The Nigerian Army is insisting that the second girl, Sarah Luka who was on Thursday rescued from the Sambisa Forest is one of the Chibok students abducted by the Boko Haram in 2014.
The announcement of the rescue had generated debate, with some people questioning the Army’s claim, saying Sarah Luka is not one of the names on the list of the abducted girls.
In a telephone interview with Channels Television, the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sanni Usman, said the Army carried out thorough investigation, including consultation with the authorities at the Government Secondary School in Chibok before announcing the rescue of Sarah Luka.
“Before we informed the public, we carried out some form of confirmatory check in respect of her true identity and what she told us.
“The fact is she was abducted from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, and hails from Madagali in Adamawa State”.
He further stated that the military is working hard to ensure that the abducted Chibok Girls are rescued
Operation Crack Down
Colonel Usman disclosed that a special operation has been set up called “Operation Crack Down” to wipe out the Boko Haram terrorist in Sambisa Forest and ensure those held hostage are released.
He stated that the operation was embarked upon due to an intelligence report, describing the criticisms going around as “sad and unfortunate”.
The Nigerian Army has issued what it calls a ‘final warning’ to Boko Haram terrorists, asking them to surrender or face full defeat by December 2015.
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sanni Usman, also called on the international community to join in demanding that the terrorists should surrender, as the military would not tolerate any unnecessary criticism for actions that would be taken after.
The warning is coming a day after the Service Chiefs met with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss the success and the challenges facing the military in the war against terror.
President Buhari had in August mandated the military to end the activities of Boko Haram terrorists in the north-east within three months.
At the meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Monday, President Buhari received an assurance from the Service Chiefs that the December deadline would be met.
While briefing reporters after the meeting, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, said the meeting had become necessary to review the operations of the military after 60 days into the new order.
“Boko Haram will be flushed out,” he said.
General Olonisakin said the mandate would be delivered, in spite of the challenges of weather and logistics.
In September, some 200 members of the Boko Haram sect surrendered to the Nigerian Army.
Troops fighting the insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria have continued to record impressive results, as the Army has announced the capture of one Boko Haram commander who is at present undergoing investigation.
According to the Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sanni Usman, the militant was apprehended during an offensive operation conducted by the troops of the 21 Brigade in conjunction with elements of 151 Task Force Battalion of 7 Division, around Aulari in Bama axis.
The offensive also resulted in the rescue of 178 people held captive by the terrorists, including 101 children, 67 women and 10 men.
He said that the troops, consolidating on their success under Operation Lafiya Dole, have also successfully cleared the terrorists’ camps in Fadan, Shuwarin, Wulari, Ngoro Dauye, Jidori and several other locations.
In a telephone interview with Channels Television on Monday morning, Colonel Sanni Usman said that the military remained committed to its mission to rid the country of terrorism.
“Nigerian military is working tremendously to ensure that the number of suicide bombings is reduced in the country.
“What I am trying to say is that apart from the Nigerian Army, other agencies are doing the best they could to ensure that the fight against terrorism and insurgency in any form is successful,” he said.
He also asked for the cooperation of all Nigerians to ensure that they succeed in the fight.
Fifty-nine civilians held captive by the Boko Haram group in Borno State, have been rescued by troops of 21 brigade and elements of Nigerian Army Engineers.
The troops also cleared the terrorist camp at Chuogori and Shantumari, as part of efforts to rid Nigeria of insurgents in the north-east.
According a spokesman for the Army, Colonel Sanni Usman, during the offensive operations, the fleeing terrorists left underground silos.
He also added that “troops of 151 Task Force battalion, conducted operations on Kashingeri, Wale and Kushingari, Boko Haram terrorist camps, killing a number of the terrorists and recovering vehicles”.
Earlier, the Nigerian troops had successfully cleared all terrorists’ camps in Alagarno, Borno State.
The Nigerian military has sent a reconnaissance and advance team to Maiduguri, Borno State for the establishment of the Military Command and Control Centre (MCCC) for ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’.
This is in compliance with the Presidential pronouncement and the Chief of Army Staff’s directive for the fight against terrorism and insurgency.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sanni Usman, said, “The team, which is led by a 2-Star General, has already commenced work in earnest and it is comprised of elements of the Office of the Chief of Army Staff, all the relevant Army Headquarters Departments and other combat support components.”
The Centre, according to Col. Usman, will serve as a forward command base for the Chief of Army Staff and other Service Chiefs.
He added that the Military Command Centre is essentially an elaboration of an already existing Army Headquarters Command and Control arrangement which will monitor, coordinate and control the fight against terrorism and insurgency would be coordinated and controlled from this centre.
He said that the MCCC would not create another layer of command structure but would add renewed vigour to the ‘Operation Zaman Lafiya’.
He also said that an alternate command centre is also being established in Yola.