Yesterday, residents marched onto the streets of Mubi, Adamawaâ€™s second largest town, singing and celebrating the liberation of the town by a combined team of the Nigerian military, local hunters and the Civilian Joint Task Force, which collaborated to flush out Boko Haram terrorists who had captured the town two weeks ago.
Vintim, the hometown of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, was also liberated in the battle spearheaded by the military, local vigilantes and hunters to uproot the terrorists who had taken over five local government areas in Adamawa State.
Mubi residents, who poured out into the streets, said they were excited that their town had been liberated from the insurgents, who were killed and chased out by the military and their local civilian collaborators.
One of the residents from Mubi, Mallam Musa Bello, informed THISDAY that most of the local hunters and Civilian JTF were mobilised from Gombe, Kano, Bauchi and Borno States by some top politicians in Adamawa following fears that the state might be taken over by the insurgents, if nothing was done to dislodge them.
Bello further added that over 30,000 local hunters and Civilian JTF were mobilised for the fight against the insurgents, adding that the Emir of Mubi was the one who initiated the idea, seeing that he might lose his kingdom to the insurgents.
He revealed that during the battle to recover Mubi, several insurgents were killed, several injured, while a number of them had been arrested.
Bello added that the leader of the insurgents Abubakar Shekau might have been killed in the battle between the two sides.
In the course of the clash, the military was also able to recapture the 234 Army Battalion as well as other strategic security formations in the town which fell into the hands of the insurgents when they overran Mubi.
Residents reported that about five armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and military hardware were recovered from the insurgents.
The residents also disclosed that all the flags hoisted by the insurgents had been uprooted and replaced with Nigerian flags, adding that even the palace of the emir, which was converted to the spiritual headquarters of the insurgents, was liberated.
Confirming the recapture of Mubi yesterday in Yola, the Adamawa State Governor Bala James Ngilari, said: â€œThe insurgents have been flushed out of Mubi and are on the run.â€
Ngilari said the success recorded in the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents was the handwork of God, adding: â€œGod is in this business of security in Adamawa State. You know in the last one week or so, the government decided to work with the vigilante group â€˜Yan Bakaâ€™, local hunters and Civilian JTF. We have been working hand in hand with them.â€
THISDAY also gathered that the local hunters and Civilian JTF will proceed to other parts of the North-east still under the control of the insurgents to uproot them.
Loss of Territories
But as the residents of Mubi celebrated the liberation of their town, the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Kenneth Minimah, yesterday explained that the loss of some territories, including Mubi in Adamawa State to Boko Haram, was caused by a setback recorded by the Nigerian Army in Baza community.
Minimah, who failed to disclose the nature of the setback, however, assured Nigerians that the military was working hard to ensure that the captured territories are recovered very soon.
The army chief made this remark while answering questions from journalists after a two-and-a-half-hour closed-door meeting with the Senate Committee on Army and Defence at the National Assembly yesterday.
â€œWe had a setback in Baza that resulted in the loss of territories up to Mubi and as painful as it is, we are working hard to reclaim those territories.
â€œVery soon, we will recover the territories and indeed other territories that the insurgents have taken. I want to continue to rekindle the confidence of Nigerians and particularly the ordinary Nigerians who have suffered the pains of the insurgency.
â€œThe Nigerian Army will continue to do its best and strive to win this war and reclaim the lost territories,â€ Minimah said.
The army chief who also represented the CDS, who was also summoned to the meeting, had earlier resisted entreaties from the committee to make remarks in the presence of newsmen. Badeh was said to be absent because he had travelled out of the country.
Also speaking after the meeting, chairman of the committee, Senator George Sekibo, said the meeting found that though a few mistakes might have been made by the military officers in the course of fighting the insurgents, the mistakes would be corrected and the captured territories recovered.
Sekibo, who also said from the outcome of the meeting, the situation would not get worse than it is already, echoed Minimah’s state that the captured territories would be recovered and elections would still hold in the troubled region.
â€œWe have deliberated on security issues affecting our country and the Chief of Army Staff has also responded to all the issues that were raised before him.
â€œAs a committee, we have come to find out or have an opinion that the Nigerian army is doing well. There are areas we may have some setbacks because this insurgency is not a conventional warfare. Because it is not conventional, a few mistakes may have been made here and there and the issue is that it will be corrected.
â€œWe have been assured that within a very short period, some of the territories that were taken by the insurgents will be recovered. It will not go worse than what it is now. We believe that from the charge we have given to them, from tomorrow and perhaps in the next couple of weeks, we are going to have better results,â€ Sekibo said.