4 Nigeria Soldiers Killed As Troops, Insurgents Face Off

Troops from Nigeria and neighbouring countries have launched major offensives against the two Boko Haram factions and their leaders, the military said on Tuesday.

Soldiers from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria are targeting Abubakar Shekau in the Sambisa Forest, and Mamman Nur, on and around Lake Chad, both in Borno state, northeast Nigeria.

According to the Nigerian military, scores of jihadists have been killed and hundreds of others have been forced to surrender in recent days.

Top brass in Abuja has claimed that Nur had been injured and one of his wives killed in an aerial bombardment and that Shekau was “a spent horse, waiting for his Waterloo”.

Army spokesman Brigadier General Sani Usman on Tuesday said the operation, codenamed “Deep Punch 2”, had been making “tremendous progress”.

But he said four soldiers had “paid the supreme price” and nine others were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack against a military vehicle near Shekau’s camp on Monday.

Separate senior military and civilian militia sources spoken to by AFP gave a higher death toll of 10.

Two Cameroon security sources meanwhile said two of its troops had been killed in the Sambisa Forest, although it was not clear if they were among those mentioned by Usman.

Boko Haram has been fighting to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria since 2009. The violence has killed at least 20,000 and displaced more than 2.6 million.

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who is expected to seek a second term of office next year, was elected in 2015 on a promise to defeat the insurgents.

He and his senior military commanders have repeatedly insisted the Islamic State group affiliate is a spent force but regular attacks still occur in the remote region.

The Nur faction, which goes by the name Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), last Friday claimed a late December raid on a Nigerian military base that killed nine soldiers.

Shekau appeared in a new video last Tuesday and claimed a series of recent attacks in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, and the border towns of Gamboru and Damboa.

AFP

Troops Hinder B/Haram Planned Attack In Maiduguri

Nigerian troops on Monday repelled an attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents at a security check point few kilometres away from Maiduguri.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the incident occurred at about 5: 30 PM, at Moloi area, on outskirts of Maiduguri.

The insurgents were said to have torched some houses and vandalized vehicles on Maiduguri-Damboa-Biu Road.

An eye witness, Aji Maina, said that the insurgents attacked and shot sporadically, a situation which made the villagers to scamper for safety and fled their homes.

Maina said that the residents of Moloi and adjourning villages had to run into Polo and other areas of Maiduguri for safety.

He, however, said that soldiers deployed to the area engaged the insurgents and repelled the attack.

“The insurgents attacked the ED security section, torched houses and motorists caught in the cross fire.

“At present, no one can ascertain the extent of damages or casualties in the attack.

“Many people fled their homes and scampered for safety into Maiduguri,” he said.

NAN reports, however, that security had been beefed up in the metropolis to thwart any breach of peace while people were going about their normal activities.

The Police and military authorities are yet to comment on the incident.

Troops Kill 20 Boko Haram Members, Recover Weapons

Troops serving under the Operation Lafiya Dole in Borno State have killed 20 Boko Haram members and uncovered deadly weapons from them.

A statement from the Deputy Director Public Relations, Colonel Timothy Antigha, on Wednesday, said the soldiers were able to arrest 17 of the sect members while rescuing over 100 people.

The feat, according to Antigha, was made possible following a supported air bombardment by the Nigerian Air Force.

It read in part: “In continuation of Operation DEEP PUNCH 2, designed to smoke out Boko Haram terrorists inhabiting remote islands in Lake Chad basin lying within the Nigerian territory, troops of 8 Division, Nigerian Army, on Operation LAFIYA DOLE, supported by soldiers of the Armed Forces Strike Group have inflicted heavy casualty on the Boko Haram terrorists.

“The operation which commenced about two weeks ago was proceeded by coordinated air and artillery bombardment of islands and localities occupied by terrorists, and from where they sneak into Magumeri, Kauram and other locations to loot property and attack security personnel and villagers.

“So far, 20 terrorists have been killed, captured 17 others, while over 100 elderly men, women and children have been rescued. Preliminary investigation has revealed that a large number of the rescued persons were held against their will and forced to work on farms under life-threatening conditions and penurious wages. More investigation and interviews will be conducted before the rescued persons are handed over for further action.”

Weapons purportedly recovered from the terrorist include 3 Toyota Land Cruiser Gun Trucks, 5 AK-47 Riffles, 3 Fabrique Nationals (FN) Riffles, 2 G3 Riffles and 1 Pump Action Rifle.

Other items were 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) tube, 2 Bombs, 2 Very High Frequency (VHF) Radios and 1 Night Vision Google.

The troops also recovered 55 Rounds of 5.56 X 45mm ammunition, 5 Bangalore Torpedo, Two 120mm Mortar Bombs, 1000 Rounds of 7.62mm Ball Metal Link Ammunition, 55 Rounds of
7.62mm Ammunition and 108 Rounds of 12.7mm Ammunition with links, as well as 2 memory cards, 2 Hydraulic Jacks and a 1.5 Amph Battery.

While saying that no soldier was killed, the army spokesman, however, explained that six soldiers sustained various injuries and “have since been evacuated for prompt medical attention.”

Troops Rescue 212 Captives, Capture 1 Boko Haram Commander

Troops on Tuesday rescued another 212 persons held hostage by the terrorists after they cleared remnants of insurgents from some villages in the northern fringes of the Sambisa forest.

They also captured one Boko Haram commander, “Ameer” of Chawa, Amman Judee and neutralised four terrorists, according to a statement by Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, the Director of Army Public Relations on Tuesday.

Usman said the captured terrorists leader was undergoing interrogation, while the rescued persons were being documented and underaged children among them administered oral polio vaccines.

Earlier in the week, troops rescued 30 persons held hostage by the terrorists during clearance operations in eight villages at Bama Local Government Area of Borno.