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Tit for tat continues in North-East with Boko Haram
North-East Nigeria

Tit for tat continues in North-East with Boko Haram

It is becoming a tit for tat game in the country’s north-east as both the Army and insurgents continue to gain and lose grounds, despite the propaganda being spewed by contending parties.

But thanks to the air power of the Nigerian Air Force, the federal government continues to have the upper hand against the local Boko Haram and its admixture factional group, the Islamic State in the West African Province (ISWAP).

Premium Times is reporting the sack of a brigade, but the air force during the week reported the neutralization of some insurgents and their command centre.

Air Force spokesman, Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said during the week: “The intensive air strikes being conducted under the auspices of Operation GREEN SWEEP 3 have yielded more successes as the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, on 9 August 19, decimated a major tactical base of the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) and neutralized scores of their fighters at Izza on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.  The location was designated for attack after series of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions had established that the location was being used as a staging area from where the BHT elements launch their attacks. 

“Consequently, the ATF scrambled 3 Alpha Jet aircraft to attack the location, with the timing synchronized to inflict maximum damage and mortality on the terrorists. As a result, there was massive devastation on the affected target while scores of terrorists were killed in the process.

The Air Force video of attack at Izza

“The NAF, operating in concert with surface forces, will sustain its efforts to completely destroy all remnants of the terrorists in the Northeast”.

Other sources suggest that contrary to promises, the north-east insurgency may be a long-drawn battle because of a combination of factors, even beyond the control of the government.

There are reports of a shortage of weapons; the use of the geo-political zone as a goldmine by local and foreign groups and businessmen, including foreign intelligence agencies; the attitude of commanders who see the region as an oil field; and the low morale of troops.

“I still cannot understand why foreigners and their affiliates are taking long-term leases on buildings and hotel stay. Do they know what we do not now or is it simply a pre-emptive move to short-circuit future scarcity? In war as in peace time, there are beneficiaries, but something appears fishy here. Even some locals here look like they do not want this to end.

“With tens of thousands of street children, most orphaned and seeing raw violence, it will take God for this region and Nigeria not to reap dire consequences in future”, a source said.

He lamented the propaganda that is blurring the situation on ground. “As far as I am concerned, what we have in the axis where I have been is a full-scale war with casualties on both sides that are not reported,” he added. “I do not even know how to pray again, it is that bad. When I squat to pray, I am confused. Only God can bring this to an end, there are just too many interested parties, just keep praying for us here”, he said resignedly.

Premium Times reports that four Nigerian soldiers who joined their colleagues to wage a brave combat against Boko Haram thugs have fallen in Borno State.

The insurgents descended on the Nigerian Army 5 Brigade in Gubio at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday as the country prepared for the Eid festivities.

The soldiers tried to defend their fort, suffering personnel and equipment losses in the process. The terrorists stole four gun trucks, one mortar gun and one artillery gun during the attack. A tank that was stolen was later recovered in the nearby bush.

The assault forced military commanders to relocate troops and the 5 Brigade from Gubio, about 100 kilometres from Maiduguri, to Damasak, where the military operates a larger camp.

“Therefore, we now have no troops in Gubio, Magumeri and Kareto,” a senior military source told PREMIUM TIMES.

The military chief expressed fears that the entire stretch between Maiduguri to Damasak, spanning over 160 kilometres, is now without military presence and may be vulnerable to attacks.

A group of oil explorers from the state oil giant, NNPC, were killed along that route in 2017.

The latest attack comes weeks after Boko Haram elements ambushed a military convoy in Borno, leaving a colonel, a captain and five soldiers killed.

The Nigerian Army has yet to issue a statement about the latest attack, and its spokesperson, Sagir Musa, did not return requests for comments from PREMIUM TIMES Tuesday morning.

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