Soldiers on counter-insurgency operations in the North-East have killed 25 terrorists and recovered several weapons from them at Chikun Gudu and Kerenoa areas of Borno State.
The combined troops of Sector 1 Operation Lafiya Dole and 402 Special Forces Brigade killed the terrorists while on clearance patrols of all villages and enclaves hitherto inhabited by the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) and their Islamic State West Africa Province Counterparts (ISWAP), in the ongoing Phase II of Operation “TURA TAKAIBANGO”.
The clearance operations followed the directives by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru during his visit to the Theatre of Operation LAFIYA DOLE.
The COAS, had during the visit, directed to troops to advance and recapture Marte and thereafter project further to clear other adjoining villages which include Chikun Gudu, Kerenoa and environs.
The directive was said to have boosted the morale of the gallant troops who moved in full force to dislodge the terrorists. During the encounter, the soldiers were said to have engaged the terrorists in their large numbers in heavy firing, killing 25 in the process while others ran with gunshot injuries. 2 Browning machine guns, 20 AK47 rifles, 5 FN rifles, 2 60mm mortar tubes and 2 general purpose machine guns (GPMG) were recovered from the terrorists. Also recovers were 3 anti-aircraft guns, 2 automatic grenade launchers, 2 gun trucks and one CJTF Hilux among others. The troops not swayed by the success project further to ensure no elements of the terrorists were left within the area.
The COAS has already commended the gallant troops and charged them to maintain the momentum in order to ensure that the area is completely cleared and dominated. He also instructed them not to relent in their new offensive against terrorism and insurgency.
Army tackles Gumi on alleged extrajudicial killings by Christain soldiers
The army headquarters in Abuja has warned popular Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmed Gumi, not to drag the image and reputation of the army, described as one of the most reliable national institutions, to disrepute.
The warning is coming against the allegation by the cleric in a video that has gone virile that Christian soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits.
In the said video clip, the islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims and that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non-Muslims.
Director, army public relations, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, who gave the warning in a statement, said the Nigerian Army, as a national institution, does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines. He said the comments meant to tarnish the image and reputation of the Nigerian Army were not only inimical but tended towards creating bad blood among Nigerians.
He further stated that the Nigerian Army, which remains the pride of the nation, has continually defended the territorial integrity of this great nation. He advised the cleric and other opinion merchants to exercise restraint and not drag the image and reputation of one of the most reliable national institutions to disrepute.
Yerima’s statement, titled “Nigerian army does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines,” read: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a viral video-cilp showing the renowned and respected Islamic scholar, Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, alleging that non-Muslim soldiers were responsible for the attacks against bandits. In the video clip, the Islamic scholar was seen telling the bandits that the soldiers involved in most attacks against them were non-Muslims.
“He further stated that they should be aware that soldiers are divided into Muslims and non-Muslims.
“While the Nigerian Army would not want to join issues with the the respected Sheikh Ahmed Gumi, it is, however, important to restate that the Nigerian Army as national institution does not deploy its troops along ethnic or religious lines.”
Army trains 67 wounded soldiers in computer, CCTV,others
Sixty-seven soldiers wounded in have completed a four-month intensive training programme on computer repairs/operation and closed circuit television (CCTV) operations.
The soldiers, who were injured while fighting the counter-insurgency war under Operation Lafia Dole, in the North-East, were trained at the Physical and Rehabilitation Centre, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
The soldiers, who now are left with permanent disability as a result of the injuries they sustained, would be empowered with laptops and deployed to their various units to make them productive, since they are no longer fit for combat operations.
Fifty of the soldiers had a four-month intensive training in computer repair and operation, while the remaining 17 had three-month intensive training in CCTV.
At a graduation ceremony held over the weekend at the training centre, Acting Chief Medical Director, 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna, Colonel Augustine Omogbethai, while noting that the training may not address all their physical and psychological needs, said it would go a long way to make them productive and live a normal life, adding that the graduating soldiers were expected to be redeployed to their various units to offer support in their new areas of expertise.
He thanked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru, for the gesture to train the soldiers to make them useful to themselves, their families and the society at large.
“My appreciation goes to the Chief of Army Staff who gave the strength, power and the means not only to see them being trained in new skills but also ensure we are looking after them while they were under treatment in this hospital.
“These are soldiers in their prime, some 20, 23, 27, who sustained various degrees of injury. We give them the best drugs and good feeding to ensure rapid healing. But you will agree with me that there are certain injuries that you will sustain during combat and no matter what you do, you still need to address the minds of these war veterans.”
“We have to also address their efficiency in terms of productivity. Yes, we have a team of psychologists and psychiatrist experts here at the facility. But, we realised that may not be enough until we help them to remain relevant to their families and also to the Nigerian Army.”
‘Soldiers not deserting army’
The Nigerian Army has described as untrue rumors making the rounds that soldiers were deserting the service.
Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, who made this known in a statement, also debunked the rumour that over one hundred soldiers absconded from their duty post after Boko Haram attacks on Marte and Dikwa in Borno State.
Yerima said there was no truth in the report and advised the public to disregard the report, saying the sponsors were bent on dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of troops.
The army spokesman, in the statement, said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to a publication in a section of the media alleging that over a 100 Nigerian troops were reported to have absconded after Boko Haram attacks on Marte and Dikwa.
“This publication is false, unfounded and an attempt to malign the image and character of the Nigerian Army. For the records, in the fog of war, it is a routine that head count is conducted to determine the number of men and equipment holding aftermath of military offensive.
“Unfortunately, an internal correspondence that was originated by the formation was not properly done. It was later discovered that a good number of those affected rejoined their respective units and are currently part of the ongoing clearance operations.
“Members of the general public are, please, advised to disregard the story as the subversive intents of the promoters are targeted at dampening the morale and fighting efficiency of our troops. We continually solicit especially the much-needed public support in the fight against Boko Haram. The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the general public that troops are in high spirits and currently clearing areas infiltrated by Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP.”
Yobe traditional rulers support army operations against terrorism
The Yobe State Traditional Rulers Council has declared its support for the military and its ongoing operations against insurgency and other criminalities in the North-East.
The traditional rulers have also commended the Nigerian Army for Operation Tura Takaibango launched to wipe out remnants Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), in in the state.
Emir of Damaturu, His Royal Highness Alhaji Shehu Hashimi II, Ibn Umar El-Amin Kanemi, made the commendation when he received the newly appointed Commander of Sector 2, Operation Lafiya Dole, Brigadier-General Adamu Nura, in his palace in Damaturu.
The Emir, while assuring the Commander of support, cooperation and partnership with the army in the area of strategic information and continuous sensitization of the locals on issues of security-consciousness and awareness, commended the army for ensuring that the state was peaceful for law-abiding persons to go about their legitimate duties.
Responding, the commander told the royal father that he was in the palace to pay homage, having just been posted to the state, and assured him him that the the sector, under his command, was determined to partner with all security agencies in the state to tackle the menace of Boko Haram insurgents who only believed in violence, which is alien to Islam and humanity.
He said the sector would ensure troops taking part in various operations would be guided by the Professional Codes of Conduct, Rules of Engagement and respect for human rights even as he charged the traditional rulers to remain vigilant and be security-conscious, as suspected terrorists/criminals may be fleeing from military operations and finding safe haven amid their communities.