The Nigeria military will be embarking on massive de-mining and clearance of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from farmlands in the Northeast, it disclosed on Friday.
Addressing a press conference in Maiduguri, the head of military counter-insurgency operation in the Northeast (Operation Lafiya Dole), Major General Lucky Irabor said the troops would soon embark on the exercise across the three Northeastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe in order to clear all farmlands of land mines and other explosives.
He disclosed that enough machines and equipment had been procured by federal government and in the possession of military to undertake the task.
He said with the determination and commitment on the side of troops, many of the displaced farmers had started going back to their liberated communities, insisting that there still remained “No go Areas” in parts of Sambisa Forest where farmlands needed to be de-mined and cleared of IEDs planted by insurgents.
He said as soon as the equipment get to the theatre, all identified farmlands would be cleared and declared safe for farmers in the region.
On the success recorded recently in the ongoing operations, Irabor said, “On 23rd July 2016 at about 0530hrs, own troops sprung an ambush against the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) element between Komala and Musafanari villages. Some BHT elements on motorcycle and bicycle were engaged while trying to cross SAMBISA Forest. Consequently, two BHT were killed while several items were recovered which include two AK47 rifles, four loaded AK47 magazines, assorted food items, laundry items, a motorcycle, two bicycles and assorted clothing.
“Similarly, on 28th July 2016 at about 0700hrs, own troops conducted a clearing operation in Shuwari 1 and the adjoining villages. The villages were successfully cleared and all BHT structures were destroyed. In all five BHT were killed while a Dane gun and a bicycle were recovered. Also, some food items which were found in several houses were destroyed. Additionally, 13 suspected hostages comprised of a man, six women and six children were rescued”.
Likewise, in an ambush operation, troops at Pulka community of Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State Crossing Point killed some terrorists, while many escaped with gunshot wounds.
Among the items recovered according to the theatre Commander were one AK47 rifle, a General Purpose Machine Gun, a bicycle, a motorcycle, several live ammunition, a TECNO phone with Nexttel SIM card and food items in sacks.
He added that: “On 29th July 2016 at about 1830hrs, own troops embarked on an ambush operation to a suspected BHT Crossing Point off Damboa- Kubwa road towards Multe village axis. As troops laid in wait, some Boko Haram terrorists (BHT) elements on bicycles appeared and were accordingly engaged. Consequently, one BHT was killed. Items recovered include an AK47 rifle with 14 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, a Dane gun (shaped like an AK47 rifle), a locally fabricated double barrel pistol and four bicycles.
“On Cordon and Search Operations and following an intelligence report that large quantity of arms and ammo were being moved into areas outskirts of Gamboru for a possible BHT attempt to retake Gamboru and Rann Local Government Areas of Borno State, own troops conducted a dawn cordon and search operations around Gamboru town. A total of three AK56 and two AK-L rifles were recovered. Also, 235 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition and seven AK magazines were recovered”.
He also said: “On 1 August 2016 at about 2000hrs, own troops in response to a distress call at Yauri village came in contact with some BHT elements and engaged them. As a result of the operation, five BHT were killed and several items were recovered which included two AK47 rifle, a General Purpose Machine Gun, a 60mm mortar tube, an FN rifle, two Dane guns, two AK47 magazines and two FN magazines”. Others were 131 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 31 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, a 60mm mortar bomb, 10 bicycles and a sum of N31, 275.00.
Irabor said the insurgency attack on troop locations in Kangarwa which took place on 15th August was repelled during which 16 insurgents were killed, adding that 11 AK 47 rifles, one 60mm mortar, one RPG tube, one RPG Bomb, 12 x 60mm bombs, one hand grenade 5x magazines and one handset and a bandoliers were recovered from the terrorists.
On the recent video released by Boko Haram through the social media, Irabor claimed all the attacks shown in the video were archival materials gathered by the Boko Haram over a long time.
“The incidents were in those days that BHT lived in illusion. Currently, they have lost initiative and have been routed. The video is an elusive attempt to recruit support. I therefore implore you all to inform the public to be rest assured that there is no cause for alarm as far as the degradation of BHT capabilities is concerned.
“These are confused bad elements of the society who are suffering from shock of total defeat from the military. As you all know, these are mere BHT propaganda which could not hold any water. Let me once again use this medium to remind the remnants of BHT that their days are numbered because their future is going to be disastrous if they fail to surrender and lay down their arms”. Irabor concluded.