Tuesday, February 17

Nigerian Military Seize Food, Logistics Meant For Boko Haram

The Nigerian Defence Headquarters has said that members of the Multi- national Joint TaskForce currently involved in the anti-terrorism war against the Boko Haram have seized food and logistics meant for members of the Islamist group operating in Baga, Borno State, in a coordinated air and land operation on Monday.

According to the Defence Headquarters, the operation also led to the capture of many insurgents.

It said, via Twitter, that another operation aimed at reclaiming Monguno, a town in Borno State, from the insurgents had been completed.

With the successful liberation of both towns, the Headquarters added, the military had recorded a significant breakthrough in its efforts to rescue the North-East from the pangs of terrorism.

"Troops, in an operation led by highly-coordinated air assaults, have completed the mission of clearing terrorists from Monguno and its environs.

A number of terrorists, as well as truck-loads of food and logistics meant for terrorists operating around Baga, have been captured," the force headquarters tweeted.

It stated that Nigerian soldiers had recovered some arms and ammunition from the insurgents during the battle, which it described as successful.

"There were casualties, while arms were recovered in the operation in Monguno, Marte and other communities that are already secured. Military operation to clear terrorists from Monguno and other communities is successful," it said.

While informing members of the public about the progress of the battle, the Defence Headquarters said, "The air and land operation is continuing with an aggressive advance towards other designated communities and locations meant to be cleared."

Last weekend, the Director of Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, said fresh efforts by the insurgents to invade Gombe State, in the early hours of Saturday, were repelled.

"Calm has returned and the troops are pursuing them. They ran to different directions and are being pursued. They went to Gombe just to prove a point that they are still alive and can disrupt the elections," he said.

The Boko Haram had reportedly sent a message to residents of Gombe at the weekend, warning them to steer clear of polling booths in the March 28 presidential election. The message, they said, was to avoid being harmed as they would strike during the election.

With the renewed campaign of the insurgents, including the attack on a Cameroonian military camp on Monday, many people have expressed concern over the incident. They have been wondering if the intelligence report that put the population of the terrorists at about 5,000 had not underestimated their capacity for more violence.

An analyst known as Lefty said it appeared the terrorists were tougher than assumed. Lefty, who commented on an online report, wondered why the multi-national taskforce comprising troops from Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger and Chad had not been able to successfully thwart their efforts.

Another online commentator, Blanketpower, said the MNJTF was fighting "bad guys who have the money and the power" to frustrate them. He described the war as "uneven", saying the insurgents might change their tactics and decide to carry out attacks on families of the soldiers.

Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has commended Nigerians for cooperating with the armed forces to prosecute the war, which he said had reached a critical stage.

The President said the special squad established by affected West African countries needed more cooperation from civilians to make impact.

"I ask for the cooperation of all Nigerians because, just as we learned with the Ebola Virus Disease, we will not defeat terror unless we defeat it together! Let us pray for the gallant men and women of our armed forces and support them by providing information and by refraining from any action that will undermine their efforts and jeopardise their lives.

"We sleep on our beds at nights because they sleep in the open. We must honour the memory of our fallen soldiers by ennobling their sacrifice with our thoughts, words and actions. Nigeria is our only country and we are her only people. We must ensure that we put her first in everything we do at these critical times by subjugating all other interests to hers," the President pleaded in a statement posted on his Facebook page.

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