Sambisa Forest To Become A Tourist Attraction

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has revealed that the Nigerian Army will work with National Park Service and Borno Government to revive Sambisa forest to attract tourists into the country.

The forest is under the control and management of Borno Government.

Buratai said this on Tuesday when the Conservator-General of National Park Service, Ibrahim Goni, paid him an advocacy visit at the Army Headquarters in Abuja.

The chief of army staff said the forest deserved to be revived as it harboured large number of wild animals, noting that the army would see the possibility of working with relevant stakeholders to make the forest a
tourists’ attraction and training ground for the army.

According to him, the army in partnership with National Park Service and Borno Government will explore the potential in the forest.

The army boss, who assured the National Park Service of support, commiserated with the service over its men who got injured and some murdered in the forest.

Goni said the purpose of the visit was to enlighten the Nigerian Army that the nation’s forests were critical to the economy and security.

According to him, most of the forests are located at the nation’s boundaries which the military use for war.

“It is important to say that when the forest is left uncatered for, it will affect the nation’s economy,’’ Goni said.

He added that Nigeria had five per cent forests cover as against the 25 per cent recommended by UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Goni called for increased number of forests to bridge the gap and called for more personnel.

He underscored the need to acquire high calibre fire arms and ammunition, as well as training of rangers.

Created in 1979 when Kainji Lake National Park was established through Decree 46 as Nigeria’s premier national park, National Park Service was inaugurated by former President Goodluck Jonathan
as paramilitary in 2014 to manage game and forests reserve.

 

Army Commander Killed In Sambisa Forest

Lieutenant-Colonel AE Mamudu, one of the commanding officers of the Nigerian Army Strike Force Group, was on Thursday, killed by a vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Device in Sambisa Forest.

Military sources told SaharaReporters that Lieutenant-Colonel Mamudu was killed along with a young Naval officer while on patrol for Operation Deep Punch 11. Lt. Col Mamudu is who is described a fearless fighter hails Kogi state.

Military sources at the defense headquarters say this second time of his coming to Northeast to serve, he was first posted to Borno in 2015. He was posted here last year from the Nigerian Army HQ department of training and operations (DATOPS).

Nigerian Army Consolidates Success In Sambisa Forest, Builds Borehole For Troops

The Nigerian Army has consolidated its hold on the Boko Haram playground of Sambisa Forest by clearing the location of terrorists.

The clear out offensive, led by troops attached to Operation Deep Punch 11, has turned the heat on the sect’s commanders, including its factional leader, Abubakar Shekau, who has been forced to flee.

In a demonstration of its success, it was gathered that the Army is building infrastructure in the location.

Among these are roads and a borehole in Sabil Huda, which was cleared earlier in the week.

The borehole will serve nearby communities and provide troops with easy access to water, something they had lacked.

Troops Neutralise More Boko Haram Terrorists In Sambisa, Rescue 46 Hostages

The Nigerian Military has continued their clearance operation combing all hideouts of Boko Haram terrorists in the large expanse of Sambisa forest.

The Operation Deep Punch II at previous operations has successfully neutralised many Boko Haram terrorists, rescued hostages, destroyed Boko Haram bomb making-factory, recovered weapons, and killed many of the terrorists in the process.

The Deputy Director Public Relations of Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement on Tuesday, February 13 said that the troops have successfully dislodged Boko Haram terrorists from one of their highly fortified hideout called Sabil Huda.

This hideout is said to be around the S-Shape part of the Sambisa forest. The location is also believed to be one of their prized locations. The operation was supported by Nigerian Air Force

“During a fierce offensive which was supported by Nigerian Air Force, against the terrorists on Monday 12th February 2018, the resilient troops neutralised quite a number of Boko Haram terrorists and captured major armaments, including two Spartan Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC), one Canter truck and one Laptop computer belonging to the insurgents,” Nwachukwu said in the statement.

 

The troops also destroyed eight gun trucks. Several makeshift accommodation and tents were also destroyed with children and women held hostage rescued.

Nwachukwu said 19 women and 27 children were rescued from the erstwhile terrorist’s enclave.

He concluded that the highly motivated troops remain dauntless and the Operation Deep Punch II continues.

