Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The member-countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, notably Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic Thursday launched a grand military offensive against terrorists’ groups, Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) and Boko Haram in a final push to flush out the insurgents from North-east.
This is coming as military authorities said 150 de-radicalised ex-Boko Haram members would not be released due to the resurgence of attacks by group.
The Multinational Joint Military Task Force (MNJTF) said the offensive followed renewed attacks on innocent civilians and military bases by terrorists in the North-east.
It said the offensive tagged “Operation Yancin Tafki,” which is underway was boosted by earlier preparations designed to deny attackers room to operate, including blocking defensive gaps in Arege, Metele, Baga, and other settlements in the Lake Chad fringes.
Spokesman of MNJTF, Colonel Timothy Antigha, said the grand offensive was the outcome of the summit of Heads of State and Governments of the Lake Chad Basin Commission held some months ago in N’Djamena, Chad.
“Recently Boko Haram terrorists operating from the northern fringes of the Lake Chad Basin exploited gaps within defensive positions, which have since been blocked, to attack positions in Arege, Metele, Baga and other settlements within the locality.
“As a logical follow up to the atrocious and cowardly attack on defenseless civilians and their property, the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), comprising of troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger Republic and Nigeria, have commenced a military operation code – named Operation Yancin Tafki”, he said.
Antigha stated that “the aim of the operation is to take the battle to the remaining last hideout of Boko Haram terrorists within the designated area of responsibility of the MNJTF and subsequently rout the terrorists.
“This operation is therefore expected to give concrete and far-reaching expressions to the resolutions of that summit”.
Meanwhile, the Commandant of Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) Camp in Mallam Sidi, Gombe State, Col. Beyidi Martins, said that 150 de-radicalised ex-Boko Haram members would not be discharged any time soon because of the resurgent attacks in the North-east.
Martins said 260 former insurgents were treated comprising the pilot set of six associated and long-detained persons.
He said another batch of 95 who graduated in February 2018 were handed over to their state governments notably Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno and Yobe whom he said were reintegrated and resettled.
Martins said the last set of 150 that graduated last November were still in the camp because of the recent attacks in the North-east zone.
The graduands, he said, would be released to their states who have expressed willingness to accept and re-integrate them as the situation improves.