Paul Obi in Abuja
In a combined operation to confront Boko Haram insurgency, Nigerian and Cameroonian troops on Tuesday killed about 35 Boko Haram terrorists around the northern fringes of Lake Chad and Sambisa Forest.
According to Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Onyema Nwachukwu, â€œtroops of Operation Lafiya Dole have continued to maintain the momentum in the ongoing Operation Deep Punch II to seek out and clear Boko Haram insurgents from enclaves in the northern fringes of the Lake Chad Islands and the Sambisa region.
â€œThe combined troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and the Cameroonian Defence Forces, in a clearance operation, took the battle to the terrorists in their enclaves at Kusha-Kucha, Surdewala, Alkanerik, Magdewerne and Mayen villages, all situated at the Nigerian – Cameroonian border.
â€œIn the fierce offensives, the gallant troops killed 33 Boko Haram insurgents and destroyed 15 locally fabricated rifles captured from them.â€
Nwachukwu explained that â€œthe troops also destroyed four Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), several motorcycles and bicycles belonging to the insurgents.
â€œ603 civilians held hostage by the insurgents were also rescued and conveyed to BÃ¤ma and Pulka towns, where they are currently being profiled before subsequent handover to IDP camp officials.
â€œAs the clearance operations progressed, the combined troops tracked the insurgents to Bokko, Daushe and Gava villages, where they unleashed another attack on the fleeing insurgents, killing two of them in the fire fight and recovering one AK 47 rifle, a magazine, a trolley and unspecified quantity of petrol in jerry cans.
â€œThe troops also extricated 194 civilians held captive by the insurgents and destroyed makeshift accommodations erected by the insurgents.â€
He added: â€œThe combined troops successfully cleared Miyanti and Wudila villages, where they rescued three men, 121 women and 209 children. The rescued persons are undergoing profiling, preparatory to their handover to appropriate IDP camps.
â€œMeanwhile, troops carrying out clearance operations from the Sabil Huda axis of the Sambisa forest have recovered a cache of arms and tools from Boko Haram insurgentsâ€™ enclave in the Sabil Huda area of the Sambisa.
â€œThe munition recovered include three Browny Machine Guns, two 81mm mortar tubes, one 81mm mortar tripod, one 60 mm Commando mortar tube, 12 40mm AGL cartridge , five AK 47 rifles ,1 sniper rifle, 3 Pistols with one magazine loaded with four 9mm rounds, one damaged pump action rifle, two damaged G3 rifles, one Tear gas riflel, two submachine guns, five xG3 Magazines, four locally made rockets, 28 working parts of various weapons, 28 barrels of various weapons, three Browny Machine Gun bipods , two anti-aircraft gun barrels, 12 anti-aircraft gun tripods, eight tool boxes, one welding machine, one Hayab crane, Assorted ammunition links, one packet of electrode and one power generator.
â€œTroops remain highly motivated in continuing with the operations to locate and clear Boko Haram insurgents from their hideouts.â€
In another development, the Nigerian army has also arrested herdsmen destroying farmlands in Benue State.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Texas Chukwu, stated: â€œThe effort of the Nigerian army to fish out criminals and protect farmlands in Benue State and it environ on the ongoing Exercise Ayem Akpatuma is yielding tremendous result as troops of Sector 1 Sub-Sector A, deployed in Yelwata while on routine patrol arrested 10 herdsmen destroying farmland at Tse-Tigir and Tse-Ndugh villages on February 26, 2018.
â€œWhile in the act of destroying the farmland the herdsmen sighted the aggressive troops and fled into the bush. The determine troops pursued and arrest them.
â€œItems recovered from them were: five motorcycle, two machetes, some assorted charms and the sum of N120,000 only. Suspect and items were handed over to the Nigerian Police for further necessary action.
â€œThe Nigerian army is determine to fish out criminals and recover weapons use in killing innocent citizens. Therefore the public is please requested to cooperate and support the army on the ongoing exercise.â€
Also, the Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has expressed concern over recent outbreak of Lassa Fever in the country.
To this effect, the military authorities began campaign against the virus yesterday at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja.
Speaking at the event, Ministry of Defence, Consultant and Public Health Physician, Dr Uzo Chima, tasked residents of military barracks to ensure their surroundings are clean at all times in order not to attract rats.
Chima maintained that given the critical role the military play in society, it will be risky for Nigeria to witness Lassa fever in military barracks.
â€œLaser fever is endemic in the whole of West Africa. It occurs all year round, and when the occurrence become beyond what is expected at a particular period or season, everybody becomes alert. And that is consciousness they are giving us here,â€ she said.
The Deputy Director of Dental, Defence Headquarters, Colonel Nicholas Ngu, said: â€œThe essence of this exercise is to sensitise our barracks residents so that they can be prevented from being infected with the lassa fever virus.
â€œWe are here to create the awareness so that they can know how to take care of themselves and being infected.â€
â€œSo the only measure we can take to prevent Lassa fever is by taking care of your house and protect your foodstuffs.â€