Nigerian Army Says in Middle of Battle against Boko Haram for Control of Sambisa Forest

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The Nigeria military on Sunday revealed that it was presently engaging the insurgents in a fight to finish within the Sambisa Forest stronghold.
The military also revealed that there are few areas where the insurgents held sway in troubled Borno State.
Speaking at a press briefing in Maiduguri, the head of the counter-insurgency operation in the North-East (the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole), Major General Lucky Irabor, said: “We are inside Sambisa Forest conducting operation as I speak to you. The troop is led by the Acting Commander of 7 Division.”
He however did not give details of the operation within the stronghold of the insurgents.
The military commander however admitted that few areas within Borno State have not been recaptured from the insurgents.
He said fringes of Sambisa Forest was still held by the insurgents, who equally have bases in part of Abadam and Mobbar local governments area.
Irabor said both Adamawa and Yobe State have been totally liberated from the insurgents.
Responding to questions from journalists, the Army General said the Nigerian troops were no more facing any threat from the insurgents, he noted that the military is the domineering force who kept recording victories daily against the insurgents, who according to him are fleeing.
He said: “I do not see any threat ending this war, we are the one after them for they are fleeing. But we definitely have challenges but I see them as opportunities.”
On some of the victories recorded in recent times, Irabor said: “Following a tip-off, troops intercepted four female suicide bombers approaching from Sambisa in the general area of Jimini-Bolari village. Two unexplored improvised explosive devices on the suicide bombers were safely detonated by our EOD team. During the incident, two women and a baby from Ngawafete village were arrested after the blast as they were seen approaching Madiyari village.
“Similarly, on 29 April 2016, our troops busted a Boko Haram terrorist base at Yerwa where rustled cattle are held. The troops also raided Kaluketu and the self styled town of Abuja which is a Boko Haram terrorist logistics exchange points. At the end of the operation four terrorists were killed, two AK 47 rifles with 29 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, one Dane gun, bow and arrows among others were captured. In the same operation two laptops computers and six mobile phones were also recovered, including a truck and five motorcycles.”
Irabor also disclosed that on 30 April, 2016, a fighting patrol was carried out by troops around Wumbi in Kala Balge local government area with troops encountering terrorists at Tatakura village, 20 kilometres south-west of Wumbi which resulted in death of nine terrorists but injuries to five soldiers.
He said during the operation, two motor cycles were seized and other items recovered include: three AK 47 rifles, a FN rifle, a GPMG, a RPG 7 bomb and 60mm mortar bombs.
The Statement from Gen Irabor…
UPDATE ON OPERATION LAFIYA DOLE
1. In the spirit of keeping you informed on the activities of troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, I wish to address you today given that you are valued stakeholders in the quest for peace and stability in the North East of Nigeria. Since our last meeting, troops have continued on the path of success in the fight against Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs). It is my intention to mention some of the operations and the resulting exploits. Before that however, I wish to inform you that troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE are conducting operations in the heart of SAMBISA Forest. Troops are deep into the forest to smoke out BHTs. We shall bring you the details subsequently. Meanwhile, the outcomes of major operations in other areas are as follows:
a. Following a tip-off, troops intercepted 4 female suicide bombers approaching from SAMBISA in the general area of JIMINI-BOLARI village. Two unexploded Improvised Explosive Devices on the suicide bombers were safely detonated by own EOD team. During the incident, 2 women and a baby from NGAWAFETE village were arrested after the blast as they were seen approaching MADIYARI village. 
b. Also, a suspected BHT training camp at MUDALLAH village in DIKWA LGA was raided by troops on 1 April 16. Consequently, troops made contact and killed a suspected BHT Amir and 6 others while capturing 5 of them. During the raid, 5 BHT vehicles and several BHTs flags were destroyed. Also, over 1,000 civilians held captive were rescued.
c. Similarly, on 3 April 16, Operation LAFIYA DOLE troops conducted fighting patrol to BOBOSHE, GARNA, KYARE, GINBA and AJIRI villages. The patrol team recovered 8 industrial gas cylinders and 5 regular gas cylinders at a primary school being used for bomb making. Also, 3 BHTs were captured while 4 motor cycles, 3 bicycles, a solar panel and 2 containers of liquid herbicides were destroyed. 
d. On 28 April 16, troops embarked on fighting patrols in the general area of BOGORO, DUGUNO 1, 2 and 3. On reaching MBARAKA, they encountered and cleared some BHT elements. The troops proceeded to JADDA village where they engaged and killed 4 BHTs. The patrol team also discovered a big pit where the BHTs used for dumping their victims to die and rot. The patrol team later freed some hostages and recovered an AK-47 rifle, 30 rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, 12 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunition, 14 Dane guns, a motorcycle, 2 solar panels, 120 litres of AGO, some packets of panadol and a food storage facility. During the operation, one of our troops suffered gunshot wound and was evacuated for medical treatment. I am glad to state that he is in stable condition and responding to treatment.
e. Similarly, on 29 Apr 16, our troops busted a BHT logistics Base at Yerwa where rustled cattle are held. The troops also raided Kaluketu and the self styled town of Abuja which is a BHT logistics exchange points. At the end of the operation 4 x BHT were killed, 2 x AK 47 rifles with 29 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, one dane gun, bow and arrows among others were captured. In the same operation 2 x laptops computers and 6 mobile phones were also recovered, including a truck and 5 x motorcycles.
f. On 30 Apr 16, a major BHT IED making factory was uncovered in Ngala town. Items discovered include 20 x gas cylinders of various sizes already bored for explosive insertion, primers, bolt and nuts to make the IED lethal, gun powder, electrical wires and tape recorders. However, no arrest was made.      
g. Also on 30 April 16, another fighting patrol was carried out by troops around WUMBI in KALA BALGE LGA. Own troops encountered BHTs at TATAKURA village, 20km south-west of WUMBI. Consequently, 9 BHT were killed in action while 2 motor  cycles, 3 AK 47 rifles, 1 FN rifle, 1 GPMG, 1 RPG 7 bomb and 60mm mortar bombs were captured. Sadly, 5 own troops were wounded in action and are currently in stable condition receiving medical attention.
h. Air Operation. The Air Component of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has conducted several missions with series of sorties in support of the general operation within the Theatre. Such include air interdiction missions and armed reconnaissance resulting in destruction of several BHTs hideouts and suspected logistic storage depots. 
 
