in.”
On his part, Governor Zulum expressed deep regret about the incident which he said was the first in 18 months since he became governor.
He however assured the women of his commitment to support their livelihood efforts and the education of their children.
“I am standing before you here, I am not here to just see you and go back. God willing we shall not let you down, we shall support you.” Zulum assured.
This comes three days after Boko Haram ambushed the convoy of the state government.
The convoy ran into an ambush by Boko Haram at a spot called Korochara, which is about 2km away from the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force on the way to Baga from Monguno.
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday condemned the ambush of an entourage of Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, which led to the death of security men and some operatives of a civilian joint task force.
At least 11 security operatives have been confirmed dead in the attack on Friday, the second in as many months on Zulum’s convoy within his home state.
In a statement signed by spokesman Garba Shehu, the President described the attack, which occurred on the Maiduguri-Baga route, as an orchestrated sabotage against the long-planned return of displaced persons to their local communities.
“President Buhari notes, with deep sympathy, the loss of lives of security men on the convoy, ahead of the return of Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, commiserating with their families and loved ones,” Shehu’s statement said.
“The President advises the government of Borno State, working with security and intelligence agencies, to remain firm in their determination to restore normalcy to all communities liberated from Boko Haram terrorists.”
According to the statement, President Buhari also urged security and intelligence agencies to intensify efforts to secure routes within the state.
“The President commends the gallantry of service personnel who repelled the deadly ambush, as well the sincere determination of Governor Zulum, who has been working with armed forces to end the menace of terrorists, rebuild homes and return IDPs to regular life,” the statement said.
“He prayed that God will grant the souls of the departed security men and operatives of Civilian-JTF eternal rest, and comfort their families.”