•Soldier killed, army officer, others wounded
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Troops of the Nigerian Army have liberated 461 captives held by insurgents in fierce battles in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states.
The rescued comprise 207 children, 154 women and 100 men who were held hostage by terrorists in their ancestral community.
The troops also repelled Boko Haram fighters who had last week launched several attacks on Michika, Adamawa State, where the first indigenous Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles debuted on the battlefield while one soldier was killed as well as an army officer and another soldier were wounded.
A war update issued by Col. Aminu Iliyasu said troops recovered a cache of arms and ammunition from the terrorists.
“The combined troops of 5 and 29 Brigades and the Chief of Army Staff’s Special Intervention Battalion 2 conducted massive raid/cordon and search operations simultaneously at some identified Boko Haram criminals’ hideouts between Jakana and Mainok in Konduga and Kaga LGAs of Borno State respectively.
“Troops vigorously combed Matiri, Sheworam, Charikwenti, Burmari and Goni Bukarti astride Maiduguri-Damaturu Road. During the said operations, six Boko Haram suspects were arrested while an astonishing number of 461 Boko Haram captives comprising 100 men, 154 women and 207 children were rescued from the clutches of the criminal insurgents who have kept them hostages in their ancestral community,” it said.
The statement said “the rescued children within the polio vaccination age were instantly administered with the vaccine in line with the Buratai intervention task force initiative by the Nigerian Army medical team. All rescued victims have been promptly evacuated and handed over to Borno State Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) officials.”
On the Michika attack, the army said troops repelled insurgents, who attempted to infiltrate the town.
“In yet another case of misadventure on January 2, 2020, some criminal Boko Haram insurgents attempted once again to infiltrate the serene town of Michika in Adamawa State in order to wreck havoc on its innocent and law-abiding residents.
“However, the combined troops of 217 Tank Battalion and elements of 144 Battalion swiftly rose in defence of the town as they gallantly repelled the said attack with devastating consequences on the marauding criminal insurgents,” it added.
Iliyasu stated that one Boko Haram gun truck mounted with anti-aircraft gun, two AK 47 rifles, four AK 47 rifle magazines, two motorcycles, one machete, some quantities of provision, food items, drugs as well as Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) detonating wires were captured by the gallant troops.
The war update further stated that defiant Boko Haram fighters, who attempted to attack the headquarters of 29 Task Force Brigade location at Jakana in Konduga LGA of Borno State were outgunned and routed.
“The criminal insurgents approached the troops’ location in six gun trucks and a number of foot soldiers. However, the unwavering troops engaged the criminal insurgents in a fierce fire-fight, forcing them to scamper for their lives in utter confusion.
“At the end of the encounter, six Boko Haram criminals were neutralised. Additionally, one General Purpose Machine Gun, three AK 47 rifles, 535 rounds of 7.62mm x 51 NATO (belted) ammunition and one Rocket Propelled Gun (RPG) bomb were captured from the insurgents. Regrettably, one soldier paid the supreme price while two others were wounded in action during the encounter”, the army statement said.
It said the wounded personnel were evacuated to a military medical facility and were responding positively to treatment while noting that the recently inducted locally produced Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, the indigenous Proforce MRAP, which was employed during the encounter “proved to be a reliable war fighting machine, as it provided the required mobility, protection, fire power and maneuverability for the fighting troops. The lethal war machine has thus been certified to be a highly successful effort at local defence equipment manufacture.”