2. While thanking the general public and members of the press for their untiring support to the troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, I wish to request you to reflect on the direction of your support. Insecurity and terrorism know no boundaries. Do you report to support terrorism and insecurity? Is your reportage intended to disparage the noble men and women working to ensure that peace and stability are totally restored to our land? Do you intend to contribute positively or work to destabilize the morale of the courageous troops? These reflections have become necessary in the light of the context of a few misguided ones, working to dampen the spirit of the good work done by the troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE. Some have even, regrettably, reduced the serious issues of national security to comic circles and ‘hang outs’. It is necessary for us to lay more emphasis on solution rather than who to blame. Seek to know and understand in order to proffer solutions. Do not seek to know in order to destroy. Given that there is time and season, the current season is ‘value addition’. Be a part of it. 
 
3. The range of successes being recorded is not without challenges. We however see those challenges as opportunities. Our leverage on those opportunities has resulted in more successes. I therefore enjoin you to be a part of the progress by contributing positively. In Operation LAFIYA DOLE, we understand the level of trust and confidence reposed in us by good Nigerians. That trust, under God, will not be betrayed. We are closer to where we are going than where we started from. Your continued support and encouragement will get us there faster.
 
4. Meanwhile, to the misguided BHT elements, I wish to reiterate my earlier admonishment that you give up your ignoble adventure. Once again, you are advised to surrender to the security forces. Let me re-assure you that you would be humanely treated in line with international best practices and in accordance with the International Humanitarian Law. 
 
5. Once again, let me commend the invaluable support and contributions of all stakeholders in this fight against insurgency in the North East.  I wish to re-assure you that the Nigerian Military is more than ever determined to secure our great country. The support of President      C-in-C, President Muhammadu Buhari is outstanding. We in Operation LAFIYA DOLE are encouraged and remain grateful to His Excellency. The direction given by the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai in this operation is unique, accounting for the gains we have made and reflects the support of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Chief of Air Staff as well as the Chief of the Naval Staff. We remain absolutely loyal and committed to the cause for which we are assigned to Operation LAFIYA DOLE. Thank you.
 
LEO IRABOR
Major General
Theatre Commander
Operation LAFIYA DOLE
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