‘Insurgency completely defeated’

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole in Borno State, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, has said Boko Haram insurgency has been completely defeated.

He spoke at the inauguration of the Nigeria-Cameroun Military Joint Mission, at the weekend, in Maiduguri.

According to him, troops of Operation Deep Punch II, on Friday, dislodged and occupied the insurgents’ tactical ground “Camp Zairo”.

Hundreds of insurgents surrendered and many fled, while over 100 civilians were rescued, Gen. Nicholas said.

He said: “My soldiers are in the heart of Boko Haram enclave, “Camp Zairo” and have taken total control of Sambisa Forest.

“We have broken the heart and soul of Shekau’s group, taking over the camp and its environs. They are on the run and we are pursuing them to wherever they go. This time around, there is no place for escape anywhere.

“We earlier asked them to surrender, and we are still asking them to surrender, otherwise they will meet it the hard way.”

Gen. Nicholas called on the insurgents and abducted persons to come out and surrender to the troops, saying they would not be harmed or killed.

He noted that the partnership between the two militaries was critical to the successful completion of the counter-insurgency campaign.

“We share information and intelligence to enable us map out strategies to fight Boko Haram insurgents on our common borders,” he added.

Head of the Camerounian military delegation Brig.- Gen. Djonkep Fredrick said the collaboration would strengthen military ties to enable them win the war against insurgency.

Army to abductees: surrender

The Army has called on persons in Boko Haram captivity to surrender.

The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, spoke at the weekend, while handing over 82 rescued victims to the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Maiduguri, Borno State.

His words: “This is the last phase of the operation; we are asking everybody in Borno State to cooperate by giving information about fleeing Boko Haram insurgents.

“People need to be vigilant; if you see any suspected person, report to the military or security agents.

“As I speak now, many of them have surrendered and many more will surrender. The most important thing is that we are treating this people very humanely because they are Nigerians.

“And the message is to say we are not killing people, we are receiving them because they are Nigerians. We are trying to rescue them and that is why we are on this operation, as against the narrative by the insurgents that we will kill them.”

Gen. Nicholas added that the rescued persons would undergo medical examinations, rehabilitation and de-radicalisation.

SEMA’s Head of Rescue Operation Bello Danbatta hailed the military for rescuing the victims.

He said the agency would assist the victims and reunite them with their families.

Some of those rescued were happy at their freedom after years of being enslaved.

A teenage girl said she was forced to marry four times during her four-year captivity.

“We have no food, water and drugs. Many people died in the camp due to starvation. I was abducted from my village four years ago and I suffered various inhuman treatments in the camp.

“I am free now and happy to be reunited with my family. The military is taking care of us,” she said.