*denies reports of killing of 20 soldiers
By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
The fight against insurgency in the North East Theatre of Operation Lafiya Dole has continued with renewed vigour and momentum in neutralizing criminals and clearing the enclaves of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs), Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and their collaborators.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, dated February 11, 2021.
“It is worthy to note that recently, the efforts in the fight was redoubled and recharged with tremendous and glaring successes recorded. BHTs/ISWAP members were seen running around for safety while their wives and children are coming out of the forest due to overwhelming pressure and fire by advancing troops in the Timbuktu Triangle as well as the Sambisa forest and aerial bombardments by the Air Task Force in its ongoing subsidiary operation code named operation “TURA TAKAIBANGO” in all the Sectors of the Theatre.
“It is however most unfortunate and disheartening as our attention was drawn to an unsubstantiated reports going round on social media by Sahara Reporters Titled :Nigerian Army Keeps Mum As Boko Haram Terrorists Kill ’20 Soldiers’ In Borno”.
The Nigerian Army stated clearly that the story is false/fake and baseless aimed at discouraging the public and demoralising troops on the untiring efforts in the overall fight against insurgency.
“There was no attack where 20 soldiers were killed in the entire Theatre,” it added. The NIgerian Army said that for the records, recent events that occured within the Theatre were professionally reported and documented by the Nigerian Army which includes the attack on troops providing security for road construction workers along Goniri – Kafa Main Supply Routes (MSR) on 5 February 2021 and the recent attack on Geidam on 9 February 2021 which were all decisively dealt with and repelled.
“The attack on the troops along the road construction site and the attempt to infiltrate Geidam town by the terrorists were swiftly and professionally cleared by the dogged Mobile Strike Teams (MSTs) and elements of 159 Task Force Battalion. However, regrettably three gallant soldiers paid the supreme sacrifice while two others sustained injuries and are receiving treatment at our medical facility.
“The BHTs and ISWAP are on the run and desperate for foods, drugs and logistics from soft targets for survival as their camps, routes and enclaves have been destroyed, blocked and manned by troops of Operation “TURA TAKAIBANGO”.
In another development, on Tuesday, 9 February, 2021, members of BHTs/ ISWAP criminals mounted on 8 Gun Trucks, motor bikes and foot soldiers attacked own troops of 3 Battalion deployed in Rann, Kala Balge Local Government of Borno State. The troops held their ground and instantly destroyed one BHTs gun truck.
“With swift Air support during the attack, the terrorists lost initiative and had to scamper for safety due to heavy aerial bombardments while additional 4 BHTs gun trucks were completely destroyed as several of their members were killed while others fled with fatal gun shot wounds.
“The situation within the Rann general area is under control by own troops and members of the community are going about their normal activities,” it added.
Members of the general public were therefore, requested to continue to cooperate with the Nigerian Military to fight both the terrorists and peddlers of fake and unsubstantiated stories as reported by Sahara Reporters and other unprofessional online news medium.
“We shall continue to remain focus and determined to perform our constitutional roles and responsibilities professionally in the protection of the sovereignty of our nation, ensure the safety of lives and property while we clear the terrorists and their cohorts within the region,” it concluded.