Part of the recent success recorded by the troops includes the destruction of Boko Haram Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making-factory on Wednesday, February 7. Several terrorists were killed in the process.

Military authorities on Sunday, February 4 revealed that the Nigerian Army has completely defeated Boko Haram insurgents in the country.

Nigerian Army Clears Out 13 B’Haram Hideouts in Sambisa

Col. Kinsley Samuel, Deputy Director Public Relations 7 Division of the Army, disclosed this in a statement in Maiduguri on Sunday. The Nigeria army says it lost three soldiers after successfully clearing 13 Boko Haram hideouts in the Sambisa Forest in one week.

Samuel said that six soldiers were wounded during the operation while dozens of the insurgents were neutralised by troops.

“Troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in conjunction with the Nigerian Air Force on Operation DEEP PUNCH has within the past one week embarked on clearance operations to dislodge Boko Haram terrorists from their camps,” he said.

He added that the troops successfully cleared the terrorists’ hideouts at Talala, Ajigin, Mangzum, Abagajiri, Kafa, Dusula, Buk, Malumti and Abulam among others.

“Furtherance of the clearance operations, the troops on Friday, 10th November 2017 while acting on credible information that the terrorists were massing up at certain camps in fringes of Sambisa forest, advanced and cleared the insurgents at Shyadawe-Angwan-Fulani, Shyadawe-Angwan-Bula-Musa and Shyadawe.

“The troops captured two gun trucks, three motorcycles, many bicycles and a laptop containing valuable information. They also located a vandalised and unserviceable tank in one of the camps.

“The remains of the deceased soldiers have been evacuated while those injured are receiving medical treatment at a military hospital,” said Samuel.

2 Boko Haram factions ready for talks with FG, says Ex-Commander

Two factions of the Boko Haram insurgency group may be ready for talks with the Federal Government, Abdulkadir Abubakar, a former commander of the group has claimed.
Abubakar, also known as Abu Muhammad, was the chief intelligence officer of the Boko Haram group and one of its top commanders, until his arrest in June by the military in Buni Yadi in Gujba local government area of Yobe State.

Abubakar told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at his cell in Maiduguri that Albarnawi and Mamman Nur factions of Boko Haram were willing to dialogue and cooperate with the government to defeat the most visible leader of the group, Abubakar Shekau.

According to him, Shekau, whose capture, dead or alive, the military high command has ordered, has been the major obstacle to peace, since the insurgency began in 2009.

“Shekau is not willing to surrender due to his high handedness. Unfortunately, the government and military authorities accorded priority on dealing with Shekau, who is blood thirsty.

“Albarnawi has indicated interest to dialogue with the government to end insurgency and provide a lasting solution to the crisis. Albarnawi discusses this with members of his circle. And I can assure the government that he would cooperate to achieve peace.

“The two factions are willing to cooperate with Nigerian Government to defeat Shekau,” he said.

Abubakar’s claim about the readiness of the factions to dialogue with the Nigerian authorities could not be verified as he had been incarcerated since June. But he insisted that the groups are predisposed to a peaceful resolution of the eight year-old crisis.

Abubakar claimed to have undertaken various espionage missions and provided intelligence to the insurgents, which enabled them to
hit a long list of targets, among which were the abduction of 275 students at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok and the massacre of students at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi. Over 20 students were murdered at Buni Yadi.

He also claimed to have been involved in other attacks on schools in Maiduguri, Damaturu, Postikum and Mamudo.

The detained Boko Haram commander expressed his willingness to give the military useful information to crush the insurgents and arrest Shekau.

“I am cooperating with the military and I am ready to provide information on the whereabouts of Shekau. Shekau has left his enclave in Sambisa and moved deep into Mandara Mountain. I know the area where he is hiding and willing to provide a guide to the military.

“The intensified military offensive has weakened Shekau’s position and that of the other groups,” he added.

Abubakar revealed deep divisions and power struggle among the insurgents, claiming the Albarnawi and Mamman Nur factions were opposed to Shekau’s leadership style and his bloodthirstiness.

He also blamed Shekau for many attacks on civilians by the Boko Haram insurgents.

“During the early days of the insurgency we fought for what we thought was a just cause, to establish a caliphate where human beings are valued, cherished and respected.

