A Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) set up to rid the Lake Chad region of terrorists on Wednesday said it had helped to facilitate the return of a Nigerian nurse from the grip of the ISWAP, a terrorist organisation.
The MNJTF comprises units of military personnel from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria.
In a statement signed from Chad, an MNJTF spokesman, Colonel Muhammad Dole, said the nurse had been held in captivity since the beginning of 2020.
During an air-bomb raid of an ISWAP stronghold in the Lake Chad, the nurse ran for dear life and escaped to Niger Republic, where he was handed over to the MNJTF.
“After bombs and rockets from the aircrafts landed and everywhere exploded in flames, both terrorists and hostages ran for dear life,” the nurse said, as quoted by the MNJTF. “I had to take my chance. I am grateful to God that I was able to escape.”
The nurse was medically examined before he was finally handed over to Nigerian authorities, the MNJTF said.
READ THE MNJTF’s FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
MNJTF FACILITATES RETURN OF NURSE ABDUCTED BY ISWAP
In consonance with the mandate of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which includes to “Facilitate within the limits of it’s capabilities, humanitarian operations and the delivery of assistance to the affected populations”, the Task Force has facilitated the return of a Nigerian Nurse (name and organization withheld) who was abducted by ISWAP and held in captivity since the beginning of 2020.
2. The nurse who was incarcerated in one of ISWAP’s strong holds in the Lake Chad bolted to safety and freedom, in the aftermath of a joint air interdiction conducted by the MNJTF and national partners. According to him, “after bombs and rockets from the aircrafts landed and everywhere exploded in flames, both terrorists and hostages ran for dear life. I had to take my chance. I am grateful to God that I was able to escape”. The nurse then made his way to a village in Niger Republic and was promptly handed over to security agents in Sector 4 of the MNJTF.
3. The airlift and hand- over of the nurse to Nigerian authorities was preceded by medical examination conducted to determine the state of health of the victim after spending 8 months in the horrific and squalid conditions which he had to endure during the period of his captivity in ISWAP enclave.
4. The MNJTF wishes to reassure populations in the Lake Chad Basin of it’s determination to provide security and facilitate development efforts being spearheaded by the respective national governments and international development partners.
5. Please, disseminate this information to the general public.
Signed Colonel Muhammad Dole Chief of Military Public Information HQ MNJTF Ndjamena Chad 26 August 2020
“The Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has taken another major scalp off the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) elements operating in the Island settlements of the Lake Chad in the Northern part of Borno State.
“This occurred yesterday, 24 August 2020, in massive simultaneous air strikes executed under the subsidiary Operation HAIL STORM at Kirta Wulgo and Sabon Tumbun, 2 settlements on the fringes of the Lake, where several key ISWAP leaders and scores of their fighters were killed.
“The missions were conducted on the heels of credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports indicating that some ISWAP leaders and fighters had relocated to Sabon Tumbun due to the impact of the recent air strikes at the nearby Island settlement of Tumbuma Baba.
“Similarly, up to 15 high ranking ISWAP Commanders along with scores of their fighters were harboured at Kirta Wulgo, which serves as Administrative Headquarters and training camp for ISWAP,” the statement partly read.
A camp of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters in Borno State has been destroyed, the military has said.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, confirmed this in a statement on Friday.
He noted that the terrorists’ camp, located at Tongule in the Lake Chad area of Northern Borno, was knocked out by the Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole.
Enenche added that the airstrikes were conducted on Wednesday following credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports indicating terrorists’ activities in the village.
He revealed that the operation, which was in continuation of the air offensive against terrorist elements in the North East, resulted in the death of scores of the ISWAP fighters at the camp.
“Accordingly, following confirmatory Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, which showed the presence of a sizable number of the ISWAP elements at designated locations in the settlement, the Air Task Force dispatched a force package of Nigerian Air Force (NAF) fighter jets to attack the location.
“The NAF jets took turns in engaging the location scoring devastating hits on the designated targets leading to the destruction of the structures, as well as the neutralisation of several ISWAP fighters,” the statement said.
On his part, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, commended the Air Task Force for their dedication and professionalism.
He also urged them to intensify the air offensive against the terrorists and all other criminal elements in the country.
State governors in the north-eastern part of the country have identified some of the root causes of the insurgency raving the region.
They stated this on Monday in Abuja at a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss ways to intensify the war against insurgency.
The Chairman of the North-East Governors’ Forum, Babagana Zulum of Borno State, who led the governors to the Villa, stressed the need for the Nigerian government to address the root causes of the insurgency.
According to him, the insurgents are taking advantage of endemic poverty and hunger among other challenges in the region to recruit more members into their fold.
Briefing State House correspondent at the end of the meeting, Zulum said, “One of the root causes is access to farmlands. People need to go back to their farmlands; people need to be resettled in their original homes so that they can start their means of livelihood.
“This is one of the reasons why insurgents are recruiting more (members) into their sects and creating an enabling environment for people to go about their normal activities will no doubt reduce the cases of insurgencies.”
