• Debunks ISWAP video
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) disclosed at the weekend that it recovered missing personnel and equipment after the Metele and Baga attacks by insurgents in Borno State, debunking video circulated by insurgents showing personnel and equipment purportedly captured by the Islamic State for West Africa (ISWAP).
It said the video was terrorist’s propaganda pushed by online sympathisers.
Spokesman of MNJTF, Col. Timothy Antigha, said the task force suffered loss of personnel and equipment after insurgent attacks in Baga and Metele between December 2018 and January 2019.
He said the MNJTF launched Operation Yancin Tafki to among other objectives, rescue missing personnel and recover lost equipment, noting that some of the equipment being displayed by the terrorists have since been recovered.
“It would be recalled that in previous press releases, the MNJTF had referenced a couple of ISWAP attacks on troop’s locations in Metele and Baga between December 2018 and January 2019.
“In the said press releases, the MNJTF had made it known that there were personnel casualties and others Missing in Action,” he said.
Antigha said “other than sheer misinformation and crass propaganda, which are aimed at causing panic and manipulating public opinion, the ISWAP video has not introduced any new dimension into the conflict discourse surrounding the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the Lake Chad Area”.
“It would be recalled that following ISWAP attack on troop’s locations in Baga and surrounding localities between December 2018 and January 2019, the MNJTF launched Operation Yancin Tafki to among other objectives, rescue missing personnel and recover lost equipment,” he said.
“Consequently, a sizeable number of the equipment shown in the video have since been recovered or destroyed in situ. The Operation which is progressing steadily is committed to rescuing all MNJTF personnel who were declared Missing in Action.
“The MNJTF therefore wishes to assure the good people of the Lake Chad Region that the Force will never leave any personnel behind, as Operation Yamcin Tafki continues,” he said.
He said contrary to the claims of expansion in the Lake Chad Region, ISWAP’s influence had been curtailed considerably due to relentless pursuits by the MNJTF and national forces, as well as rejection by populations in the region.