The Nigerian Army has described as false, a widespread speculation that seven Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Borno State are presently being control of Boko Haram terrorists.
In a statement that was signed by the Deputy Director Public Relations, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, he noted that the report was not only an attempt to propagate falsehood, but a futile effort to misinform members of the public on the true security situation in the North East from a perspective of one who is evidently detached from the realities of the counter-terrorism cum counter insurgency operations in the north east.
It will be recalled that a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Buba Galadima, has debunked a claim by the Federal Government that all territories have been reclaimed from Boko Haram, saying that at least seven local governments in Borno State are still under the control of the sect.
In an exclusive interview with The Guardian in Abuja, Galadima, who is a founding member of the APC from Yobe State, said there are 27 local governments in Borno State but not all are functioning because of the activities of Boko Haram.
“Our troops are, therefore, not waiting only to repel Boko Haram terrorists attacks as erroneously painted in the article, but are rather tactically deployed to deny the adversary freedom of action and access to logistics.”
He further stated that the claim that troops fighting the insurgents are inaccessible is fallacious because “theatre and formation Commanders routinely conduct working visits to troops in their formations and units within the theatre of operation.”
The statement reads: “The attention of the Headquarters Theatre Command Operation, Lafiya Dole, has been drawn to a publication in The Guardian newspaper of September 21 2017 where one Buba Galadima in an interview claimed that ‘Seven Local Governments of Borno State were still under control of Boko Haram terrorists’; even though he failed to furnish members of the public with the names of those Local Government Areas.
“Obviously, this sweeping statement is not only an attempt to propagate falsehood, but a futile effort to misinform members of the public on the true security situation in the North East from a perspective of one who is evidently detached from the realities of the counter-terrorism cum counter insurgency operations in the north east.”
“It is very crucial to set the record straight by making it crystal clear that contrary to his opinions, the Boko Haram terrorists group does not hold or control any Local Government Area in Borno state or in the north east as claimed in the interview.
“These Local Government Areas have been liberated by troops of operation Lafiya Dole and the troops have continued to ensure security in these areas after routing out the insurgents. As a matter of fact, locals have been encouraged to return to their communities to resume their vocations and normal life. It may perhaps be needful to refresh memories by recalling that prior to the inauguration of Operations Lafiya Dole, the entire North East was infested with Boko Haram terrorists, who became emboldened to the extent of declaring a caliphate with headquarters in Gwoza town.
“All that became history as the gallant troops of Operation Lafiya Dole came into the theatre, gradually but steadily decimating the insurgents and liberating held territories in a series of well-planned and coordinated joint ground and air operations.
“One of such major operations was the Operation RESCUE FINALE, which routed the insurgents out of its tactical headquarters in Camp Zero in Sambisa forest and out of its so-called spiritual headquarters in Alargarno.
“Ever since, Operation Lafiya Dole has continued to relentlessly conduct several other operations such as Operation DEEP PUNCH, CHIKIN GUDU Operation and Operation RAWAN KADA alongside the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“These and many other operations have culminated in the degradation and incapacitation of the insurgent group. Apparently, this is the reason the terrorist group is striving to remain relevant by resorting to callously use women and children to carry out suicide bomb attacks on soft and vulnerable targets.
Currently, Operation Lafiya Dole in its resoluteness is carrying out precursor operations that will lead to a final assault to decisively and finally put an end to the insurgency in the North East.
“Talking about logistical supplies, Operation Lafiya Dole regularly provides logistical support and replenishment to troops deployed in all locations and Forward Operational Bases through the normal channels, using our main supply routes.
Moreso, theatre and formation Commanders routinely conduct working visits to troops in their formations and units within the theatre of operation. Hence, the question of troops being inaccessible as portrayed in the said article is an irredeemable fallacy.
“Perhaps, it is necessary to note that considering the vastness of the north east, Operation Lafiya Dole, aside holding tactical defensive positions to block the insurgents from access to logistics, has also gone ahead to insert Mobile Strike Teams in the theatre of operations to effectively patrol localities as well as seek out and neutralize the insurgents from their hideouts.
“Suffice to mention that in the month of August alone, a total of 82 Boko Haram insurgents have been killed in combat and 630 remote settlements were cleared by our troops. Our troops are tirelessly on the trail of the fleeing insurgents as devastating coordinated aerial and artillery bombardments are being unleashed on the terrorist group.
“Our troops are, therefore, not waiting only to repel Boko Haram terrorists attacks as erroneously painted in the article, but are rather tactically deployed to deny the adversary freedom of action and access to logistics. Needless to add, that a group of insurgents on the run cannot hold or control any territory. Boko Haram lacks the capability to hold any territory in the north east, hence its mindless attack on innocent and vulnerable civilians with suicide bombings, most of which were made unsuccessful by our vigilant troops.
“While not attempting to dismiss the fact that, as the fleeing faceless insurgents rummage for logistical replenishment, they occasionally mix up with unsuspecting locals and thereafter attack them. This definitely cannot be described as holding territor, rather, it only simply underscores the need for other relevant agencies to do more to ensure progressive reintegration of the locals into their various communities.
“Without sounding immodest, it is worthy to note that the counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations of Operation Lafiya Dole in the North East, have been commended within Nigeria and in the international community, resulting in several high level official visits to the North East by national and international bodies.
“While assuring that our focus in Operation Lafiya Dole remains clear and will not be derailed, the general public is urged not to be misguided by the insinuations and disinformation contained in the said article as they are devoid of the true and realistic impressions of the security situation in the North East,” the statement noted.