Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
In line with the demand by the Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum for the military to take battle to the terrorists’ den instead of always waiting to be attacked, the military authorities said weekend that it would launch a final onslaught against terrorist hideouts in Sambisa Forest, Mandara Mountains and Lake Chad.
While declaring open the Chief of Army Staff Combined four-day Conference at Command Guest House, Maiduguri, Zulum had urged the army not to wait until terrorists attack them.
Zulum urged the Nigerian army to be proactive by taking the counter-terrorism war to Boko Haram hideouts of Sambisa Forest and Lake Chad region.
According to him, taking the war to the hideouts will expose the terrorists, their collaborators and sponsors in forests and region.
Following Zulum’s request, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, said after the conference that the Nigerian Army was set to launch “Operation Fireball” against terrorist groups, Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP).
He said the operation would be the final onslaught against the insurgents.
He said the military was “approaching a crucial phase in our counter-terrorism operations in the North-east with Operation Fireball.”
He said the new operation would be extended to insurgents’ hideouts of Sambisa Forest, Mandara Mountains and the Lake Chad region.
“My recent directive on the relocation of AHQ DATOPS ( Army Headquarters Training and Operations) and AHQ DOAL (Army Logistics) to the North-east Theatre is geared towards ensuring that AHQ provides maximum support to the operation,” he said.
Buratai affirmed that he issued the Chief of Army Staff Special Order, specifically, for troops to switch over to a war mode.
“This is necessary for the final destruction of the criminal insurgents,” he declared.
Buratai, therefore, charged courageous and exemplary leadership to be displayed at all levels, as highlighted during the conference panel discussion.
“No excuse will be tolerated in the accomplishment of Operation Fireball objectives to end war,” he warned.
He directed war commanders not to relent in order to maintain a positive disposition and attitude toward improving on ongoing operations.