Troops yesterday continued their offensive against Boko Haram insurgents in the notorious Sambisa Forest, killing several top commanders of the sect.
b-haramThey also rescued another set of 160 women and girls from the terrorists’ enclave.
The rescue of the 160 females came after the military high command on Tuesday said troops had freed 293 women and girls held in Sambisa Forest who were held by the terrorists.
The Defence Headquarters, DHQ, however said it was yet to ascertain whether the abducted Chibok girls were among the 293 women and girls earlier rescued by soldiers.
Authorities of the Nigerian Army said that the 60 women and 100 children were rescued on Wednesday from the insurgents in a fresh raid on Sambisa Forest.
The Army disclosed that several Boko Haram commanders and fighters were killed during the operations as the troops destroyed nine more training camps and facilities of the insurgents, in addition to the four camps earlier destroyed by the military onTuesday.
At a press conference in Abuja yesterday, the Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said over 13 terrorists’ camps including the notorious Tokumbere camp in Sambisa Forest had been captured.
“Other camps overran and destroyed by troops include Wulari Bukar, Gangala, Anguwar Bakwai, Jigide, Kotorima, Lagura Bello, Lagina Fulani, among others,” he said.
Olukolade continued: “The true identity of some of the rescued women and girls is yet to be ascertained. At the moment, what is upper most and of priority is their movement to a suitable place where they are now undergoing thorough profiling to verify their true identity, where they come from, how they found themselves in the forest, etc. Additional numbers of persons are still being recovered from the forest. Until such comprehensive profiling is done, nobody can confirm whether they are among the Chibok girls or not.
“Whoever they may be, the important thing is that Nigerians held captive under very severe and inhuman condition have been freed by our gallant troops. The joy and sense of hope being expressed by many Nigerians on hearing about the rescue operation is therefore understandable. We would like to reassure them that the momentum of this operation will be sustained until that Sambisa Forest is comprehensively cleaned out and all Nigerians held captive within the bowels of the forest are rescued. There is great hope for the recovery of more hostages of the terrorists.
“Already, the dislodged and disorganised terrorists are in flight on different directions and running helter-skelter in the expansive forest. There is no longer any respite or sanctuary for them; they will be pursued and tracked down not minding the daunting challenges in the mission including hundreds of land mines and difficult terrain of the Sambisa Forest.
“It should be noted however that the essence of this operation is not to kill everybody in sight. We encourage any of the combatants who are desirous to surrender to come out, as the forest will no more be tenable as a haven for their activities. In the same vein, innocent civilians among those in flight are also encouraged to report themselves to the troops. We will continue to treat civilians in the most professional and humane way.
“We thank all Nigerians for their continued prayers and support and assure them that never again shall forces of darkness reign supreme in our country,” he said.
The Defence spokesman said the troops have commenced operations deep into the Sambisa Forest after sustained aerial bombardments by the Nigerian Air Force, and that the main objective is to decimate and clear the terrorists from the forest which is their last bastion.
“The well coordinated operation is already yielding results as troops in the last few days rescued 200 girls and 93 women and an additional number of hostages. Several field commanders and foot soldiers of the terrorist group have lost their lives, some armoured personnel carriers, Buffalo vehicles mounted with anti-aircraft guns, a truck and several Hilux vehicles were destroyed by troops. Also recovered from the fleeing terrorists are a number of anti-aircraft guns, General Purpose Machine Guns, GPMG, Rocket Propelled Grenades, RPGs and several AK 47 rifles. Unfortunately, we lost one soldier in the course of the operation while 10 others have been wounded.”
Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, disclosed that the fresh set of women and children rescued during the raid of Sambisa Forest on Wednesday have been moved to safer areas for further action.
Nigerian Pilot gathered that some of the women and girls are undergoing medical scrutiny and other preparatory measures for interrogation at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.
Usman confirmed that a soldier was killed and four others were wounded even as a woman was killed and eight others sustained gunshot wounds during the operation.
He said: “Please recall that we promised to keep you abreast of troops’ progress in respect of Nigerian military’s ongoing operations to rid the country of terrorists and their enclaves.
“In line with that, I wish to inform you that troops of 7 Division Nigerian Army also cleared several terrorists’ strong points and training camps within Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
“The troops have also rescued more women and children. They have been evacuated to a safe zone for further processing. During the encounter unfortunately we lost a soldier, while four others were wounded in action.
“The troops have also killed several Boko Haram field commanders and foot soldiers…”

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