By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
In a commendable display of sheer gallantry, the troops of Sector 2 Operation LAFIYA DOLE in conjunction with the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE delivered a humiliating defeat to a group of Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists on 22nd December 2019 during a massive failed attempt by the criminal insurgents to infiltrate Damaturu, the Yobe State Capital.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, made available on Tuesday December 24, 2019.
It said that during the encounter, the resilient troops promptly mobilized and blocked the criminal insurgents’ advance along Gashua Road in the outskirts of Damaturu.
The troops thereafter engaged the criminals in a fierce fire fight with the support of Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE which unleashed devastating fire power from the air to help take out some of the criminals’ Gun Trucks.
This superior fire power forced the criminal insurgents to withdraw in disarray albeit with very heavy casualty in both men and equipment. It is confirmed that a top ISWAP Commander, Abu Muqhtar, believed to have coordinated several attacks along the fringes of Lake Chad was neutralised along with over 30 other insurgents in that attack.
Regrettably, 2 gallant soldiers were wounded in action during the encounter. The wounded personnel are currently receiving treatment and responding positively at a military medical facility. In the aftermath of the encounter, troops captured 1 Gun Truck and destroyed 2 others.
Troops equally captured 561 Rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, 1420 Rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 1850 Rounds of 7.62mmX51 ammunition and 2 Rocket Propelled Gun bombs.
Other items captured by the gallant troops include, one Hand Held Communication Radio, 27 sachets of Meal Ready to Eat wraps and 350 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol).
In a related development, some criminal Boko Haram insurgents, oblivious of the humiliating defeat suffered by their cohorts barely 24 hours ago, were reportedly sighted heading towards Biu town from Mandara Girau axis of Biu LGA of Borno State late in the afternoon of 23rd December 2019, mounted on 17 Gun Trucks and motorcycles.
In a swift and commendably bold response, the troops of 231 Battalion moved and engaged the advancing criminals while troops of 331 Artillery Regiment brought to bear deafening artillery bombardment on the visibly confused criminal insurgents forcing them to withdraw in disarray amid heavy casualty.
In yet another development, in the early hours of Monday 23rd December 2019, troops of 121 Task Force Battalion deployed at Pulka in Gwoza LGA of Borno State also thwarted another Boko Haram attack on their location with devastating consequence on the marauding criminals.
The 2 front attacks by the criminals were effectively contained and decisively repulsed by the gallant troops. In the aftermath of the encounter, 4 Boko Haram criminals including one suicide bomber were neutralized while others are believed to have escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.
In a related development, troops of Sector 1 deployed at Gwoza LGA of Borno State conducted a robust clearance operation deep into Sambisa Forest on 23rd December 2019.
The rugged troops cleared Banari, Keluri, Usmanti and Jowlori Villages all of Gwoza LGA respectively. During the operation, troops came in contact with some Boko Haram criminals who obviously could not withstand the troops’ fighting prowess and therefore fled deep into the forest. Nevertheless, the troops captured 2 of the criminal Boko Haram insurgents alive, rescued 9 women and 9 children.
The rescued children were immediately administered with Polio vaccine before being evaluated to safety.
The troops equally recovered several items from the terrorists including 8 rounds of Anti-Aircraft Gun ammunition, 14 ammunition projectiles, one ammunition projectile for Shilka, 9 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, one Black Boko Haram flag, some quantities of drugs, clothing, wires, bandolier and one Dane gun.
In an earlier development that occured on 22nd December 2019, troops of Headquarters 19 Brigade defeated a Boko Haram criminals’ ambush between Gajigana and Tungushe in Magumeri LGA of Borno State while on a fighting patrol along the axis.
During the brief encounter, 2 Boko Haram criminals strapped with Improvised Explosive Device jackets were neutralised while one AK 47 rifle was recovered from the insurgents.
Also, on 21st December 2019, troops of 112 Task Force Battalion deployed at Ajiri in Mafa LGA of Borno State equally dealt a devastating blow on some marauding Boko Haram criminals mounted on 4 Gun Trucks and motorcycles.
The resilient troops intercepted the criminals while advancing from the Dikwa axis with precise artillery fire and unrelenting ground assault which sent the criminals off balance and scampering for safety in total disarray.
Nevertheless, 4 Boko Haram criminals were neutralized (one of them clad in suicide vest) while one Gun Truck, one Anti-Aircraft Gun, 41 Rounds of Anti-Aircraft Gun ammunition, 68 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition NATO, one AK 47 rifle, one AK 47 rifle magazine, were captured from the insurgents.
Other items captured include one Baofeng Hand Held radio, some quantities of Boko Haram uniforms and warm clothing.
In another development, on 22nd December 2019, a Joint Tactical Team deployed to Borno and Yobe States apprehended a suspected ISWAP spy and logistics supplier, one Mohammed Aliyu at Mega Zaleri area of Konduga LGA of Borno State.
Preliminary investigation revealed series of communications between the suspect, Modu Sulum and Abu Qaqa both of whom are high profile ISWAP Commanders on the wanted list of the Nigerian Army. During preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed to have been informing ISWAP of Military and Nigeria Police movements and deployments.
He further added that he uses donkeys for shipment of items he supplies to ISWAP as a deception to evade security checks.
The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai extends his goodwill message to the troops and further admonishes them to remain resolute in finishing the remnants of the criminal elements who are currently strangulated and obviously gasping for their lives in the Theatre.