By Michael Olugbode
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) , Lt . Gen. Tukur Buratai said yesterday that he led Nigerian troops in major victories that claimed the lives of 1,015 terrorists and also led to the arrest of 84 of their collaborators.
Buratai, who hosted troops of Operation Lafiya Dole to Sallah Lunch, however lamented the loss of 11 soldiers and injuries to several others in the operations he had led since April 4, when he relocated to the troubled region to confront the terrorist group.
The Army Chief said despite the physical challenges that come with the spiritual exercise of Lent and Ramadan, troops demonstrated “resilience, doggedness, as well as mental alertness” to successfully execute the operations in the past two months against Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists .
He said: “ Since the commencement of the special operations in the past two months on my arrival on April 4, we have all put in concerted efforts, which have resulted in the killing of 1, 015 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and the arrest of 84 logistics suppliers and informants operating with the terrorists.”
He added that: “Typical of every military operation of this nature, we had significant successes and some not-too- palatable encounters. We have taken time to reflect on our setbacks with a view to doing things better to secure the successes we had recorded.
“Some of the notable encounters included that of dislodging the terrorists in Geidam, Mainok, Dapchi, Baga, Dikwa , Gajigana among others, where the insurgents were dealt with decisively.
“Our artillery and air strikes’ unbroken operations in the Boko Haram enclaves have been hugely successful . We have succeeded in dislodging the terrorists at various locations.”
The COAS added that hundreds of the terrorists have been neutralised in the different camps as attested to by deposed and captured terrorists trying to escape the operations
He said: “Many more terrorists have been wounded and are presently hiding in forests with several wounds. This explains why the insurgents have resorted to desperate attacks on towns and villages such as Babangida and Dapchi, searching for medical supplies and logistics to treat their injured colleagues that are dying like flies in the forest.”
He said he was full of joy being with the troops and the wounded soldiers to celebrate the end of Ramadan, assuring that the end of the terrorists is at hand with the fighting vigor of the troops.
Buratai expressed appreciation to the other components of the Operation Lafiya Dole, such as the Air Force and the Navy and even Civilian Joint Task for their efforts in bringing the terrorists to their knees.
Buratai also thanked the Governors of Borno and Yobe states for their support to the Nigerian Army in the counter-insurgency operations.
He also thanked the police, and other security agencies for their role in the successes achieved against the insurgents .