Barely 24 hours after Borno State Governor, Babagana Umara Zulum presented four patrol vehicle to the Civilian Joint Task Force also known as CJTF and hunters when he visited Gajiganna to strengthen resilience among the residents and to ensure the security of lives and properties, the insurgents attacked the area, thereby forcing hundreds to flee their homes to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
But the Chief of Army Staff, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, on a visit to troops in the North-East has taken strong exception to the increased propaganda and undue publicity given to the remnants of the erstwhile Boko Haram terrorists group by some people.
According to a statement by Army spokesman, Col. Sagir Musa, the Army Chief was worried that the undue publicity has further boosted the image of the criminal gang thus assuming larger than life status.
The statement reads further: “He therefore pointed out that, it is wrong for any person to eulogize or support murderers, bandits and armed robbers that the known Boko Haram terrorists group has turned into. Consequently, referring to such gang of criminals, bandits, insurgents such as Boko Haram Terrorists Group, JAS or ISWAP in Nigeria could amount to supporting or encouraging terrorism.
“The Chief of Army Staff said that it is also important to note that the mode of operation of these elements, is pure criminality for personal gains. It is common knowledge that the criminals no longer pretend to be championing any cause other than quest for materialism as manifested in murder and terror on hapless people.
“He pleaded that as peace loving people, Nigerians should not be glorifying these criminals by calling them by any name other than “criminals,” “rapists,” “kidnappers”, “armed robbers” and “murderers.”
“Unfortunately, many Nigerians are not aware that giving prominence to the criminal activities of the terrorists group through sensational headlines and fake news in both electronic and print media could also amount to tacit support to terrorism which violates the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.
“It is therefore important that all Nigerians to rally round our gallant troops as they fight these criminals. All should know that the support to the efforts of the Armed Forces Of Nigeria in the counter terrorism efforts would boost their morale and it will be highly appreciated. The Nigerian Army is asking for the continued understanding and cooperation of all Nigerians and well meaning people.
“He further stated that all troops have been enjoined to henceforth go all out to deal decisively with these criminals. They are nothing but bandits and armed robbers. Let’s support our military to ensure a secured Nigeria.
However, according to residents, who fled on Thursday to Maiduguri, at about 5:30 PM, Boko Haram of the ISWAP faction attacked Gajiram, Gajiganna, Gubio and Magumeri in a swift and simultaneous operation chasing away security forces, vigilantes and CJTF in the areas.
Some of the residents who are currently accessing refuge in camps and host communities within Maiduguri the state capital said, the insurgents took everybody by surprise.
According to them, the security forces regrouped, reenforced and came back to fight thereby repelling the insurgents who retreated but informed residents that there were coming back, an information, which forced many residents to move out to Maiduguri.
Abubakar Ahmed, a resident of Gubio said as far as he knows the insurgents did not kill anyone.
“They were telling people that, they were not attacking civilians, however, they burnt some properties in Gubio.
“Some people said they took away vehicles belonging to security forces and killed some but I did not see that as everybody I believe was looking to escape the madness.
“Many people who are arriving Maiduguri have different stories to tell and I believe so many may arrive later in the day if the security forces did not return them because they are station at the entrance trying to convince fleeing families to return as according to Tue the situation now is calm,” Abubakar said.
During his visit to the areas earlier, Professor Zulum had commended the Nigerian Military and other security agencies for protecting the lives and properties of Gajiganna community.
He also, ordered the enrollment of 112 hunters and the CJTF to a monthly payment roll for their role in providing security to the areas and as well as called on the insurgents to lay down their arms and embrace peace, stressing on the federal government’s operation save corridor window for those willing to return.
Attempt to get response from Col. Ado Isa spokesman of the 7 division Nigeria Army did not get through as his phone was switched off, however, a source within the division informed that, at about 8:00pm; situation at locations were under firm control of the Nigerian military.
According to a statement from the Nigerian Air Force, the operation was executed on 10 September 2019, based on credible intelligence reports and confirmatory Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions that identified a building on one of the Lake Chad islands that was being used by the terrorists as a facility to indoctrinate and train new fighters.
The ATF therefore dispatched its aircraft to attack the location, which upon arrival over the target area observed significant activity of the terrorists. The attack aircraft scored devastating hits on the building completely destroying it and neutralizing the ISWAP occupants.
The few other fighters seen fleeing the location were mopped-up by follow-on attacks.
The NAF, operating in concert with surface forces, will sustain its operations against the terrorists in the Northeast.
Additional reports by Emergency Digest