• Asks troops to confide in him on challenges
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Following recent setbacks by the Nigerian Army in the war against insurgency, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has relocated to Maiduguri, Borno State, to personally coordinate the war efforts.
The army chief has also implored his men and officers to open up to him about challenges they are facing on the war front, which may be unknown to him.
This is coming as troops killed some terrorists and destroyed their camps in Gwoza, Borno State.
Buratai, who recently lamented the poor commitment of officers and men to the war against insurgency, which he said contributed to recent setbacks in the anti-terror campaign, asked the troops to feel free to tell him about the challenges hindering their performances.
The army boss gave the advice during a no-holds-barred interactive session with troops during a durbar organised for the troops on Thursday.
“He requested them to open up to him in case of any problem or issue that he needs to know and address.
“He conveyed the appreciation of Mr. President, Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari for their commitment, sacrifices and loyalty to the nation”, Army spokesman, Col Sagir Musa, said.
According to the Army spokesman, a total of 300 troops drawn from the various units and formations across the theatre command attended the occasion, where, as a rare privilege, troops freely interacted one-on-one with the Chief of Army Staff.
Musa stated that “at the event, without any restriction, troops were allowed to sincerely bare their minds on issues bothering them either as a group or individually, especially on professional matters like administration, welfare, logistics and general operational situation including progress and challenges”.
Buratai commended the troops for their gallantry and sacrifices and enjoined them to be more robust and unyielding in the fight to end terrorism in the North-east Nigeria.
Instructively, the Chief of Army Staff used the opportunity to remind the troops of the expectations of Nigerians as to their ability to keep the country safe, saying “as an army, we must be able to meet or surpass it”.
Meanwhile, troops have killed insurgents and destroyed terrorists’ camps in Gwoza, Borno State.
The army said soldiers of 152 Task Force Battalion, under 21 Special Armoured Brigade, in conjunction with some Civilian Joint Task Force members, embarked on intensive patrols and clearance operations to Nbaga and Gero villages where troops came in contact with the terrorists at Ngaba village.
“The sudden attack of terrorists’ camps, simultaneous and swift employment of voluminous coordinated fire power bombardments led to serious destruction of the terrorists’ camps, which forced the criminals to flee their hideouts in disarray, while an unconfirmed number of the bandits were effectively extirpated”, Muse said.
He added: “Eight women and six children were extricated and freed from the terrorists, while their (terrorists) makeshift camps were totally destroyed.
“The following items were captured: three Ak 47 rifles, five bicycles and one terrorists’ flag. The liberated women and children will be handed over to the appropriate agency for further necessary action”.
According to him, the military action followed reinvigorated operational strategies and robust, aggressive and dynamic counter terrorism operations injected into the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole by Buratai.
He said troops have continued to successfully sustain aggressive long range mobile fighting patrols, raids, searches and ambushes which resulted in the recent successes recorded.