Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Nigerian military yesterday said Boko Haram terrorists used women and children as human shield to escape from their stronghold during the takeover of Sambisa forest.
The head of the military counter-insurgency operation in the Northeast, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, said during a press briefing in Maiduguri that the terrorists could have been over run if not for the women and children they used as shield during the attack on Camp Zairo, in the heart of Sambisa forest, their headquarters.
Irabor, who showed the video clips of the aerial attack of Sambisa forest last weekend when the place fell to the Nigerian military, said the Chibok girls could have well be used as human shield by the fleeing terrorists
He said: “I cannot tell if the women or children used by the terrorists were Chibok girls or not but definitely we cannot rule that out.”
The military leader equally said the expectation of the military was to rescue some abducted persons, especially Chibok girls, during the dislodgment of the insurgents from the Sambisa forest haven, but that all hope is not lost on the rescue of the abducted girls.
Irabor further revealed that the military was after the fleeing terrorists and would soon catch up with them.
He said: “There is no hiding place for the terrorists. We are on their trail and we will definitely catch up with them.”
The army commander however asked the fleeing insurgents to surrender instead of being on the run, insisting that “there is no escaping the military.”
Irabor said during the last one week the troops recovered some arms and ammunition from the terrorists, as he described the war on terror in the Northeast as far from being over.
According to him, during the operation in the last one week, they lost four soldiers, and arrested 1,240 Boko Haram terrorists, adding that reports from the neighbouring Niger Republic also said 30 Boko Haram fighters surrendered, among them 24 male and six female.
He said during the takeover of Sambisa forest, the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, was neither killed nor captured, but that there was evidence that he has been there.
Irabor said the fleeing Boko Haram leader left behind his flag, the symbol of his authority and holy book during his flight when the Camp Zairo came under attack by the Nigerian military.
He said during the last one week, the operation recovered arms and ammunition, and described the war on terror in the North-east as far from being over.