The Nigerian Military, Thursday, said that it is not part of its responsibilities to unravel the sponsors of the Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terror groups.
It said that even though it is aware that the groups are sponsored, its duty is to defeat the terrorists and not to meddle into their source of funding or sponsorship.
Coordinator Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, while fielding questions from Defence Correspondents, said that it is the duty of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Department of State Security to find out and disclose the identities of those sponsoring the terrorists and other criminal gangs in the country.
According to him, “the kind of weapons these terrorists are using like the gun truck and other sophisticated weapons are expensive and how much are they stealing to procure those arms that have to say that they are sponsored and heavily funded. But like I said, it is not the duty of the Military to uncover the sponsors. Our duty is to remain in the frontline and defeat terrorism and other criminality and that is what we are doing.
“We have the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the Department of State Security (DSS), it is their responsibility to gather intelligence on the sponsors of the terrorist sand not the Military”.
On why the Military is yet to overrun the Sambisa forest, considered the traditional base of the Boko Haram Sect, Enenche, said that troops are avoiding collateral damages that may result from total bombardment of the forest.
He explained that the terrorists mingle with civilians in the Sambisa forest who collaborate with the insurgents thus making it difficult for troops to carry out major attacks on identified locations.
Meanwhile, giving updates on ongoing Military Operations, he noted that “in the North-East, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE (OPLD) recorded commendable results in the past two weeks. During the period under review, troops conducted several operations at various locations, which led to the neutralization of terrorists, destruction of their equipment and structures as well as recovery of various items”.
He continued that, “between 18 and 30 June 2020, the Air Task Force of OPLD conducted intensive air strikes to mark the launching of its subsidiary Operation LONG REACH along the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State following concerted Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions.
“The air operations led to the destruction of a BHT tactical command centre housing some of their high value leaders and neutralized several of their fighters at Garin Maloma and Yuwe villages. Additionally, airstrikes conducted at Buka Korege, Bula Bello, Ngoske, Tongule, Bukar Meram and Warshale Villages led to the destruction of several BHT locations and gun trucks while scores of fighters were effectively neutralized”.
Eneche also added that, “meanwhile, troops of the Army Super Camp 17 at Cross Kauwa in Kukawa Local Government Area and troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE deployed at Response Area Aulari in Bama Local Government Area, both in Borno State, successfully repelled BHT/ISWAP’s attacks on 24 and 25 June 2020, respectively. The gallant troops responded to the terrorists’ attacks with superior firepower, thereby killing 2 of them in contact and recovered 2 AK-47 rifles, 2 Hand Grenades and some ammunition as well as 2 Rocket Propelled Guns and Unexploded Ordnances fired by the terrorists.
“While the Armed Forces of Nigeria reinvigorates and intensifies her operational activities in the theatre in the North East, it has not relented in its non-kinetic operations. These activities are evident in the civil military cooperation activities provided at various quarters by the Nigerian military, including the continued provision of medical outreach to IDPs by the Military. These activities led to improved civil military relations, thereby enhancing provision of information to security agencies, which resulted to the remarkable successes recorded in recent past in the North East Zone”.
In the North West zone, he revealed that, “in continuation of aggressive clearance operation in the North-West zone of the country, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI under Operation ACCORD have continued to record significant successes against the criminal elements.
“This is in addition to the several air bombardments conducted under the subsidiary Operation WUTAN DAJI. The air bombardments led to the neutralization of several bandits and their Logistics bases in Doumbourou, Kuyanbana, Bimasa forests as well as Dunya village in Katsina and Zamfara States respectively.
“Also, within the period under review, troops foiled armed bandits attack in Katsina and Zamfara States. Troops successfully killed 12 armed bandits and arrested 6 suspected bandits’ informers/collaborators across the theatre.
“Similarly, troops of Operation HADARIN DAJI under Operation ACCORD also rescued 29 kidnapped victims in Katsina and Zamfara States. They were handed over to the 2 State governments. These successes recorded within the period under review have brought about a renewed vigour and determination on the side of the gallant troops in tackling the security challenge in the North West Zone”.
According to him, “in the North-Central zone, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN, THUNDER-STRIKE, WHIRL STROKE and GAMA-AIKI conducted several ambushes, raids, clearance patrols and air operations at various locations within the zone which resulted in tremendous successes within the period under review.
“Notably, troops neutralized 4 bandits affiliated to wanted militia leader “Gana” at their hideout around Che Jukun village in Donga LGA of Taraba State on 29 June 2020. Troops had also earlier arrested 6 of his key lieutenants at Shakpev village under Tiir and Yoyoo council ward of Katsina-Ala LGA of Benue state on 25 June 2020, while three kidnappers were also neutralized during an ambush operation along the Abuja-Kaduna expressway on 28 June 2020.
“Additionally, the Air Component of the subsidiary Operation GAMA AIKI neutralized several bandits and arrested 2 other fleeing bandits who happened to be foreigners, during intensive airstrikes at Kasuwan Ango Community in Mariga LGA of Niger State. The airstrikes were conducted in the night of 28 and early hours of 29 June 2020.
“Furthermore, troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN recovered a total of 505 rustled cattle in Plateau State between 24 and 29 June 2020 while troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE recovered 4 AK 47 rifles, one AK 47 magazine, 150 rounds of 7.62 special ammunition, 55 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, 4 locally made rifles, and 5 locally made pistols, amongst other items at Akaa and Mbagyeren villages in Ukum LGA of Benue State”.