“We also recommended that the police should be provided with state-of-the-art equipment, armoured personal carriers among others, with a view to bridging the manpower gap that we are having in the Nigerian military,” the governor added.
He also stressed the need for the Federal Government to work closely with the state and local governments with a view to providing solutions that would end the crisis in the region.
Governor Zulum, however, noted that the government was taking a bold step to ensure the best ways to tackle some of the challenges faced by people in the North East.
Other governors present included Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Umar Fintiri (Adamawa), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).
Members of the Boko Haram terrorist group and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) have carried out a series of attacks on communities in the region over the years, leading to the death of thousands of residents and forceful ejection of millions of others from their homes.
While the military said it has recorded many feats in the onslaught against the insurgents, the state governors in the region, who were apparently disturbed by the recent activities of the non-state fighters, met with the President.
‘Nigerians Believed Us’
Earlier, at the meeting, President Buhari gave strong assurances that security would be restored to Borno State, the North East, and the nation at large.
The President’s assurance, according to a statement by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, follows the recent adoption of new strategies and the acquisition of modern military equipment.
“Things will improve very soon. We are acquiring modern equipment; some are here, some are being cleared, and others still coming.
“We need patience with acquisition of equipment. You need to train the trainers for their usage ahead of their deployment to the field,” President Buhari was quoted as saying in the statement.
He added, “I assure you, the north-east governors, especially that of Borno, that we go to bed and wake up thinking about you, how to secure our country; that is the responsibility of every government.
“Our party campaigned in 2015 on three major objectives, among which is Security. We said the same thing in 2019 and Nigerians believed us. We are doing our best and we will continue to do even better.”
The President decried the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy which he said has made scarce resources even scarcer, coupled with its severe impact on the supply chain of military equipment and spare parts.
He, however, stated that his administration was doing its best on the question of equipment and the military was aware that equipment were coming from some countries.
President Buhari lamented that the acquisition of military wares and spares was not an easy task.
‘We Will Not Relent’
The meeting was also attended by the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, as well as the Chief of Defence Staff, the Service Chiefs, the Inspector-General of Police, and the heads of intelligence agencies.
Some of the attendees promised that things would get better soon and made a strong case for strengthening ties among the military, state governments, traditional institutions, and all communities and the residents of the region.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, gave an assessment of the current efforts, stressing that Boko Haram terrorists have been flushed out of all the states in the region, leaving Borno State as the last stop.
“There are no Boko Haram terrorists in neighbouring states. They have been pushed out, and now cornered in Borno State.
“We are coordinating with civil and traditional authorities, mobilising and reinforcing and all we need is patience. We will not relent,” he said.
On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, briefed the meeting on the acquisition of military aircraft, stressing that the imminent arrival of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, UAVs, known as drones with more than 10 hours of flying time, would strongly reinforce the battlefront.
Briefs were also received on equipment needs of the police, as well as the changing alliances between criminal gangs and terrorist groups in the region from the intelligence community.
Troops of 130 Battalion have killed at least 20 members of the Boko Haram sect and Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) in a fierce encounter at the north-western part of Baga town in Borno State.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, confirmed the number of terrorists killed in a statement on Sunday.
He noted the troops conducted the decisive intercept offensive operation with the support of the Nigerian Army Super Camp in Baga.
Enenche explained that the insurgents who were armed with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and small weapons were on their way to attack villages surrounding Baga before the gunfight took place.
“The troops attacked their convoy with overwhelming firepower, killing 20 BHT/ISWAP criminals, captured six AK 47 rifles, 520 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, and five 36 hand grenades.
“However, nine of our gallant soldiers were wounded in action with no loss of life. They were evacuated to Sector 3 hospital for treatment,” he stated.
According to the military spokesman, the Chief of Army Staff commends the soldiers for their professionalism and directs them to remain resolute towards eradicating the criminals from the North East.
Eleven ISWAP Fighters have surrendered to troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in Adamawa state.
This is according to a statement from the Nigeria Defence Headquarters.
According to the communique, “On 11 May 2020, eleven ISWAP fighters surrendered to troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in Adamawa State.
“The repentant insurgents are being profiled for further action. This number of surrendered BHT/ISWAP fighters is an indication of the heat of our operational activities on the terrorists due to the renewed impetus in the theatre to end the criminality. There are indications that more terrorists are willing to surrender.
One of such moves, was the dropping off of 72 family members of BHTs/ISWAP at the entrance of Ngala town in Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State on 10 May 2020 around 8.30pm, comprising 33 women and 39 children. All of them are in custody of troops for further action.
“It would be recalled that the De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration programme for ex-fighters under Operation SAFE CORRIDOR has recorded tremendous success. So far, 280 clients have successfully undergone the programme and reintegrated into the society, 25 of this number were repatriated to Niger Republic. Presently, 603 clients are due to pass out in June 2020. Other fighters are hereby encouraged to come out of the bush/hideouts to surrender.”
Meanwhile, on 9 May 2020 troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE at Uvaha High Ground Area in Limankara, Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State neutralized 3 suicide bombers attempting to infiltrate the defence location.
