The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai, has relocated to the North-East to oversee and coordinate troops of the Nigerian Army in the counter-insurgency war against the Boko Haram and the Islamic State West African Province terrorists.
This is as the Nigerian Army has said that the recent defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists by Chadian troops that reportedly pushed them into the Nigerian end of the Lake Chad basin was done with its support.
The army said yesterday that Buratai would also oversee other army operations in other parts of the country.
According to a release from the Army Headquarters, Abuja, Buratai yesterday addressed troops of the Special Super Camp, Ngamdu, in the Kaga Local Government Area of Borno State, where he said he would remain with them to combat the terrorists.
The army said: “The Chief of Army Staff has relocated fully to the North-East where he is overseeing and directing the overall operation in the theatre and other army operations across the country.
“The army wishes to reassure Nigerians that it is highly committed to protecting law abiding citizens and defending our territorial integrity.”
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Colonel Sagir Musa, made the clarification while briefing newsmen at the Army Special Forces Super Camp at Ngamdu in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno State yesterday.
Musa debunked a claim he said was made by a Chadian Army Officer, Colonel Azem Aguna, on April 9 that the Chadian forces were occupying some Nigerian territories in the Lake Chad region waiting to hand over.
Musa said it was necessary to correct the impression that the Nigerian forces were not on ground in some areas around the Lake Chad region.
He stated that the Chadian operation was on the Chadian side of the Lake Chad area and that it was done with the knowledge and support of Nigeria in line with an existing multilateral co-operation among countries on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), with Headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad.
According to Musa, “The operation was especially welcomed and supported by the Nigerian Army because it would deny the insurgent’s rear and logistics bases in Chad from where they often plan and launched attacks into Nigeria.
“It is hoped that the Chadian forces will sustain operations on their side of the border to permanently deny Boko Haram criminals of rear bases from where they can launch operations into Nigeria.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Chadian Operation BOMA WRATH took place only in Chadian territory and not on Nigerian territory. “The Chadian security and Defence forces did not cross into Nigerian territory during the operation and thus there are no Chadian troops holding any Nigerian territory.
“The Nigerian Military is fully committed and in total support of the continued cooperation between Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria to finally and speedily decimate Boko Haram/ISWAP Criminals and put final end to terrorism in the region.
“Members of the public are requested to disregard the claim and misleading information that the Chadian security and Defence forces are deeply stationed in the islands of Nigeria waiting to handover.”
The statement by the Chadian officer that “the security and Defence forces of Chad are deeply stationed in the islands of Niger and Nigeria wanted to handover to the respective army (sic) of these friendly nations,” he said was incorrect.
He stated that “Nigerian Army wishes to state that there is no Chadian or any other foreign country’s troops on Nigerian side of the Lake Chad or in any other part of the Nigerian territory.
“As a responsible organisation, the Nigerian Army finds it necessary to clear the wrong impression or misinformation for history and posterity, as well as to avoid spreading falsehood and mischievous publications.”