“After annexing vast territories, Shekau began to demonstrate his cruelty and atrocities against humanity.

“In view of the high level atrocities committed by the group,some of the top commanders including myself, Albarnawi and Mamman Nur challenged Shekau, demanding an immediate end to the ugly saga.

“Thereafter, Albarnawi and Mamman Nur parted ways, and formed their groups. Shekau is responsible for suicide bombings and attack on soft targets in the North-East.

“The Albarnawi and Mamman Nur groups never attacked schools, religious places of worship, markets, women and children. Our fight was strictly with security forces. Even the kidnapped oil workers would not be killed by the group,” he said.

According to him, both Mamman Nur and AlBarnawi opposed the abduction of the Chibok school girls, women and children.

“Shekau is fond of using the girls and other abducted women as sex toys, and suicide bombers. He kills on the pretence of punishing for lies, theft, and rebellion. Shekau kills without justification.

“Shekau arrogated to himself the powers to accuse, prosecute, convict and punish in total contradiction to Islamic teachings.Children and women also starved to death in Sambisa due to Shekau’s cruelty”, he said.

NAN

Air Force Jets Bomb Boko Haram’s Artillery In Sambisa

The Nigerian Air Force says that its fighter jets have successfully destroyed an artillery piece being sneaked into Sambisa Forest by insurgents.

The NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, said the artillery piece was concealed under a tree and sighted by a NAF intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft while on daytime patrol in the Sambisa general area.

Air Commodore Adesanya added that about seven insurgents were also observed to be moving out from under the tree.

The Airforce spokesman believes that with the successful attacks, attempts by the remnants of the insurgents to reinforce their capability with the artillery piece has been thwarted.

Soldiers Gun Down 15 Boko Haram Fighters In Sambisa

Troops on clearance operations in Sambisa forest, Borno State, on Thursday killed 15 Boko Haram insurgents and injured several others.

Kingsley Samuel, deputy director, army public relations, 7 division made this known in a statement.

He said the troops also retrieved “large cache of weapons” from the insurgents during the encounter.

Victor Ezugwu, acting general officer commanding (GOC) 7 Division of the Nigerian army, commanded the troops for “delivering a devastating deep punch to Boko Haram terrorists leading to the capture of large quantities of terrorists’ equipment”.

He urged them to remain resolute in the fight against insurgency in the north-east in order to ensure that “remnants of Boko Haram terrorists are flushed out of Nigerian territory”.

“The troops’ resilience paid off with the heavy battering of Boko Haram terrorists leading to the terrorist sustaining huge casualties in fighters and equipment. The terrorists paid dearly as the troops neutralised 15 of them and wounded several others,” he said.

“In addition, the gallant troops made heavy seizures with the destruction of 1 vehicle bound improvised explosive device (VBIED), belonging to the terrorists and capture of one Buffalo Gun truck mounted with Long Barrel Shilka  gun, two general purpose machine gun, one PKM Gun, three mortar tubes, AK-47 rifles, two FN rifles, and one G3 rifle.”

Buhari Orders Police To End Waton Killings

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to stem the tide of violence and criminal activities ravaging different parts of the country.

It also emerged yesterday that Buhari considering visiting Sambisa forest, the former enclave of Boko Haram to declare open the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship NASAC 2017 scheduled to begin on Monday.

Buhari gave this order to Idris to end wanton killings when the IGP visited the president in Aso Rock to brief him on police activities. On Monday, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai and Chief of Air staff, Air Marshal Abubakar Sadique, had visited the president to brief him on military activities since he proceeded on vacation in London.

Answering questions from newsmen after briefing the president, Idris said the president directed the Nigeria Police to deploy the facilities at its disposal to bring violence in the country under control. 

He also said he assured the president that he would act on his instruction, especially by fishing out the prime suspect in last Monday’s killings in Zaki Biam yam market.

According to him, the president gave “a specific directive to ensure that all of us use all the facilities at our disposal to make sure that some of these incidents we are talking about are brought under control as soon as possible. 

“I gave the President my assurance that we are going to do that. Like I said earlier, l have deployed a special squad to Benue and we are surely going to get that ‘Ghana’ within a short time.”

