Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) yesterday resumed air strikes on terrorist positions in Borno State, killing scores of insurgents in Bura Kolege on the fringes of Sambisa Forest.
The air strikes came as the Nigerian Army sought to block revenue streams of the Boko Haram terrorist group derived from fishing in Lake Chad.
Meanwhile, the Borno State government said on Saturday that Boko Haram insurgents set ablaze 73 houses and 28 shops in Thursday’s attack on three Borno villages.
The air strikes conducted by two NAF Alpha jets killed many insurgents in the area. The bombings followed intelligence reports.
An update on the ongoing war against insurgency provided by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said the bombardment of terrorist hideouts killed many Boko Haram fighters.
Daramola stated, “Scores of Boko Haram Terrorists (BHTs) have been neutralised and their hideout destroyed at Bula Korege on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
“This was achieved yesterday in devastating air strikes conducted by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole as part of missions in the ongoing Operation Green Sweep 3.
“The target was designated for attack based on credible intelligence reports, which were further corroborated by series of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, that established the settlement as a major hub of BHT activities.”
Daramola added that following the intelligence reports, “The ATF therefore detailed two Alpha Jets to attack the target area. The air strikes were synchronised for maximum effect, recording devastating hits on the BHT hideout and killing several of their fighters, as captured in the Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) footage.
“The NAF, operating in concert with surface forces, will sustain its operations against the terrorists in the North-east.”
As part of the ongoing war against insurgency, the Nigerian Army said it was trying to block Boko Haram revenue streams from fishing. Speaking in Maiduguri, Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi, said Boko Haram was running a fishing economy to fund terrorist activities in the North-east.
Adeniyi made the disclosure while destroying four trucks of fish intercepted by the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) along Gambouru/Ngala road in Borno State.
He said, “Many Nigerians have been wondering exactly how the Boko Haram gets its finances, how insurgents go about it, how is it that they lived for many years.
“While I am not disputing that there may be people contributing money to run an illegal economy by Boko Haram, one of this is fishing and people from liberated areas that have no regard for lives, property and national cause to end this insurgency.”
He appealed to law abiding Nigerians and members of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) to avoid collaborating with the insurgents in their illegal fishing business.
“Do not allow your members to be carrying fish for Boko Haram,” Adeniyi warned, noting that without fishing revenue, Boko Haram would become history.
Adeniyi said anybody caught transporting fish for Boko Haram, both the fish and his mode of transportation would be confiscated and destroyed.
“If you release your vehicles, boats, camels and donkeys for Boko Haram, you are part of the insurgency, because you’re aiding it and you are an enemy of Nigeria,” he said.
He explained that the terrorists were exploiting the fishing business to sustain the insurgency
According to him “The authorities say no. We fully recognise fishing as a thriving industry in Nigeria. Common criminals who make money from anything go to Boko Haram camps, buy this fish and sell.”
Adeniyi pointed out that Boko Haram had run a fishing economy based on funds generated from fishing in Lake Chad, saying that no fishing activities would be allowed until the insurgents are rooted out.
“Unscrupulous Nigerians will do everything possible, but this day, God is with us and the NSCDC is working with the Army,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Borno State government said on Saturday that Boko Haram had destroyed 73 houses and 28 shops in Konduga on Thursday during an attack on three Borno villages.
The state governor, Professor Babagana Umara, had complained to President Muhammadu Buhari about the rising attacks by insurgents in the state. At a meeting with the President, the governor had said three local governments, Gubio, Magumeri and Konduga, were attacked in the last one week.
Umara, who arrived the state capital, Maiduguri, on Friday evening after the meeting with the President, was told by the chairperson of the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, that a total of 73 houses and 28 shops were torched in the attack by Boko Haram on three villages in Konduga Local Government Area on Thursday night.
The revelation came as the governor undertook an impact assessment visit to the affected villages in Konduga on Saturday.
In Borri, one of the three villages torched by the insurgents, Umara was informed by Kolo that about 8pm on August 22, the insurgents attacked and set ablaze 17 houses and four shops in the village.
Kolo also told the governor that in Wanori village, 34 houses and 18 shops were set ablaze, and in Kaleri-Abdule village, 22 houses and six shops were torched.
The governor, who went round to see things for himself before meeting residents and community leaders affected by the attack, promised the immediate reconstruction of the destroyed houses.
He said modern houses will replace those destroyed, disclosing that he had received assurances from Buhari the previous day with respect to concerted efforts by the federal government to enhance security in Borno