Nigerian military on Sunday asked terrorists fighting for the extremist Boko Haram sect “to give up their ignoble adventure” and surrender to the nation’s security forces.
A statement by the military said troops were now conducting operations in the heart of Sambisa forest to smoke out the remnants of the terrorist sect.
The statement signed by the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Leo Irabor, said members of the terrorist group who lay down their arms “would be humanely treated in line with international best practices and in accordance with the international humanitarian law.”
Mr. Irabor, a major general, listed the major successes recorded so far by the Nigerian troops against sect, and thanked Nigerians for their support for the military.
He said the military was more determined than ever before to secure the nation.
Mr. Irabor said the support of President Muhammadu Buhari in the fight against terrorism was “outstanding”, and that “the direction given by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen T Y Buratai in this operation was unique.
“We remain absolutely loyal and committed to the cause for which we are assigned to,” Mr. Irabor said.
The military has in the past year recorded major victories against the Boko Haram sect, which at some point controlled vast territories in Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa States.
The insurgency has caused the death of an estimated 20,000 people since it began in 2009.
Read full statement by the military below.
1. In the spirit of keeping you informed on the activities of troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, I wish to address you today given that you are valued stakeholders in the quest for peace and stability in the North East of Nigeria. Since our last meeting, troops have continued on the path of success in the fight against Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs). It is my intention to mention some of the operations and the resulting exploits. Before that however, I wish to inform you that troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE are conducting operations in the heart of SAMBISA Forest. Troops are deep into the forest to smoke out BHTs. We shall bring you the details subsequently. Meanwhile, the outcomes of major operations in other areas are as follows:
a. Following a tip-off, troops intercepted 4 female suicide bombers approaching from SAMBISA in the general area of JIMINI-BOLARI village. Two unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices on the suicide bombers were safely detonated by own EOD team. During the incident, 2 women and a baby from NGAWAFETE village were arrested after the blast as they were seen approaching MADIYARI village.
b. Also, a suspected BHT training camp at MUDALLAH village in DIKWA LGA was raided by troops on 1 April 16. Consequently, troops made contact and killed a suspected BHT Amir and 6 others while capturing 5 of them. During the raid, 5 BHT vehicles and several BHTs flags were destroyed. Also, over 1,000 civilians held captive were rescued.
c. Similarly, on 3 April 16, Operation LAFIYA DOLE troops conducted fighting patrol to BOBOSHE, GARNA, KYARE, GINBA and AJIRI villages. The patrol team recovered 8 industrial gas cylinders and 5 regular gas cylinders at a primary school being used for bomb making. Also, 3 BHTs were captured while 4 motor cycles, 3 bicycles, a solar panel and 2 containers of liquid herbicides were destroyed.
d. On 28 April 16, troops embarked on fighting patrols in the general area of BOGORO, DUGUNO 1, 2 and 3. On reaching MBARAKA, they encountered and cleared some BHT elements. The troops proceeded to JADDA village where they engaged and killed 4 BHTs. The patrol team also discovered a big pit where the BHTs used for dumping their victims to die and rot. The patrol team later freed some hostages and recovered an AK-47 rifle, 30 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, 12 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 14 Dane guns, a motorcycle, 2 solar panels, 120 litres of AGO, some packets of panadol and a food storage facility. During the operation, one of our troops suffered gunshot wound and was evacuated for medical treatment. I am glad to state that he is in stable condition and responding to treatment.
e. Similarly, on 29 Apr 16, our troops busted a BHT logistics Base at Yerwa where rustled cattle are held. The troops also raided Kaluketu and the self styled town of Abuja which is a BHT logistics exchange points. At the end of the operation 4 x BHT were killed, 2 x AK 47 rifles with 29 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, one dane gun, bow and arrows among others were captured. In the same operation 2 x laptops computers and 6 mobile phones were also recovered, including a truck and 5 x motorcycles.
f. On 30 Apr 16, a major BHT IED making factory was uncovered in Ngala town. Items discovered include 20 x gas cylinders of various sizes already bored for explosive insertion, primers, bolt and nuts to make the IED lethal, gun powder, electrical wires and tape recorders. However, no arrest was made.
g. Also on 30 April 16, another fighting patrol was carried out by troops around WUMBI in KALA BALGE LGA. Own troops encountered BHTs at TATAKURA village, 20km south-west of WUMBI. Consequently, 9 BHT were killed in action while 2 motor cycles, 3 AK 47 rifles, 1 FN rifle, 1 GPMG, 1 RPG 7 bomb and 60mm mortar bombs were captured. Sadly, 5 own troops were wounded in action and are currently in stable condition receiving medical attention.
h. Air Operation. The Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has conducted several missions with series of sorties in support of the general operation within the Theatre. Such include air interdiction missions and armed reconnaissance resulting in destruction of several BHTs hideouts and suspected logistic storage depots.
2. While thanking the general public and members of the press for their untiring support to the troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, I wish to request you to reflect on the direction of your support. Insecurity and terrorism know no boundaries. Do you report to support terrorism and insecurity? Is your reportage intended to disparage the noble men and women working to ensure that peace and stability are totally restored to our land? Do you intend to contribute positively or work to destabilize the morale of the courageous troops? These reflections have become necessary in the light of the context of a few misguided ones, working to dampen the spirit of the good work done by the troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. Some have even, regrettably, reduced the serious issues of national security to comic circles and ‘hang outs’. It is necessary for us to lay more emphasis on solution rather than who to blame. Seek to know and understand in order to proffer solutions. Do not seek to know in order to destroy. Given that there is time and season, the current season is ‘value addition’. Be a part of it.
3. The range of successes being recorded is not without challenges. We however see those challenges as opportunities. Our leverage on those opportunities has resulted in more successes. I therefore enjoin you to be a part of the progress by contributing positively. In Operation LAFIYA DOLE, we understand the level of trust and confidence reposed in us by good Nigerians. That trust, under God, will not be betrayed. We are closer to where we are going than where we started from. Your continued support and encouragement will get us there faster.
4. Meanwhile, to the misguided BHT elements, I wish to reiterate my earlier admonishment that you give up your ignoble adventure. Once again, you are advised to surrender to the security forces. Let me re-assure you that you would be humanely treated in line with international best practices and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law.