The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, yesterday said with the renewed zeal shown by Nigerian troops battling Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) in the North-east, as well as the menace of the terrorists and their criminalities may end in just a matter of days. In a letter written to the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, Buratai praised the commanders “for their gallantry, patriotism and commitment to the war effort by decimating the leadership and rank and file of the insurgents.” The COAS implored them not to allow the terrorists any breathing space or freedom of action anywhere as they continued to discharge their legitimate duties.
“I foresee that with the renewed zeal, it is just a matter of days to end the menace of Boko Haram terrorists and contain their criminality. I am more confident now than ever before, with your current robust posture, that you will end the Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province menace in no distant time,” Buratai was quoted to have said in the statement.
According to Buratai’s letter, made available by the acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, the army chief said the military has what it takes to end the war against insurgency. He also expressed confidence in the ability of the theatre commander, sector commanders, and commanding officers of Operation Lafiya Dole as well as other troops to end the war.
The Army chief commended the theatre commander, sector commanders, super camps commanders, commanding officers, as well as the gallant officers and soldiers serving in Operation Lafiya Dole for their gallantry that manifested in the unprecedented successes recorded in the theatre recently. Buratai affirmed that “he has never been so happy and proud of the gallant troops in their concerted efforts aimed at ending the menace of the criminal Boko Haram terrorists’ group and ISWAP”, and urged them to continue to dominate the theatre and maintain high standard of professionalism.
Furthermore, the COAS thanked them for the renewed efforts that brought more confidence and hope in the troops by Nigerians. He stated that his confidence in total victory was further rekindled by the dogged determination of the troops on the ground. The Army Chief also reminded the troops that they have done it before, and they would do it again without any foreign troops around. Buratai further assured the troops of his continued support and stated that the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, remained proud of their accomplishments and would continue to provide the needed support for the troops to enable them to do more, a statement issued by Army Spokesman, Col Sagir Musa, said.
On the same day that Buratai pledged an end to the insurgency, Boko Haram attacked motorists near Kaliyari, a community located 70 kilometers north of Damaturu, the Yobe State capital. This is coming as the terrorists intensify attacks in the North-east, prompting Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zullum, to call for the recruitment of 100,000 more soldiers, 50,000 of whom he said should be Borno State indigenes.
According to reports, the sect members stormed the community, shooting sporadically. During the attack, which took over two hours, the insurgents were said to have mounted a roadblock and seized a group of vigilantes with their Hilux van. A statement issued yesterday by the Chairman, Network of Civil Society Organisations in Yobe State, Alhaji Baba Shehu, said the insurgents invaded the roadside Kaliyari community in Tarmuwa Local Government Area at about 10.30am.
The statement said the insurgents blocked the road and asked motorists for their ID cards. Shehu said, according to a close friend of his, who was part of those stopped and searched, “the Boko Haram insurgents were looking for anybody carrying government or related ID card.” Travelers said the insurgents operated freely for about two hours and abducted some vigilante members who ran into them while the operation was ongoing.
The insurgents were said to have also escaped with the Hilux van conveying the vigilante.
Meanwhile, the military authorities in Yobe State have appealed for calm, calling on residents of the state not to panic. The acting Assistant Director Army Public Relations, Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole, Lieutenant Chinonso Oteh, who confirmed the attack, said operatives of the army had been mobilised to the area.
A statement signed by Oteh, read: “Headquarters Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole in its continuous determination for the protection of lives and properties as well as the safety of law abiding citizens, wishes to reassure the good people of Yobe State and all other residents within its Area of Responsibility, not to panic as there is no cause for alarm.
The attack in Yobe came few days after the sect members destroyed two telecommunication masts in Babangida, the headquarters of Tarmuwa Local Government Council of the State in order to stop the locals from sharing information with the security personnel. The number of casualties from the Yobe attack is yet unknown.
Also yesterday, suspected Boko Haram members attacked Garkida town, in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State. An eye witness said the insurgents stormed the town in hundreds, burning houses. They also allegedly took over the military formations in the area and burnt military flag, before hoisting their own flag in the town.
The source said the troops manning Garkida couldn’t stand the pressure from the insurgents in a cross battle and fled the area in search of reinforcement. According to him, “The town is at present on fire and covered with smoke. Many people have been killed and many houses burnt by the insurgents.”
A former Chairman of Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Adamawa State Council, who is a native of Garkida, Mallam Tarfa confirmed the killings in his community by Boko Haram.