By Abraham Olatokunbo
The military, while disclosing that those rescued include three children and two women, said 23 terrorists were killed in different fierce battles in recent time with Boko Haram/Islamic State of West Africa Province terrorist group.
Briefing the press of recent success of Operation Fire Ball, which is under the counter-terrorist operation in the North East (Operation Lafiya Dole), the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations, Brig. Gen. Benard Onyeuko, said: “Consequently, as a result of the aggressive offensive actions carried out by the troops, several terrorist elements have been neutralized and large number of their equipment were captured including large quantity of their logistics consignment was intercepted by our gallant troops.
“Most importantly, a number of women and children hitherto held captive were rescued unhurt. In this regard, a total of 23 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were neutralized while one terrorist’s Improvised Explosive Device (IED) expert was captured alive during an encounter.”
Onyeuko added that: “Equally, the gallant troops courageously intercepted some Boko Haram criminals while attempting to collect ransom from relations of their abducted victims leading to the decimation of the criminals and successful rescue of two women and three children unhurt.
“In terms of the criminals equipment casualty, the following weapons were captured: four Gun Trucks, one Fabricated Vehicule Blinde Leger, two Anti Aircraft Guns, one General Purpose Machine Gun, two PKT Guns, eight AK 47 Rifles, two AK 47 Rifle Magazines, one AK 47 Rifle Cover and one Dane Gun.”
He said large cache of ammunition were also captured. “This include: 18 rounds of 7.62 x 51mm, four rounds of Brownie Machine Gun ammunition, one Rocket Propelled Grenade Tube, One 36 Hand Grenade, 23 belted rounds of 7.62 x 54, One QJC Extra Barrel, 311 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition (Linked), 511 rounds of PKT ammunition, eight rounds of Light Machine Gun ammunition, One Service Tools Box, One gas cylinder (for making IED), eight bicycles, several bags of grains and assorted packets of drugs. Other assorted non lethal items were also captured from the criminals.”
He however lamented that six gallant soldiers were wounded in action over the period of three weeks, noting that the wounded soldiers have since been evacuated to a military medical facility and “are currently responding positively to treatment.”