The Nigerian Military says it has destroyed compounds housing Boko Haram terrorist leaders in Borno State.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, confirmed this in a statement on Wednesday.
He explained that the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole conducted the attacks at Bulawa on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest.
“The air strikes were executed on April 21, 2020, based on credible human intelligence reports as well as Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions that led to the identification of the target compounds within the settlement.
“Fighter jets dispatched by the Air Task Force to take out the compounds scored accurate hits in the target area, leading to the destruction of some of the structures as well as the neutralisation of some of the terrorists occupying the compounds,” the statement said.
Major General Enenche added that some Boko Haram fighters who attempted to reposition to engage the attacking aircraft were mopped-up in follow-on attacks by the jets.
He insisted that the military would sustain the offensive against the terrorists, as part of efforts to restore peace and security in the North East.
A bill seeking the establishment of an agency for repentant members of the Boko Haram terrorist group has been introduced in the Senate.
It aims to create a national agency that would see to the rehabilitation, de-radicalisation, and integration of repentant insurgents in the country.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gaidam during plenary on Thursday at the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.
It is captioned ‘National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 340)’.
The bill was read for the first time in the red chamber, along with others sponsored by some senators in the chamber.
They include Federal Polytechnic Maiduguri (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 338) by Senator Kashim Shettima, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Alteration) Bill, 2020 (SB. 274) by Senator Solomon Adeola, and Metallurgy Training Institute Orumba (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB. 338) by Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.
The sponsor of the bill, Senator Gaidam, is the lawmaker representing Yobe East District in the Senate.
He is also the immediate past governor of Yobe, one of the worst-hit states by insurgents in the north-eastern part of the country.
Other states that have suffered attacks the most in the heat of the insurgency, according to reports, are Borno and Adamawa States.
One of the worst attacks by the insurgents in Yobe, although by a factional Boko Haram group – Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), was the incident in Dapchi.
The insurgents invaded the Government Girls Secondary School in Dapchi on February 19, 2018, where they abducted over 100 schoolgirls.
Weeks later, the girls returned to their families except Leah Sharibu, who was held back by the insurgents for refusing to renounce her Christian faith.
Amid various calls for her release and the government’s efforts towards ensuring that Leah regains her freedom, she marked two years on Wednesday in the custody of the insurgents.
The United Nations has condemned the spate of attacks on aid workers providing support to victims of insurgency in the north-eastern region of Nigeria.
UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, revealed on Thursday that the number of humanitarian workers killed by the insurgents last year was twice the figure recorded in the previous year.
“A total of twelve aid workers have lost their lives in 2019,” he said in a statement forwarded to Channels Television.
The UN envoy added, “This is twice more than in 2018, which we thought was amongst the most dangerous years for humanitarian actors in Nigeria.”
He blamed the killings on the environment in which aid workers carry out their duties, stressing that the level of insecurity in the region has been on the rise.
Kallon also decried the activities of the insurgents at various checkpoints in the region, saying the trend has exposed a lot of innocent citizens to attacks in recent times.
He said, “I am extremely worried by the increasingly insecure environment that humanitarians are working in to provide urgent and vital assistance to civilians affected by the crisis.
“The humanitarian community is troubled by the increased trend in vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes in the states of Borno and Yobe.”
“These checkpoints expose civilians and humanitarians to heightened risks of being killed or abducted,” the humanitarian coordinator said.
He, therefore, urged the Nigerian Government and all relevant agencies to protect the residents and aid workers from “grave violations” of international laws.
Kallon advised that special attention should be given to women and children who he said were among the most vulnerable people caught up in the violence.
According to him, aid workers and the assistance they provide to the most vulnerable populations make the difference between life and death for entire communities in crisis-affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
“Their security is paramount, and I call on all parties to assure the safety of aid workers and the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid,” he said.
The United Nations is worried about the activities of Boko Haram insurgents at various checkpoints in the North-East.
With the recent trend, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, believes the people in the region and aid workers there are more exposed to attacks by the terrorists.
“I am extremely worried by the increasingly insecure environment that humanitarians are working in to provide urgent and vital assistance to civilians affected by the crisis,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
Kallon added, “The humanitarian community is troubled by the increasing trend in vehicular checkpoints set up by non-state armed groups along main supply routes in the states of Borno and Yobe.
“These checkpoints expose civilians and humanitarians to heightened risks of being killed or abducted.”
The UN envoy also decried the spate of attacks on aid workers providing support to victims of insurgency in the region.
He disclosed that a total of 12 humanitarian workers were killed last year, stressing that the figure doubled the number recorded in 2018.
Kallon blamed the killings on the environment in which aid workers carry out their duties, insisting that the level of insecurity in the region has been on the rise.
He, therefore, called on the Nigerian Government and all relevant agencies to protect the residents and aid workers from “grave violations” of international laws.
