- Again, troops clear terrorists in Bitta-Damboa axis
By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), has successfully foiled plans by the Boko Haram terrorists to ambush the ground troops and also killed over 15 of the terrorists in the ongoing operations in parts of the North-east.
The Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, in a statement yesterday, said the air component of ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’ has uncovered a plot by the terrorists to ambush the surface forces harboured at Doron Naira, north of Borno State.”
Famuyiwa said earlier yesterday that a NAF King Air A350i Beechcraft aircraft on Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) mission sighted a group of terrorists in seven Hilux vehicles hiding under trees at a location along the axis of advance of own ground forces towards Kangarawa, north of Borno State.
Following this discovery, he said, an Alpha Jet was scrambled to attack the terrorists location.
He said: “The attack was successful as 15 members of the Boko Haram terrorists were killed and the whole vehicles knocked out.
“The casualty figure was confirmed by ground forces who subsequently consolidated on the gains of the air effort to pursue and inflict further casualty on the fleeing wounded members of the terrorist group.
“Troops also confirmed two gun trucks were among vehicles destroyed by the Alpha Jet as two AK-47 rifles, two RPGs and cache of assorted munitions were recovered,” he stated.
The NAF spokesman said the latest victory against the Boko Haram terrorists bought to the fore the important role of airpower in counterinsurgency operation.
In furtherance of this role, Famuyiwa said the NAF had been relentless in its effort to shape the battle space and provide favourable environment for own surface forces to operate.
In a related development, the troops of 114 Task Force Battalion of 28 Task Force Brigade in conjunction with members of vigilante group in an effort to keep the road open and secure, yesterday carried out a clearance operation along Bitta-Damboa axis.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, said the troops carried out clearance patrol from Bitta up to Junction point at Gambori village, Borno State.
During the operation, Usman said, the troops encountered Boko Haram terrorists at Bulajani village and successfully cleared and pursued the fleeing Boko Haram terrorists in the area.
He said the troops ran into an ambush which was eventually cleared enroute back from the pursuit.
“Unfortunately, five soldiers were wounded in the process and their Buffalo vehicle was badly damaged. The troops killed four Boko Haram terrorists, while an unconfirmed number escaped with gun shot wounds,” he stated.
“The patrol recovered six bicycles and food storage facility laden with foodstuffs. They also discovered and safely detonated 1 Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Madube village.
“The wounded soldiers have been evacuated to 23 Brigade medical facility in Yola for further treatment,” he added.
In a related development, Usman said that the troops of 22 Brigade Garrison accompanied by Civilian JTF also carried out patrol at Albanya village and its environs along Dikwa-Marte axis.
According to him, the troops encountered Boko Haram terrorists at Sinabaya village which is left of Marte-Kaje road in Dikwa Local Government Area of Borno State.
The DAPR said during the encounter, the troops killed three and apprehended 11 Boko Haram terrorists.
He also listed the items recovered by patrol team to include one AK-47 rifle with registration number N37113 and five AK-47 rifle magazines.
He stated other items recovered to include a 36 hand grenade, three rounds of 7.62mm (Special) ammunition, four motorcycles, three bicycles, a magazine pouch and mobile telephone handset.
The army spokesman disclosed that the arrested terrorists have been moved to the Brigade Headquarters for preliminary interrogation and subsequent handing over to the Joint Interrogation Committee.
Similarly, he said, another patrol team from the same unit in conjunction with some elements of Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps picketed Dikwa-Mafa-Maiduguri road in order to keep it open and safe against Boko Haram terrorists activities.
“The same team also escorted International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) humanitarian materials from Maiduguri to Dikwa and Gamboru Ngala Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in collaboration with troops of 7 Division Garrison.
“At this point, it is important to state that as at today, there are 68, 653 IDPs at Dikwa camp that comprised of 31, 296 males and 37,356 females,” he stated.