Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja and Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has rescued 12 hostages from Boko Haram and its splinter group Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP).
Also, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole under subsidiary Operation Hail Storm has launched air strikes, killing scores of fighters of terrorist group, Boko Haram and destroying many of their camps in Borno State.
In separate statements yesterday, MNJTF and ATF released details about the war on the insurgent of Boko Haram and ISWAP.
The troops under MNJTF, a combined multinational formation comprising units from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, ambushed the terrorist group on Thursday hence the subsequent rescue of the hostages.
This was revealed in a statement MNJTF’s Chief of Military Public Information, Col. Muhammad Dole issued yesterday, giving details about the rescued hostages.
The statement said: “Battle heat continues to exact pressure on the terrorists of ISWAP and Boko Haram along the fringes of Lake Chad Basin.
“Acting on credible information on the intended relocation of the insurgents to another location, the troops of Sector 2 (Chad), of MNJTF laid ambush against the insurgents at a vantage location near Barkalam.
“During the offensive operation, three canoes were capsized leading to the death and arrest of some terrorists, while others sustained various degree of injuries.”
After the encounter, the statement disclosed that 12 hostages were “successfully rescued from the captivity of Boko Haram and ISWAP. The rescued persons comprise of one male adult, three women and eight children.
“In line with its policy of safe transfer of surrendered insurgents and rescued hostages, the Headquarters, MNJTF used helicopter to facilitate their movement from Baga Sola to N’Djamena Chad,” the statement said.
While receiving the rescued persons at Air Force Base, the Chadian Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Lt.-Gen. Abakar Daoud reiterated the absolute commitment and determination of the National and MNJTF forces to combat the menace of the terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin.
Daoud urged the troops to remain focus and resolute to rid off insurgency, so as to restore normal socioeconomic activities in the region.”
The statement said the rescued hostages were moved “to a military medical facility for further examinations and medication and thereafter reunite them with their families.”
Likewise, the air strike killed scores of fighters of terrorist group, Boko Haram and destroying many of their camps in Borno State.
In a similar attack, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke killed members of a militia group in Benue State, whose leader, Terwase Akwaza aka Gana, was killed recently.
The Directorate of Defense Media Operations (DDMO) revealed this in a war update, saying the air strikes destroyed Boko Haram camps, killing scores of their fighters in a night attack at Tongule and daytime raids at Bone and Isari B Musa.
The update, which was signed by DDMO’s Coordinator, Major General John Enenche, said the air interdiction at Tongule was undertaken after surveillance missions revealed continued assembly of the terrorists within the settlement at night-time.
Accordingly, the f orce dispatched Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter gunships for a night attack on the location, with their barrage of rockets neutralising several of the terrorists.
Bone, a settlement along the Yale-Kumshe axis, on the other hand, was attacked by a force package of NAF fighter jets and helicopter gunships after credible intelligence reports established that the location served as a staging area from where the terrorists launch attacks.
“The NAF attack aircraft engaged the location in multiple bomb and rocket runs, destroying several of their structures and neutralising scores of terrorists.
“Similarly, at Isari B Musa, several terrorists, who were observed both within and in bushes surrounding the settlement, were taken out as the NAF attack aircraft took turns in engaging the target area”, it said.
In another development, following credible intelligence on the possible regrouping of some elements linked to late Gana at a hideout around Kwaghaondo village in Chanchanji council ward of Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State, troops of Sector 2 conducted a dawn raid operation at the identified hideout.
The troops made contact with the armed militia elements who opened fire and fled as troops closed in on their position.
Troops swiftly responded with superior firepower, which led to the killing of two bandits while one AK 47 rifle, one magazine and 15 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition were recovered.
The update said troops continued to dominate the area with aggressive patrols and ambushes to deny bandits freedom of action.
Also, in continuation of aggressive clearance operation to stamp out banditry and other criminal activities in North-central zone of the country, troops of Operation Whirl Stroke and 117 Guards Battalion recorded appreciable successes against criminal elements.
Troops while on joint clearance operation around Mararaba Udege in Nasarawa State raided a suspected kidnappers’ camp along Bakonu road in Nasarawa Local Government Area.
In the course of the operation, three kidnapped victims were rescued while two kidnappers were killed in action. Rescued victims have been reunited with their families.