Aid workers and the assistance they provide to the most vulnerable populations, according to him, make the difference between life and death for entire communities in crisis-affected Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, confirmed the release in a statement forwarded to Channels Television on Thursday.
He said, “I am deeply relieved that some civilians, including three aid workers, who were abducted by non-state armed groups along the Monguno – Maiduguri road on 22 December 2019 have been released yesterday and are now safe.”
“The whole humanitarian community in Nigeria shares the joy of the families, friends and colleagues of these aid workers, who can now put to rest the unimaginable anxiety of missing their loved ones,” the UN envoy added.
He described the freed aid workers as dedicated humanitarians making efforts to provide life-saving support to millions of Nigeria’s “most vulnerable” in north-eastern Borno State.
“They should never have been a target or have to endure the trauma of being held captive,” Kallon decried.
Although he welcomed the release of the three aid workers, the humanitarian coordinator was worried about the fate of the others abducted in the incident.
He was also concerned for the lives of two other aid workers – Grace Taku who was abducted near Damasak in July 2019, as well as Alice Loksha, a nurse and a mother who has been held captive since March 2018 following an attack in Rann.
“Both are still held captive by non-state armed groups. The United Nations and its humanitarian partners call for their immediate and safe release,” said Kallon.
Boko Haram insurgents, on Monday, attacked the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi.
According to a military source, the incident occurred around 7:20 pm when Adeniyi was on his way back to Maiduguri after a visit to troops who were recently deployed to Jakana to strengthen the security in the general area.
“As we were coming back to Maiduguri after we left Jakana, we suddenly started hearing gunshots all over,” the source who pleaded anonymity said.
“Before we realized it, they had bombarded us with heavy fire from different angles. Fortunately for us, we were able to repel the attack and escape.
He, however, stated that the vehicle of the theatre commandant was badly damaged with many gun holes.
The Army later released a statement. Read the full statement below.
More Criminal Boko Haram Insurgents Decimated At The Site Of A Failed Ambush Sprung Against The Theater Commanders’ Convoy.
In a clear display of misguided desperation to stage a reprisal following the recent neutralisation of several of their top commanders by troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, on 6 January 2020, some marauding elements of the criminal Boko Haram insurgents laid and eventually sprung an ambush against the convoy of the Theater Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi.
The Theatre Commander’s convoy came under the criminals ineffective and uncoordinated fire from Anti-Aircraft Guns, Machines Guns, Rocket Propelled Grenades and some of their foot soldiers about 2 Kilometers to Auno in Kaga LGA of Borno State while returning from Jakana where he visited troops’ location following his earlier meeting with the Executive Governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum at Auno.
In a commendable demonstration of bold action in battle, the Theatre Commander led the gallant troops of his convoy to engage the criminal Boko Haram Insurgents with superior firepower, subduing them and thereafter assaulting the ambush site with his men thereby causing the criminal insurgents to flee the location in disarray.
Other senior military officers in the Theatre Commanders’ convoy at the time of the ambush include the Deputy Theatre Commander, Maj Gen MG Ali, Brig Gen EI Eze, Brig Gen SI Igbinomwanya and Lt AA Tejuoso. In the aftermath of the encounter, several Boko Haram criminal insurgents were decimated.
Additionally, 20 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 2 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, one camouflage trouser, one Nigeria Police Force fragmental jacket, 2 AK 47 Rifles and 3 AK 47 Rifle magazines were captured from the fleeing insurgents.
Thereafter, the Theatre Commander Major General Olusegun Adeniyi and his convoy continued their trip and have since returned safely to the Headquarters Theatre Command Operation LAFIYA DOLE in Maiduguri.
Regrettably, 2 soldiers were wounded in action during the encounter. The Wounded soldiers are currently receiving treatment at a military medical facility and are responding positively to treatment.
To this end, the Theatre Commander, on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai congratulates the troops for their resilience and courage and urges them not to relent in their efforts until all the remnants of the Boko Haram and ISWAP criminal insurgents are completely annihilated and defeated.
You are kindly requested to disseminate the above information to the general public for awareness. Thank you for your usual cooperation.
*AMINU ILIYASU* Colonel Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator 7 January 2020
“Military operation has to be followed by stabilisation mechanism and, therefore, three local government areas are really key,” he stated, adding that they must “be retaken”.
The governor said, “We shall be happy if the Nigerian military and other security operatives will develop a modus operandi of re-establishing such businesses to boost the local economy.”
He stressed the need for the military to incorporate economic recovery and rehabilitation of idle people in towns around the Lake Chad region where the insurgents were still holding sway.
The governor was also worried that keeping thousands of people, especially in camps with no source of livelihood was a ready-made material for Boko Haram insurgents on recruitment missions in villages.
He, however, believes with the military presence and civil authority, the economy of the areas would be rejuvenated, and the Boko Haram menace would be reduced.
On his part, Magashi informed his host that he was in Borno to appraise the operations that would shape future decisions in the counter-insurgency war in the North East.