Idris denied insinuations that the Zaki Biam massacre which claimed over 50 lives was carried out by Fulani herdsmen. According to him, the killings were carried out by some criminal elements in the state including one ‘Ghana’ whom he said had been on police wanted list.

He further said he briefed the president on police deployment strategies to flash points all over the country, especially places such as Benue, Kaduna and Ile-Ife in Osun State. According to him, both the police special squad and investigation team had been deployed to such places to investigate recent crimes perpetrated there.

On the allegation of bias and unjust arrest of Yoruba men over Ife crisis, Idris did not give a direct and categorical response. Instead, he said: “You know we are police officers. Crime has no tribe. If you are a criminal, you are a criminal. Crime has no face. We don’t look at crime in the identity of where you are coming from. As far as you are a criminal and the police find you wanting, we apply the law.”

He emphasised that mobile units had been deployed to Zaki Biam to ensure that ‘Ghana,’ the prime suspect in the Zaki Biam killings, is arrested, insisting that the crime was not perpetrated by Fulani herdsmen.

“No. I don’t think it’s Fulani herdsmen. It was an activity of a criminal who is using some of his criminal gangs in the state to harass people, that I have assured the governor when I met with him few days ago,” Idris said.

Meanwhile, Buhari yesterday expressed appreciation to the British government “for the very effective materials and logistical support to Nigeria” in the fight against Boko Haram.

The president in a statement by his chief spokesman, Mr. Femi Adesina, said the president observed that in spite of “isolated attacks against soft targets,” British assistance to Nigeria helped in flushing “Boko Haram out of their hide-out base and severely degraded their capacity to mount a serious attack on Nigerian assets.”

Adesina said the president’s appreciation was contained in a condolence letter that he addressed to British Prime Minister, Theresa May, over last Wednesday’s terror attack on parliament building in Westminster, London. 

Buhari May Visit Sambisa Forest

In another development, President Buhari is expected in Sambisa Forest, the former enclave of Boko Haram to declare open the Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship NASAC 2017 on Monday

Boko Haram, who at the peak of their reign occupied towns in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states had made the Sambisa Forest their stronghold and strategic headquarters until they were pushed out by the military on the eve of Christmas. 

The military had subsequently declared the former game reserves as a proposed site for military institution, building roads into it and kick starting the new status of Sambisa Forest with the hosting of the annual Small Arms Competition within it. 

He is to be accompanied by the Minister of Defense, Alhaji Mansur Ali and Service Chiefs, Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, General Gabriel Olanisakin, Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, Chief of Air Staff, CAS,  Air Vice Marshal Abubakar Sadique and  Chief of Naval Staff, CNS,  Vice Admiral Obet Ebas. 

The Chief of Training and Operations, Army, Major General David Amadu during a press briefing yesterday in Maiduguri to kick start the NASAC 2017 championship, said other activities that would take place include medical outreach to Bama, Konduga, and Magumeri IDPs camps, educational training for Army Education Corps in Maiduguri, security awareness meetings with the traditional rulers and distribution of relief materials to IDPs within Maiduguri and surrounding towns. 

Amadu added that the championship was aimed at testing and shaping the intelligence and professional capacity of the Nigerian Army officers and soldiers as well as equipment. 

He said it was also to put the Sambisa forest into proper use and turn it into Nigerian Army training ground as roads and bridges have been constructed and opened to enable the Nigerian Army test its arms, ammunitions and equipment as part of its fire arms demonstration. 

Amadu said the firearms demonstration was meant to consolidate the professionalism of the Nigerian Army in protecting the integrity of Nigeria and constitutional role of the Nigerian Army, especially, security.

Credit: This Day

Buhari to Visit Sambisa Next Week

President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to declare open this year’s Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship in Sambisa forest in Borno.

Maj.-Gen. David Ahmad, the Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Army headquarters, disclosed this at a news conference on the championship in Maiduguri on Friday.

Ahmadu said the event was slated for March 27 to 31 at the former stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgents.

He said that the championship was part of the training activities of the Nigerian Army aimed at sharpening marksmanship of its personal.

“The Nigerian Army Small Arms Championship otherwise known as NASAC is part of the training activities scheduled for 2017.

