•650 insurgents surrender to troops in three months
• Troops quell Boko Haram advance in Borno
The Chief of Army Staff, Maj.Gen. Faruk Yahaya, yesterday, declared that the military was poised for a final routing of insurgents in the North Eastern part of the country.
His declaration also coincided with reports that 650 insurgents and their families had so far surrendered to troops in the North-east in the past three months.
One of the missing Chibok schoolgirls and her two children were also part of the families of those, who surrendered to troops.
This comes as troops of 25 Task Force Brigade, Operation Hadin Kai in the North East quelled a dawn attack on Damboa town in the early hours of Sunday, August 8, 2021 by Boko Haram and Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP).
A statement issued by Army Spokesman, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, said the army chief affirmed the determination of the military to rout terrorists in the North-east.
“Law abiding people of North-east Nigeria are assured of the Chief of Army Staff’s determination to finally rout the Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province criminals from their hideouts.
“The good people of the North East are also encouraged to continue to avail the troops with actionable information that will enhance the execution of the ongoing counter-terrorism and counter insurgency operations in the region,” it said.
THISDAY gathered that of the 650 insurgents that had so far surrendered to troops in the past three months, about 229 of them were women and children, who surrendered at different times within the period under review.
Military authorities handed them over to Borno State government including one the the 270 Chibok schoolgirls abducted seven years ago, who returned with her two children and the man she married while in captivity.
About 270 girls were originally abducted by the Islamist group but 82 were freed in 2017 after mediation, adding to 24 that were released or found.
A few others escaped or were rescued while about 113 of the girls were believed to be held by the terror group.
On the attack on Damboa, Nwachukwu, said the terrorists made a futile effort to infiltrate the town but were met with heavy volume of fire from the vigilant troops.
“While attempting to infiltrate the town with unconfirmed numbers of foot soldiers and some mounted on motorcycles, the terrorists suffered debilitating gunshot wounds from troops’ fire, forcing them to beat the retreat in disarray.
“The troops are currently on the trail of the fleeing terrorists. Unfortunately, in the exchange of fire that ensued, two vehicles belonging to the Civilian Joint Task Force were razed by fire,” he said.
The statement commended the troops of Operation Hadin Kai for their vigilance and swift response in quelling the attack, even as the army headquarters urged them “not to allow any form of distraction from the marauding terrorists, whose ranks have suffered enormous depletion in manpower as a result of ongoing air and artillery bombardments”.