By Senator Iroegbu
Troops deployed to smoke out insurgents in Borno State have rescued three women and six children after overrunning three terrorists camps in the notorious Sambisa forest area of central Borno State.
This was confirmed yesterday by the Director of Defence Information, Brig-Gen. Chris Olukolade, while briefing the press on the findings of the Defence Headquarters’ Operational Assessment Team that had just returned from Borno State.
He disclosed that the rescued women and children who were kidnapped from police barracks and environs during the May 7 attack on Bama and had been held in one of the Boko Haram's camps. He said Abubakar Shekau, leader of the sect featured them in his recent hostage video.
Olukolade however said that the troops combing the forest are yet to locate one other woman and her two children, with expectations that they could still be alive.
He also said that the latest military offensive in the three states where emergency rule were declared had been successful, especially at dislodging the insurgent from their strongholds of Borno North and Central where the deadly Sambisa camps are located.
"I want to tell you that every terrorist camp in the Northern and Central Borno, particularly the 16 km Sambisa camp have completely been neutralised," he said.
Meanwhile, the DHQ Assessment Team led by the Chief of Training and Operations, Maj-Gen Lawrence Ngubane, who visited various locations where troops are deployed have submitted their report to the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim.
Olukolade who was part of the 7-Man team said that no civilian casualty was recorded in the operation:
"The targets were specifically against the terrorist camps. Before the offensive, we already had intelligence reports about the location of these camps," he said.
Also addressing the troops on behalf of the CDS, Ngubane said the progress recorded in the operation so far was a source of pride to the military and all Nigerians.
He commended the troops participating in the operation for demonstrating a high level of professionalism.
During his briefing, Olukolade displayed pictures and videos of their assessment visit, which showed the destroyed insurgent camps, with some of them having medical facilities, vehicles, food items, weaponry and training facilities amongst others.