“It is a championship among the formations of the Nigerian Army, the objective of the event is to sharpen the marksmanship skills of the army personnel,’’ Ahmadu said.

He said: “All formations of the Nigerian Army will be competing with the best carting away the prestigious Chief of Army Staff trophy.’’

Ahmadu said that the championship was aimed at consolidating on the total defeat and routing out of Boko Haram terrorists from their operational headquarters in camp zero in Sambisa forest.

“Furthermore, the championship will also mark the commencement of the ongoing plan to move speedily and make the Sambisa forest general area safe for habitation.

“It is also to make the place an area for the Nigerian Army training activities,’’ he said.

Ahmadu said: “To this end provisions had already been made for the reopening of more roads, construction of culverts and bridges by army engineers to facilitate easy movement to the general area.

“There is no gain saying that the championship is set to another epoch making event that will further emphasise the Nigerian Army efforts and resolve in meeting its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation,’’ he said.

NAN

Sambisa Forest Hosts Arms Championship

The 2017 Nigeria Army Small Arms Championship (NASAC 2017) will hold in recently captured Boko Haram’s fortress, Sambisa Forest.

The Nigeria Army Engineers (NAE) Corps has mobilised to site and commenced access roads clearance and construction of range and other facilities, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director Army Public Relations, has said.

He said that the military was actualising the directives of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai.

The dreaded forest was captured in December last year with many insurgents killed and a lot of people rescued.

President Muhammadu Buhari commended the troops for crushing Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest.

In a goodwill message to troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole on the successful capture of the Boko Haram enclave in Sambisa forest, Buhari expressed delight, saying he was proud of the troops.

He said: “I am delighted at, and most proud of the gallant troops of the Nigerian Army, on receipt of the long-awaited and most gratifying news of the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave in Sambisa forest.

“I want to use this opportunity to commend the determination, courage and resilience of troops of Operation Lafiya Dole at finally entering and crushing the remnants of the Boko Haram insurgents at Camp Zero, which is located deep within the heart of Sambisa forest.

“I was told by the Chief of Army Staff that the Camp fell at about 1:35 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, and that the terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide. I urge you to maintain the tempo by pursuing them and bringing them to justice.’’

The president, therefore, called on all Nigerians to cooperate and support the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies by providing useful information that would expose all the terrorists hiding among the populace.

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno had described the fall of Sambisa Forest which served as the headquarters of ‘Boko Haram’ insurgents as a “Christmas and New Year gift” to the people of the State.

Shettima made the description at the official re-opening of Major roads leading to Northern part of the state in Maiduguri.

The roads include Maiduguri to Gubio to Kareto to Damasak road and Maiduguri to Monguno to Baga.

“I would want to start by declaring that since I became the Governor of Borno State in over five years, this is the best Christmas season I have witnessed.

“This is the best December I have witnessed and the year, 2016, is my best year so far, as Governor of Borno State.

“The year 2016 is for me, Nigeria’s year of victory and Borno’s year of Hope and Resurrection,” he said.

Enumerating the historic events of the year in the fight against insurgents, Shettima said 2016 “is the year that we began to have access to major towns like Gwoza, Bama, Dikwa, Monguno and Damasak following their liberation by our gallant armed forces”.

“It is in the year 2016 that major highways began to be re-opened; it is in the year 2016 that we accelerated our major reconstruction of liberated communities; it is in the year 2016 that IDPS began to return to communities.

“It is in the year 2016 that we recovered some of our daughters abducted at Government Secondary School, Chibok in 2014; and fellow Nigerians, it is in the year 2016, that the Federal Republic of Nigeria established it’s supremacy over the Sambisa headquarters of the Boko Haram,” he added.

The Governor also said that two of the roads re-opened were of significant economic benefits to the people of his State as it was through them that trailers conveyed agricultural produce from farming communities.

He paid glowing tributes to President Muhammadu Buhari, Service Chiefs as well as officers and men of the Nigerian Armed Forces for their different roles in the fight against insurgency.

“Many persons made sacrifices, including giving up their lives for us to have peace and for these roads we are about re-opening, to be freed from the control of insurgents,” he said.

NAN