President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday commended the military for the progress recorded in the clearance operations in northern Borno State.
This was contained in a Sallah message by the president to the 119 Task Force and Armed Forces Special Forces Battalions’ temporary harbour at Kangarwa.
The message was conveyed to the troops by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, who visited them at the base.
Buhari acknowledged the impact of the operations on the North-east and said Nigerians were proud of them “grateful for the sacrifice.’’
He said the entire country was behind the troops and praying for the successful completion of their task in the region.
He reiterated his administration’s commitment to troops’ logistics and other needs required to finally clear the remnant of the Boko Haram terrorists on Nigerian territory.
In his address to the troops, Buratai commended their efforts and urged them to sustain the tempo as they advanced towards other border communities in northern Borno.
“The president is proud of you; he is satisfied with your progress and he conveys his greetings to you all.
“Since you advanced from Baga, you have made progress and I must commend you for it.
“I am aware of the challenges you are facing and we will address them accordingly.
“You must continue with the good job that you are doing; the remnant of these criminals must be flushed out as soon as possible,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Buratai later told journalists in an interview that more men and equipment would be sent to the unit as they advanced to other hideouts of the insurgents.
He expressed satisfaction with the troops’ conduct since the commencement of the northern Borno operation tagged “Operation Gaman Aiki.”
He said the operation in the area would be intensified in the coming days as ground forces cleared remnants of terrorists in northern Borno.
“I am here to further raise the troops’ morale in the fight against insurgency.
“We will ensure that the morale remains high amid the momentum and to also keep the initiative on our side.
“This area extends to the border toward Niger and Chad; this is also where these insurgents sneak into the country whenever they are pushed in Niger, Chad or even in Nigeria.
“We are on the final push to ensure that we defeat them; they are the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents that we have been talking about,” he said
The Commanding Officer of the Battalion, Lt. -Col. Muhammadu Ali, conducted Buratai and the Commander, “Operation Lafiya Dole,’’ Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, round the unit’s defensive positions.
NAN reported that the army chief distributed food and drinks to the troops in the spirit of the Eid-el-fitri celebration.
The ground clearance operation is strongly supported by aerial reconnaissance and bombardments by Nigerian Air Forces fighter jets.