Smarting from the devastating attacks of the last few weeks, including the killing of 43 hapless students of Federal Government College, Bunu-Yadi, Yobe State, by the Boko Haram terrorists, the Nigerian security forces have intensified their ground and air assaults against members of the sect.
The intensity of the raids on the insurgents is said to have forced members of Boko Haram to flee.
However, reports indicate that the terrorists have became even more deadly as they flee, as they have gone on the rampage against civilian populations in the North-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
According to a statement signed yesterday by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, the latest onslaught by the military had been directed at clearing terrorist bases sited in Daggu and Yazza areas of Borno State, which he claimed during the weekend achieved the desired results in the ongoing campaign against terror.
Olukolade said the mop-up operation by ground forces after the air assault resulted in the death of several terrorists who were located in the bases.
He also stated that the civilian population had before the assault been evacuated from within the vicinity of the identified terrorist enclaves, in line with operational orders.
He disclosed further that extensive cordon-and-search operations of the entire locality was ongoing with a view to apprehending the wounded and other members of the terrorist group who might still be trying to flee.
Also yesterday, he said troops in pursuit of those who carried out the attack on the school in Buni-Yadi last week, had a fierce encounter with the terrorists around Mainok and other locations between Apa and Abulum in Borno State.
He said: â€œThe air and land operations that ensued recorded the death of some terrorists. Soldiers also died in the encounters.
â€œMeanwhile, suspects who are believed to have been responsible for detonating the bombs that exploded at Bintu Sugar in the Ngamari area of Maiduguri yesterday, killing many citizens and wounding several others, have been arrested and are helping in the ongoing investigation on the incident.
â€œPatrols are continuing on the land and air in the entire mission area in the North-east towards apprehending or eliminating the rampaging terrorists in the area.â€
Furthermore, Olukolade said the campaign coordination cell had in its report dismissed as untrue the reports claiming that civilians were mistakenly killed in the air operations in some parts of the mission area operation.
He explained that the reports were believed to be part of the design by those bent on discrediting the counter-terrorism mission.
â€œThe Defence Headquarters has reaffirmed its directive that necessary care should continue to always be taken to ensure the safety of innocent Nigerians in the operational areas, notwithstanding the fierceness of the encounters,â€ he said.