Buratai urges troops to go into bushes, forests to clear insurgents
Boko Haram terrorists have attacked and killed 31 fishermen in separate attacks in Baga, Borno State.
The incident occurred at Duguri and Dabar-Wanzam fishing communities in Kukawa Local Government Area of the state.
An anonymous member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) disclosed that 14 persons were killed at Duguri, while 17 others were murdered at Dabar-Wanzam.
The source noted that the attack came barely four weeks after the fishermen returned to Baga and resumed fishing.
The lifting of the ban on fishing by the military attracted thousands of fishermen to the area.
The military had earlier banned fishing on the Nigerian side of the lake, following accusations that Boko Haram was using proceeds from fishing to fund its armed campaign.
Confirming the killings yesterday at the presentation of relief materials donated to the state by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Maiduguri, the state Governor, Kashim Shettima, said the attack indicated that the Boko Haram insurgents were still unleashing terror, killing and maiming people in the Lake Chad Basin.
Shettima noted that the military and other security agencies were yet to verify the report.
â€œSomebody called me this morning and informed me that the insurgents had killed 31 fishermen in the Lake Chad Basin.
â€œThe security agencies have not commented on the attack so you cannot confirm it.
â€œThis shows the level of crisis we faced in the state as the so-called Jihadists continued with their inhuman acts in the Lake Chad basin,â€ Shettima said.
He, however, commended the efforts of the military towards ending the insurgency and ensuring that peace returned to the North-east region.
However, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Buratai, has charged troops to move deep into the bushes to engage and clear remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists from the North-east region.
Buratai, according to The Cable, gave the charge yesterday in Bama, after he decorated two officers and 63 soldiers with gallantry medals for their exceptional performances in the clearance operation.
â€œYou must take this fight to their hideouts. You must go further, that should be the next stage.â€
â€œI wonâ€™t accept a situation where our troops are being unnecessarily killed or innocent civilians are ambushed on the highways or in some other areas.
â€œThe remnants (of terrorists) that are roaming in the bushes and forest must be followed through. They must be identified and cleared. Donâ€™t rest on your oars. We still have little to accomplish. You have done the greater part.
â€œWe are moving to the end of this operation, but there are still more tasks to be accomplished. It requires perseverance and discipline, so, let us work harder and clear these criminals,â€ he said.
Buratai moved to the theatre command of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, after acting President Yemi Osinbajo ordered service chiefs to relocate to Borno State to take charge of operations, following renewed Boko Haram attacks.
Buratai, who relocated in compliance with the directive, had been visiting troops in the front line to boost their morale.
Meanwhile, the factional leader of Boko Haram, Abu Musad Al-Barnawi, has said the Abubakar Shekau-led faction of the insurgent group will be defeated by the Nigerian military.
Al-Barnawi made the prediction in a video uploaded to YouTube.
He said Shekau had gone against the objectives of the insurgent group.
â€œMuhammad Yusuf and the rest of the Mujahiddeen (Commanders), have sacrificed their lives leaving people like Shekau with violent quotes of the Holy Qurâ€™an and refused to take advice or other people opinions,â€ he said in the video.
â€œHow can you succeed against the Nigerian government (infidel), when you indiscriminately attack innocent people, ordinary Muslims without sufficient grounds. How can you succeed when you kill orphans?
â€œApart from the wanton killing and destruction of human lives, Shekau also sees anyone who doesnâ€™t agree with his ideology as Kufur which literary means an act of infidelity,â€ Al-Barnawi said.
He said Boko Haram was created by Muhammad Yusuf for the purpose of propagating good teachings and practice of Islam but has now become an avenue for perpetrating all forms of criminality.
Al-Barnawi is the son of Yusuf.
A year ago, the Islamic State (IS), an affiliate of Boko Haram, named him as the new leader of the terrorist sect.