Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Following the recent killing of over 100 soldiers by Boko Haram terrorists across the countries involved in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), Nigeria, Chad and Niger Republic, MNJTF said yesterday it has launched a grand offensive against Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists.
At least 92 soldiers from Chad were killed in the deadliest attack by Boko Haram on the country’s military forces penultimate week.
President Idris Derby of Chad had lamented the loss of so many soldiers in the attack that occurred in Boma Peninsula.
“We lost 92 of our soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers. It’s the first time we have lost so many men,” he said, after visiting the site of the incident in Lac Province, which borders Niger and Nigeria in an attack that lasted seven hours. Reinforcements were also attacked.
In another confrontation with insurgents by troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria in Gorgi, Borno State last week, 29 soldiers and officers were killed, while 61 others were wounded.
Defence Headquarters said 100 insurgents were killed in the firefight that followed an ambush by the terrorists.
A war update issued by the Acting Director, Directorate of Defence Media Operations, Brigadier-General Bernard Onyeuko, said the massive onslaught was necessitated by the “heinous acts” of the insurgents.
It said the grand offensive was launched to dislodge and rid Lake Chad of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists.
MNJTF said the troops involved in the massive operation were the Sector 2 MNJTF (Chad Republic), Sector 3 MNJTF (Nigeria) and Sector 4 MNJTF (Niger Republic).
According to him, “MNJTF has launched a coordinated joint offensive to dislodge and completely rid the Islands (Tunbuns) of Lake Chad of any Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists’ presence and activities. The troops involved in this massive operation are the Sector 2 MNJTF (Chad Republic), Sector 3 MNJTF (Nigeria) and Sector 4 MNJTF (Niger Republic).
“It would be recalled that following the sustained onslaught and the decimation of the Boko Haram/ISWAP elements by the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, the criminal insurgents retreated into the Tumbuns of the Lake Chad from where they plan and cowardly attack soft and hard targets.
“These heinous acts necessitated the contiguous nations of the Lake Chad basin to jointly launch this massive onslaught on the terrorists across the common borders extending into the Northern Tumbuns of the Lake Chad Basin in Nigeria.
“Aside from the combined operations, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole are equally engaged in the conduct of simultaneous blocking operations aimed at decimating those criminal insurgents who are escaping the onslaught at the Lake Chad general area.”
He urged the public to continue to provide credible information on the region’s common enemies to the Armed Forces of Nigeria operating in Operation Lafiya Dole.