He paid the governor a courtesy visit at the State House in company with top officers of the army and the Nigerian Air Force in the state.
The minister had visited the Headquarters of the Air Task Force of Operation Lafia Dole on Sunday and proceeded to Monguno, the Headquarters of Sector 3.
During his visit to the Theatre of Operation which lasted two days, Magashi had a series of interactions with various unit commanders in the presence of the service chiefs who had accompanied him.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, conducted the visiting minister and the service chiefs around the Theatre as they assessed equipment and the armoury.
Adeniyi said the fighting troops were resolute and would not be distracted in their goal until the insurgents were defeated.
The minister’s visit came at a time when the activities of the insurgents appear to be thriving around the Lake Chad Basin.
Fourteen people, including two Red Cross workers and an army sergeant, have been kidnapped in Borno State.
According to two security sources, the group was intercepted by fighters from the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) on Wednesday night.
“Terrorists from ISWAP set up a roadblock on a road between Maiduguri and Damaturu yesterday… and took 14 people,” one security source said.
“Among the kidnap victims are an army sergeant and his family and two Red Cross staff who were also taken.”
A second security source confirmed the kidnapping of the soldier and the Red Cross workers.
The two are the latest aid workers snatched by insurgents in the region, where the army has been fighting for about a decade.
ISWAP is a Boko Haram splinter faction that swore allegiance to Islamic State in 2016. It has carried out numerous attacks on civilians.
In a statement, the group claimed that six soldiers and eight civilians, including two Red Cross workers, were among those kidnapped.
A representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), contacted by telephone, said the organisation was not able to confirm whether they were employees of the local Red Cross or the ICRC.
They were still making checks on Thursday.
Six Nigerian aid workers — one woman and five men — were seized in July by ISWAP jihadists during an ambush on their convoy close to the border with Niger.
Action Against Hunger (ACF) charity said in September that militants had killed one of the six. But the group did not identify the victim.
ISWAP had previously released a video following the abduction of the female ACF staff member in which she pleaded for the release of the hostages with her, five male colleagues behind her.
The decade-long insurgency in the country has killed 35,000 people and displaced about two million from their homes especially in the northeast region.
According to the media coordinator, the ambush was reinforced with a crudely prepared Improvised Explosive Device planted against the troops.
He said rather than getting discouraged by the sudden attack on them, the troops turned around the initial setback and dealt a devastating blow on their attackers.
“Having so clearly asserted their superiority in the ensuing firefight, the criminal insurgents were forced to flee in disarray.
“The gallant troops then embarked on a relentless pursuit of the scampering insurgents who abandoned some of their fighting equipment in utter confusion,” Colonel Iliyasu.
He noted that the operation was conducted barely two weeks after some Boko Haram fighters suffered a tactical boomerang when a sizeable number of them were killed and many others injured as they mistakenly stepped on the same improvised explosive device that they had earlier planted against soldiers.
The army media coordinator revealed that at the end of the pursuit and exploitation, two gun trucks, two anti-aircraft guns, and 2,080 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition were recovered by troops.
Other items recovered are 26 rounds of 12.7 mm armor-piercing incendiary ammunition, three AK 47 rifles, six rounds of 12.7 mm (belted), one AOJOE motorcycle, as well as some clothes, foodstuff, and mechanical tools belonging to the insurgents.
Colonel Iliyasu said most of the insurgents were believed to have escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds while troops have continued to dominate the area with patrols.
In his reaction, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, commended the troops for their gallantry, saying the army would accomplish its constitutional mandate professionally and responsively for a secured Nigeria.
He also thanked all well-meaning Nigerians for their support, goodwill, and understanding towards personnel of the force as they tackle the security challenges confronting the nation.
Monday’s action was another heavy loss for the army, which lost a hundred soldiers in two jihadist attacks in a month in the autumn.
Northern Mali fell into the hands of jihadists in 2012 before the militants were forced out by a French-led military intervention.
Since then, however, the border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have become the theatre of repeated clashes with jihadist fighters.
Mali’s army has been struggling to contain the Islamist insurgency despite help from African neighbours, MINUSMA, the 13,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, and former colonial power in the region France.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe in a visit to neighbouring Senegal on Monday called on all west African states to help tackle jihadist groups operating in the Sahel.
“One thing is certain: jihadist groups will benefit, as soon as they can, from our weaknesses, from our lack of coordination or from our lack of commitment or training,” said Philippe, at the opening of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security.
French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to take decisions “in the coming weeks” on how France can help tackle jihadist violence in the Sahel.
He said progress had been made “on the security situation” and decisions would be announced on revamping the G5 regional cooperation force in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
France earlier this month also announced their troops had killed a top jihadist leader in Mali, described by the defence ministry as the second most-wanted terrorist in the Sahel.
Moroccan Ali Maychou belonged to the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM) in Mali, which has claimed responsibility for some of the biggest attacks in the Sahel.