Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Six years after they were forced to flee their homes by Boko Haram, many internally displaced persons from northern part of Borno State have returned to their communities where they celebrated this year’s Eid-el-Fitr.
Many of them had been guests of internally displaced persons camps in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State after they fled their communities following Boko Haram attacks.
The return of the IDPs can be traced to the successes recorded by the military which recently launched “Operation Last Hold”, in the area.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, had launched the operation with a-four month mandate to clear Boko Haram terroriststs from northem Borno and evirons, and ensure that the IDPs safely return to their communities.
A statement issued by the Spokesman Army headquarters, Brig Gen Texas Chukwu, in Maiduguri, said the Eid prayers were observed in the Headquarters of Guzamala Local Government Area Council, adding that the returnee Internally Displaced Persons were assisted back to their communities by the troops of Operation Last Hold.
The statement read: “Following the achievements recorded by the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, the Nigerian Army consolidated the operations with clearance operation which is “Sharan Gwona da Sharan Gida” and dominance patrols.
“The Internally Displaced persons were more than delighted to be back in their ancestral home as well as the resuscitation of two boreholes by the Chairman of Guzamalla Local Government Area Council.The returnee IDPs , drawn from different IDPs camps were assured of their safety and government’s assistance in rebuilding their homes and livelihoods.
” Building materials are already being stock piled for distribution as efforts are intensified to clear and open up more communities in the Nine Local Government Area Councils of Northern Borno.
“Earlier, the Commander, Operation Last Hold, Major General Abba Dikko, while welcoming the returnee IDPs stated that the Military will not rest on its oars until all displaced persons are safely returned to their ancestral homes.
“The Commander emphasised that, all terrorists should either surrender, deradicalised and reintegrate back to their communities or are vanquished and conquered”.
Our correspondent learnt that troops of Operation Last Hold on clearance operations in some communities in the northern part of Borno state had cleared Explosive Devices (IEDs) from farmlands and Lake Chad Islands to enable displaced persons to return and resume farming and fishing activities in the liberated communities.
The cleared farmlands are located in eight Local Government Areas of Gudumbali (Guzamala) Mobbar (Abadam), Marte, Gubio, Kala/Balge, Ngala, Gubio and Monguno.
These eight councils were attacked and destroyed by Boko Haram terroriststs between 2012 and 2016, with loss of many lives and property.
Encouraging the resettlement of over 2000 IDPs who returned from their camps in Maiduguri to their communities on Thursday at Gudumbali, the headquarters of Guzamala LGA in Borno State, the Chief of Army Staff said the operation was aimed at ensuring smooth movements of IDPs from their camps to their communities, and to provide safe environment for normal life to continue.
Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Operations and Training, Army headquarters, Maj-Gen. David Ahmadu, said: “This operation is to move IDPs from camps to liberated communities to resume their farming and other economic activities in eight councils and Lake Chad Islands.”
He said that with the removal of explosives planted by insurgents on farmlands, farmers can now return to their communities.
Noting that peace has returned to the communities, he said the clearance operation also included the launching of house cleaning and rebuilding destroyed houses.