• New Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole vows to end Boko Haram
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Michael Olugbodi in Maiduguri
In a renewed bid to contain banditry and kidnapping in the North-west, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, said yesterday the Army would introduce its new war strategy, called super camp, in the North-west.
Also yesterday, the new head of counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast, Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi assured that the military would not rest until Boko Haram was put to bed.
Buratai had recently charged war commanders in the North-east to embrace a new war strategy, “super camp”, which he said would serve as a launchpad for mobile offensive operations against terrorist groups, Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Super camp was applied recently in a seven-hour grueling gun battle that dislodged insurgents, who attempted to overrun and occupy Gubio Local Government of Borno State. Three soldiers and eleven insurgents were killed during the fierce encounter.
Speaking while on a tour of the Forward Operating Base in Daura, Katsina State, Buratai said the army planned to replicate the “noble concept of super camp in the region, with the aim of projecting offensive patrols, raids, ambushes and other combat missions to tackle the security threats occasioned by the activities of bandits and other criminals elements.”
He maintained that the provision of logistics to enable troops perform effectively remained his top priority.
Buratai stated this at a maiden workshop, organised by Army Headquarters Department of Training and Operations (DATOPS) for commanders, commanding officers and staff officers of Operation Lafiya Dole on the concept of super camp, held at the 25 Task Force Brigade (Super Camp 2), Damboa, Borno State, recently.
Buratai, who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Major General Enobong Udoh, charged the participants to take the workshop seriously, as the concept of the super camp was a force multiplier that allows for concentration of manpower and resources. “Super camps would further boost force protection of troops while in camps, as well as enable them to project force through long distance patrols and ambushes to dominate their areas of operation,” he said.
In Katsina, the army chief commended the commitment and achievement of troops, deployed at Forward Operating Base at Daura in Katsina State, for combating armed banditry, cattle rustling and kidnapping, among other security threats, during Operation Harbin Kunama III and ongoing Operation Hadarin Daji in the North-west.
He announced that works and provision of infrastructure would soon commence on the proposed permanent site of the 171 Battalion located in Daura.
General Buratai informed them of the introduction of boots and polish allowances, among other welfare packages to boost troops’ morale, encourage hardwork and professionalism.
There was loud ovation when the COAS conducted troops at the base to series of push ups, an army statement said.
Also, while giving the army’s commitment not to rest until Boko Haram was put to bed, the new Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Olusegun Adeniyi, also reassured families of fallen officers and soldiers that the Army would continue to accord priority to their welfare and settle all their entitlements.
The Army General gave the assurance during the burial ceremony of Col. Kenneth Elemele and four others who were killed in an encounter with Boko Haram in Borno State recently.
Other soldiers laid to rest include Lance Corporal Ajijola Sunday, Lance Corporal Oguntuase Ayo, Lance Corporal Dimos Daniel and Private Akinola Ayoola.
At the funeral rights, presided by Major Chinwe Njokwu and Major Ayuba Usman, Adeniyi said the fallen officer and four soldiers fought gallantly while protecting their fatherland.
He stated that the Nigerian Army would not relent in the war against insurgency until normalcy was restored in the North east.
Adeniyi, while extending his sympathy to the next of kin and loved ones of fallen heroes, promised to provide the needed support to their families.
He said: “On behalf of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, I wish to commiserate with the families of the fallen heroes. “What happened is sad, but I want their families to know that they did not die in vain; they died for Nigeria, they died for their fatherland.
“You can be proud; they were good citizens, brave, honourable good men. They did not beg or run away from the enemy, they fought gallantly to the end.
“Nigerian Army is proud of them and I want you to know that one of your loved ones paid the supreme price for nation-building. We thank God for their lives and we celebrate them.
“I promise you; we will not sleep, rest or give Boko Haram insurgents any respite, we will return normalcy to the North-East.”
He disclosed that the Army had put in place an effective welfare scheme to take care of the families and children of the fallen heroes.
He, however, advised the next of kin of the deceased soldiers to contact him or Commanders of the Sector 2 and 29 Brigade, under which the slain soldiers served if they experience difficulties or misunderstanding regarding their welfare.
After the fallen heroes were laid to rest in accordance with their religious rites and military etiquette, each of the families of the fallen heroes was presented with the National Flag at the end of the exercise.
The traditional 21 gun salute was observed in honour of the gallant officers.
The event was also attended by Maj.-Gen. Bulama Biu, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, and other military officers in the theatre of operation.