Abuja - The abundance of reports highlighting the uniformed forces’ success against the Islamic militant Boko Haram sect is raising hopes the country is about to win the war against a long running scourge that has claimed thousands of lives and left more than a million refugees scattered locally and across the borders.
In recent weeks, the military, whose capacity and motivation to eliminate the terrorists has repeatedly been questioned, has reported significant victories over the deadly sect. Last week, it was announced troops had at last routed terrorists from Bama in Borno State. According to the military, troops had reclaimed Goniri, the last major stronghold of the terrorists operating in Yobe State.
This follows the complete clearing of Gujba Local Government Area (LGA) after Gulani, was finally cleared last month. With this development, Yobe and Adamawa States have been successfully cleared. In Borno, which has borne the biggest brunt of the terror, insurgents have been restricted to a few areas.
Residents of Gombi in Adamawa State, who have over the years lived in fear, are gradually regaining hope.
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“I am sure that the soldiers killed almost all of terrorists that came for the attack. The troops have proven to be on top of the insecurity bedeviling our area,” said Mallam Musa Danuba in reference to a recent successful operation that drove out terrorists.
“The end of Boko Haram has come because they are on the run and confused. Thank God for President Goodluck Jonathan for arming the soldiers with new equipment and for boosting the morale of the military. The recent visit of the President has had great impact on the fight against the insurgents and the collaborative efforts of other countries.”
There is even greater hope the net is closing in on the alleged mastermind of the dastardly reign of terror, Abubakar Shekau.
According to media reports President Idriss Deby of Chad recently claimed he knew the whereabouts of the self-styled leader of terror group.
“Abubakar Shekau must surrender. We know where he is. If he doesn't give himself up, he will suffer the same fate as his colleagues,” Deby said during a news conference after a regional meeting.
He added that Shekau had his back on the wall.
“He was in Dikwa a few days ago. He managed to get away but we know where he is. It's in his interests to surrender,” an upbeat Deby said.
Meanwhile, the military confirmed air campaigns in the terrorists’ strongholds- Sambisa Forest and Gwoza area.
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According the Defense Headquarters the ongoing air strike is targeted at the training camps and logistics dumps of the terrorists.
“A concerted air campaign by the Nigerian Air Force is ongoing in furtherance of the mission to clear terrorists from all their enclaves. The air strikes which targeted the training camps and logistics dumps of the terrorists in Sambisa forests and parts of Gwoza have been highly successful as it achieved the aims with required precision,” Defence Headquarters Spokesperson, Major-General Chris Olukolade, said recently.
President Goodluck Jonathan, who has faced criticism during the seemingly losing battle against Boko Haram, is upbeat.
During a visit to the former terrorists’ strongholds in the north east, declared he and all Nigerians were proud of the bravery, competence and patriotism with which the military was undertaking operations to expel the insurgents from all parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.
He said that with their recent successes, which have overwhelmingly turned the tide against Boko Haram, the military had proven beyond any doubt that it remains fully capable of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
“The military's recent victories proved conclusively that all those, within and outside the country, who cast aspersions on Nigerian soldiers and questioned their ability and willingness to overcome the insurgents, were misinformed and wrong.”
He assured them that they will be duly rewarded for their bravery and patriotic service to the nation at the successful conclusion of ongoing operations against Boko Haram.
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The Senate has also commended the Armed Forces on their successful operations against terrorists.
Senate President, David Mark, praised neighbouring countries for their efforts in helping end the terror.
“We should also commend our neighbouring countries Chad, Niger and Cameroon for their contribution to the fight against terrorists in the region.”
The Senate President also appreciated the Economic Community of West African States for its support.
Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has also commended the military for the liberation of territories previously held by terrorists.
“While these operations could have come earlier, it is important to commend the military for coming to the aid of our communities. The successful military operations in the North East justify the earlier position held by leaders of the region: working with local people brings better results,” he said.
It is estimated up to 13 000 people have been killed during the Boko Haram’s reign of terror that started in 2009.
The violent mission to carve a Muslim caliphate in Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country has led to the displacement of more than n1 million locally and to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Last month, the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) rescheduled the general election by six weeks to enable the army curtail the insecurity in the region.
If recent successes by the invigorated military, as well as the buoyant mood from the President to the man on the street, are anything to go by, the uniformed forces are on track and the end of Boko Haram is on the horizon.
- CAJ News