Troops on patrol have dislodged a band of Boko Haram sect who were about to attack some settlements in the outskirts of Bama and Ngurosoye, in Borno State ,killing about 18 of the terrorists in the encounter.
This was confirmed yesterday in a statement issued by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, who also revealed that 16 burnt AK 47 rifles were found in the debris, while five pickup vans, seven voxwagen Gulf cars and one Hillux truck were destroyed.
According to Olukolade, a total of 75 villagers were screened and released in the course of cordon and search in the adjoining communities. “The purported bomb attack on a market in the vicinity as widely reported in the media is however yet to be verified,” he said.
In a related development, the DDI further revealed that a total of 16 AK47 rifles were recovered in the course of cordon and search in the communities, while mop up operations were ongoing on Mandara mountains and Haraza hills. He, however, added that the troops eventually overran the camps in the outskirts of Gombole, Mele, Kecheri, Dufrfada, Yuwe and others around Mandara mountains and Sambisa forests after stiff resistance.
Olukolade said: “Many terrorists died in the encounter, while a soldier lost his life and five others were wounded.
“The Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) has also stepped up patrols of the banks of Lake Chad as well as surrounding communities in addition to air surveillance and patrols designed to smoke out the remnants of the terrorists.”
“The air raids on some camps sited on Islands have also recorded successes in dislodging the terrorists located there.”
Meanwhile, the sect has claimed responsibility for an attack on a key military barracks in Maiduguri, in a new video obtained yesterday by AFP that warns of further bloodshed, including against civilians.
â€œWe carried out the attacks in Maiduguri (on March 14),â€ said a man dressed in white, wearing black headgear and carrying an assault rifle, claiming to be the groupâ€™s leader, Abubakar Shekau.
The man appeared younger, thinner and with different mannerisms from older videos, which could prompt fresh questions about whether the militant leader, who had previously been reported killed, is still alive.
Shekau had been declared a global terrorist by the United States, which put a $7 million (5.1-million-euro) bounty on his head. Nigeria has separately offered N50 million ($300,000) for information leading to his capture or death. He was reported to have been killed in a gun battle in the North-east between July 25 and August 3 last year, although a man resembling him has featured in a number of videos since then.
The military was yet to officially confirm whether Shekau is still alive and Olukolade had said whoever was making the claims in the videos was immaterial. issue in this matter. Theyâ€™re all terrorists,â€ he said in a March 14 interview. In the latest video, which was obtained via the same channels as previous statements, the man claiming to be Shekau speaks for 37 minutes in the local Hausa and Kanuri languages, as well as Arabic.
Footage then followed showing what appeared to be heavily armed Boko Haram fighters arriving in pick-up trucks and firing on the Giwa Barracks with assault rifles and rocket propelled grenades.