Similarity, troops of 144 Battalion, 82 Division task Force Battalion, 26 Task Force Brigade and 271 Task Force Tank Battalion neutralized 18 Boko Haram Terrorists within the past one week. These operations took place at Gamboru Ngala, Firgi Mubi – Kamale Road in Michika Local Government Area of Adamawa State as well as Ngoshe near the Nigeria – Cameroon border. A total of 72 persons were also rescued from the Boko Haram Terrorists.’
Also, on 9 May 2020, troops of 121 Task Force Battalion, at Pulka – Ngurosoye, near Bama town repelled BHT ambush and killed 20 terrorists, while on escort duty. Equally, on 13 May 2020, Operation LAFIYA DOLE troops killed 9 insurgents in an ambush at Mainok – Jakana axis in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno State. Two gun trucks mounted with anti aircraft gun were captured.
In all, sixty-one Boko Haram Terrorists/ISWAP criminals were neutralized in the Theatre, aside from those that escaped with gunshot wounds with narrow chances of survival.
In a swift operation, within this period, gallant Troop of Army Super Camp Mallam Fatori on 11 May 2020, conducted a clearance operation to Tumbun Fulani in Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State.
Several terrorists were killed while their vehicles and logistics bases were destroyed.
The Nigerian Air Force says its Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole has killed several Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists at Kolloram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State.
The Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche who confirmed the attack said the operation was conducted based on credible intelligence reports, indicating that some of the ISWAP leaders and fighters had converged in the settlement for a meeting.
He noted that the Air Force fighter jets and surveillance aircraft were scrambled to attack the location.
According to Enenche, the terrorists were seen moving towards the edges of the settlement and were engaged, leading to the neutralisation of several of them.
The Defence spokesman explained that the few survivors were taken out in subsequent passes as the jets strafed the area.
“The operation was executed on 17 April 2020 on the heels of credible Human Intelligence (HUMINT) reports, which were confirmed by series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, indicating that the settlement was one of the locations where some of the terrorists’ hierarchy often hibernate.
“Fighter jets dispatched by the Air Task Force took turns in attacking the location, scoring accurate hits within the target area which resulted in the death of some of the terrorists,” the statement said.
Major General Enenche added that others, who were seen attempting to flee the area, were taken out in follow-on attacks.
He noted that the Armed Forces of Nigeria would continue to sustain the offensive against those he described as the enemies of the nation.
The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations explained that this would be done in furtherance of the objective of restoring peace and security in the North East.
The Nigerian military says it has destroyed some structures belonging to the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) in air strikes conducted at Muktu in the Northern part of Borno State.
The airstrike was executed by the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole on Wednesday, March 25.
According to a statement signed on Thursday by Defence Headquarters spokesperson, Bernard Onyeuko, this is part of the ongoing subsidiary’s Operation Decisive Edge, after Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) flights which indicated that the ISWAP members were using some compounds in two locations within the settlement to store their logistics as well as train their fighters.
“Accordingly, Operation Lafiya Dole dispatched its fighter jets to engage the identified compounds, scoring accurate hits leading to the destruction of the structures as well as the neutralization of their occupants,” Onyeuko added.
He assured that the Armed Forces of Nigeria will continue to sustain the offensive against the enemies of our Nation.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has said that some structures and logistics facilities used by the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State have been destroyed by airstrikes.
According to the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement on Sunday, intelligence reports indicated that the terrorists had resumed using the settlement to store their logistics supplies.
He added that aircraft dispatched by the ATF provided close air support for ground troops at Gubio and destroyed one gun truck and eliminated some ISWAP fighters at the location.
In continuation of Operation DECISIVE EDGE, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has successfully knocked out some logistics facilities and other structures belonging to elements of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) at Bukar Meram on the fringes of the Lake Chad in Borno State.
Similarly, aircraft dispatched by the ATF to provide close air support for ground troops at Gubio in the Northwestern part of Borno State also destroyed one gun truck and eliminated some ISWAP fighters at the location.
The Air Force spokesman added that fighter jets and a helicopter gunship scrambled by the ATF to provide close air support to ground troops at Gubio neutralized an ISWAP gun truck and some of their fighters as they attempted to beat a retreat after they were roundly defeated by a combination of air and ground fire.
The Nigerian Air Force, in furtherance of the objective of restoring peace and security in the Northeast and operating in concert with surface forces, will continue to carry out air interdiction missions against the enemies of our Nation.
The IGP’s meeting with top police commanders follows Sunday’s attack by bandits in five villages in Giwa and Igabi local government areas of Kaduna state by where no fewer than 51 people were killed and several others injured.
Channels Television reported that during a visit to some of the affected villages, Governor Nasir El-Rufai vowed to wipe out bandits in Kaduna state.
He insisted that his administration will not succumb to granting the bandits amnesty.
Governor El-Rufai apologised to the villagers on behalf of his government for failing to protect them, while assuring them that troops of the Nigerian military will be stationed in the villages to provide adequate security.