Less than a month ago, the African Union (AU) held its annual meeting and triggered the first successful move toward a multinational task force against Boko Haram, an Islamic sect that has significantly ravaged the North Eastern region of Nigeria and executed other attacks in the Federal Capital Territory. Following the agreement, the international army comprising military personnel from Benin, Chad, Cameroun, Niger, and Nigeria was mobilized to support the Nigerian army in its most aggressive offensive on the sect thus far.
Some progress may have been made in the ongoing concerted onslaught against the militant group as the Nigerian defence headquarters reports that a significant number of terrorists have drowned in the Lake Chad in a bid to escape the hefty artillery mobilized against them in Baga, one of their major bases in North Eastern Nigeria.
“Not even the strategy of mining over 1500 spots with land mines on the routes leading to the town could save the terrorists from the aggressive move of advancing troops. All the land mines were skillfully cleared one after the other. Eventually, the resistance of the terrorists collapsed and the land forces finally stormed the town in the early hours of Friday. Many of the terrorists died while an unknown but substantial number of them fled with various degrees of injury in the series of encounter along the routes of advance as troops headed for Baga,” revealed Major General Chris Olukayode, Director of Defence Information, in a statement.
He added, “Apart from the 5 anti-aircraft guns and the rifles captured from the terrorists, over 34 motorcycles and 5 vehicles, including trucks being used for operations by the terrorists, were destroyed in the course of the fighting as the troops headed for Baga. The troops finally began clearing the terrorists from Baga on arrival in the town early Saturday morning. A comprehensive cordon and search phase of military operation has now commenced to enable troops mop up arms and ammunition and also apprehend any terrorist who might be hiding in the vicinity. The exercise will also determine details of the casualties inflicted or incurred in the course of the operations to clear Baga and environ of terrorists.”
Indeed, the victories recorded since the new coalition was drafted represent the most successful attempt at leveling the threat from the Boko Haram insurgency in the course of its operations which has spanned 6 years. If successful, investor confidence in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is expected to increase as well as the overall socio-economic condition of the country.
“Similar exercise is being carried out in over 12 locations namely Gajigana, Ngaze, Ngenzai, Marte Junction, Mile 90, Yoyo, Kekeno, Kukawa, Cross Kauwa, Kangarwa, Amirari and other localities where troops have flushed out the terrorists in the operations preceding the entry to Baga. The troops are now dominating and conducting aggressive patrols in the locations. The morale of troops remain high,” Olukayode concluded.
Leveling or, at least, controlling this threat is an imperative for the peaceful conduct of the general elections which is now only four weeks away.
By Emmanuel Iruobe