Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Troops of the Nigerian Army thursday rescued 147 civilians, including women and children held captive by insurgents in the North-east.
This is coming as the military has also recovered a cache of arms in Plateau State.
The rescue operation followed a fierce encounter with fighters of terrorist group, Boko Haram, in Guzambala Local Government Area of Borno State.
A war update issued by the Nigerian Army Operations’ Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Ilyasu, said troops of Sector 3 Mobile Team in conjunction with Sector 2 Multi National Joint Task Force conducted Operation Life Line in Monguno, Gasarawa, Wamiri, Badu, Gudumbali and Kukawa in Monguno, Guzambala and Kukawa Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Borno Sate.
It said the troops engaged the “marauding Boko Haram criminals in a fierce fire-fight, forcing them to speedily retreat in disarray towards Garere village, a critical gateway in Guzamala LGA, leading into the Lake Chad Tumbuns”.
The statement said “the troops conducted a thorough search of the illegal market place and in the process recovered and destroyed 15 vehicles belonging to the Boko Haram criminals, arrested 75 suspected Boko Haram agents and equally rescued 147 civilians among whom were 79 males and 68 females who had been under the captivity of the criminal elements”.
It said “the rescued civilians were conveyed to a humanitarian facility in Monguno and thereafter handed over to officials of Borno State Emergency Management Agency.
“The children among them were administered with polio vaccine by the Buratai Intervention Task Force Initiative”.
In a related development, Ilyasu said the Chairmen of both Langtang North and South LGAs of Plateau State handed over recovered weapons and accessories from repentant militia groups to the troops of Nigerian Army Forward Operational Base, Shendam.
The weapons include one Gun B10, three General Purpose Machine Guns (GPS), 13 AK 47 rifles, 5 FN rifles/magazines, 8 G3 rifles, two Mark 4 rifles and three SETME Auto rifles.
Others are four SMG rifles, three Pump Action guns, one Single-barrel gun and 13 locally-made guns.
Other weapons and accessories so submitted were six locally-made SMGs, five locally made pistols, 15 AK 47 rifle magazines, one AK 47 rifle Top Cover, one General Purpose Machine and I gun Piston and Breechblock.
The LG bosses also submitted 41 live cartridges, two Rocket Propelled Gun Tubes, three bombs, one locally made magazine, 5 SMG magazines, one Mark 4 magazine and six rounds of 38mm special ammunition.
Other assorted weapons received by the military include three SETME magazines, 34 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 101 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition, 102 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, Beretta pistol, one 60mm Mortar, one fragmental jacket, and 121 rounds of 7.62mm metal link.
The arms haul included three chargers, 11 Anti-Riot Grenades and nine dane guns.
“This landmark submission of arms and ammunition portend great prospect for a reign of peace and security on the Plateau and its adjoining environs,” it said.