“Troops of 233 Battalion deployed in Operation Lafiya Dole have killed scores of Boko Haram insurgents while countering an ambush staged by elements of Boko Haram insurgents…”
Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri, Molly Kilete, Abuja and Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The military has said troops in the counter-insurgency operation in the North-east killed scores of Boko Haram during an offensive against the insurgents in Yobe State.
Army spokesman, Brig. Gen Texas Chukwu in a statement said troops encountered some insurgents at remote Sasawa village in Babangida Local Government of Yobe State.
“Troops of 233 Battalion deployed in Operation Lafiya Dole have killed scores of Boko Haram insurgents while countering an ambush staged by elements of Boko Haram insurgents along Sasawa Road in Babangida Local Government Area of Yobe state,” Chukwu said.
He said the troops encountered Boko Haram ambush last Saturday at about 12.30 noon. He said the ambush occurred while troops were on fighting patrol to clear the general area of fleeing elements of Boko Haram insurgents who have been on rampage for food and logistics.
He said the troops overpowered and neutralised the insurgents in the battle that ensued and successfully extricated themselves from the ambush.
He, however, disclosed that some troops were wounded.
The military said it got information that the insurgents were on attack mission on Babangida market, looking for food and logistics.
“The situation has been brought under firm control by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and additional troops have been drafted to the area to reinforce the patrol troops, while the Air Task Force is on aerial surveillance of the area to track down fleeing insurgent survivors,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the army authorities may sanction some of its personnel on counter insurgency operations in the region following the July 14, attack on its locations at Bama, Borno State and Jilli, Yobe State.
This is coming after the operational visits embarked upon by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, to the locations of the attack.
Many soldiers were said to have died, others injured, several others missing and equipment carted away by the terrorists, a development the army has since denied.
Daily Sun gathered that the attack did not go down well with the authorities.
To forestall further attacks on the area, the Chief of Army Staff ( COAS) Lt. General Tukur Yusufu, Buratai, has designated 21 Brigade, Bama, a Special Forces Brigade.
It was gathered that the attack which was uncalled for was said to have happened because of carelessness on the part of the personnel on duty, who they say took the relative peace enjoyed in the area for granted.
While the attack at Jilli, a border town linking Nigeria to Cameroon and Niger Republic, was said to have occurred when the soldiers were returning from purchasing some items in a neighboring village, that of Bama, was actually invaded by terrorists who paid dearly for their attack. Reliable sources told Daily Sun, that the soldiers at Jilli were attacked as they tried to recover their operational vehicles which got stuck in the sandy road. Three soldiers were said to have been killed in the process, while some others who did not take their weapons along with them ran to safety but returned to their base afterwards.
The attack has left the army authorities to resort to change of tactics as the terrorists have now resorted to using military camouflage vehicles labeled “operation last hold”, for their attacks. Angered by the attack, Buratai left Abuja for an- on-the-spot visit to the locations where he met with officers and soldiers. He also visited injured soldiers in the hospital.
At press time, it could not be ascertained whether or not the authorities have apprehended those found to have been responsible for the operational blunder.
Director, Army Public Relations, confirmed that soldiers had taken over Jilli, which he said was never overran nor captured by the terrorists.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Council for Shari’ah in Nigeria (SCSN) has said unless the Ulama and the Council were involved in the deradicalisation process of Boko Haram, the insurgency would not end.
Rising from a meeting that lasted several hours at the weekend in Kaduna, tagged: “High level roundtable meeting on deradicalisation agenda of Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria”, the group stressed the need to involve key leaders in the faith in the anti-insurgency war.
Assistant Secretary of SCSN, Dr. Auwal Faruq Abdulsalam told journalists that the meeting was in partnership with King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.
“As you are aware, the issue of Boko Haram insurgency has been persisting in the country for the past 10 years…
“But mainly deradicalising prisoners of Boko Haram that defects from the group, and in all this process, the ulamas and the Islamic organisations have been completely excluded and we felt that the ulamas and the Islamic organisations are the major stakeholders because the Boko Haram are claiming to be muslims.
“They are claiming to use the scriptures from Islamic faith to unleash their terror. So I think the right people that can change the narrative, that can counter their Ideology are the real Islamic leaders or ulamas and Islamic organizations.
“But we realised that these major stakeholders are completely excluded from the process. I don’t know maybe at a very local level some are contacted and that is why our council, which is an umbrella organisation, all maintsream Islamic organisations in the country, looking at the composition of the meeting you can see that they are ulamas from all over the country. We should be involved.”