Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
Troops of the Nigerian Army killed nine insurgents during a fierce encounter with terrorists in Borgozo, Kaga Local Government Area of Borno State. An Amy officer was also killed while two soldiers were wounded in the fire-fight.
This comes as the military authorities handed over 983 repentant terrorists to Borno State government.
The event which took place at Giwa Barracks, Maiduguri, was witnessed by Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zullum and top military and security officials.
An update on the war against insurgency said troops of 29 Task Force Brigade of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed at Borgozo in Kaga LGA of Borno State decimated nine insurgents who attacked their locations during the fierce encounter.
“At the end of the encounter, many Boko Haram criminals were neutralised while several others escaped with gunshot wounds as evidenced by the traces of blood discovered along their escape route.
“Additionally, one AK 47 Rifle, 7 AK 47 Rifle magazines, 86 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 300 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, 3 camel bags and one black Boko Haram flag were recovered by the troops in the aftermath of the encounter”, the update issued by Col. Aminu Illiasu, said.
The Army statement said “regrettably, one officer and two soldiers were wounded in action. The wounded personnel are in stable condition and responding to treatment in a military medical facility”.
Presenting the “deracialised Boko Haram fighters” to the state government, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Olusegun Adeniyi, said it was an historic event that confirmed the defeat of insurgency and a new dawn of peace in Borno State.
He said the 983 repentant extremists were made up of 978 males and five females.
Adeniyi appealed to the Borno governor to initiate empowerment and re-integration programmes for the repentant terrorists.
He also appealed to other terrorists willing to surrender to do so by taking advantage of government’s amnesty programme.
“Do not waste your future, embrace a peaceful and meaningful life”, he said.
He said that the affected persons were detained at a military facility over suspected links with the insurgents.
Adeniyi explained that the suspects were cleared by the Joint Investigative Panel set up by the authorities.
The commander added that the suspects were cleared of any links with insurgents and certified fit for reintegration with their families and society.
“The release of the suspects marked a milestone in the Operation Lafiya Dole to defeat insurgency and restore peace to the region.
“The federal government implemented the Operation Safe Corridor to encourage insurgents to surrender for rehabilitation and integration into the society.
“I call on the insurgents to surrender to enable them benefit from opportunities of the programme.
“Their aim for a caliphate will not be actualised, I call on the insurgents to surrender.
“Let Shekau and Albarnawi to die alone, they are defeated and you should not die with them,” Adeniyi said.
On his part, Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State commended the gesture, adding that the event was significant in paving the way to end insurgency and the beginning of peace in the state.
Zulum called on the people to accept the released suspects, stressing that they were proved to be free and innocent following investigations conducted by the investigative committee.
He called on the military to adopt proactive measures to release innocent persons in its facilities in accordance with the laws.
Zulum said that the suspects would be transferred to the Borno Rehabilitation Centre, Bulumkutu, before reintegration with their families and society.
The governor added that the state government would provide skill training and empowerment support to enable them to engage in productive activities.