Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian Army in the ongoing mop up operations against Boko Haram in parts of the North-east, has killed nine of the terrorists, rescued more hostages and cleared more of their hideouts in Borno State.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, in a statement yesterday said the troops of 155 Task Force Battalion, 21 Brigade, Nigerian Army on Thursday, during clearance operations discovered and destroyed an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) factory and cleared terrorists’ hideout in Wulwuta village, ahead of Jere, Bama Local Government Area (LGA).
During the operation, Usman noted, the troops also killed nine terrorists while one of the soldiers was wounded in action.
He said: “The troops recovered a laptop, solar panel, a pair of Nigerian military desert and woodland camouflage uniform each, as well as bandolier vest and six ready IEDs pressure plates. Other recoveries include a loaded pistol with registration number D557954, 3 rounds of 7.65mm, 13 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunitions and combat boots, amongst others.”
The Army Spokesman disclosed that the unit also rescued 21 persons held captives by the terrorists, comprising eight men, four women and nine children. According to him, the suspects have been moved to the Brigade Headquarters for further care, screening and eventual hand-over to the appropriate agencies.
“It is significant to state that the vigilant and professional troops noticed that the terrorists were determined to cause maximum casualty on them by stuffing two empty artillery shells and other cartridges with IED and batteries ready to explode. They were however safely detonated by the Explosive Ordinance Device (EOD) team attached to the unit.
“It is heart-warming to state that the troops’ morale remains high and fighting efficiency is equally unprecedented,” he stated.
In another development, Usman said attention of the Army has been drawn to a news story on the online page of a daily, alleging that angry soldiers blocked and later released General Officer Commanding (GOC), 7 Division, over food and water shortage.
While acknowledging that indeed troops that captured the strategic forest of Alagarno experienced some logistics problem that include water shortage, due to some unforeseen circumstances which is normal in war situation, he said it was not true that the troops behaved in the manner stated.
For the avoidance of doubt, he said the GOC, 7 Division, Brig-Gen. VO Ezugwu indeed visited the troops and also supplied water to them but did not leave the troops as insinuated.
According to him, the troops hailed the GOC for his empathic disposition towards the soldiers, adding that Ezugwu “actively participated in clearance operations along Bulablin-Alargano axis with the troops and was with them in their defensive location throughout.”