In previous months, the Nigerian military troops charged with ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the North east – and in extension the whole of Nigeria – had been on the receiving end of some harsh criticisms from all quarters, including the local and international media, social commentators and even the ordinary man on the streets.
Allegations of ineptitude, ‘arms-folding’, lack of strategic military planning and inaction had been placed at the feet of the Nigerian troops.
The military, in their defence, had cried out, claiming that they were under-equipped to tackle the insurgency. In fact, the army said that the insurgents were better equipped and better motivated than they were – claims which were corroborated by independent security experts.
Over the last few months, however, several reports of the Nigerian military thumping the dreaded Boko Haram sect have dominated the headlines, to the delight of Nigerians.
ENCOMIUM Weekly, here, chronicles how the war against terrorism is being won at long last…
SEPTEMBER 17: 450 Boko Haram militants gunned down in an attempt to invade Maiduguri.
Over 450 members of the dreaded sect were killed in a shoot-out with the Nigerian military in parts of Borno state – the worst-hit state by the insurgency.
The source, a member of the Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), disclosed that the insurgents were repelled from both Ngamdu (Kaga local government area), which is about 100 kilometres from Maiduguri on the Maiduguri-Damaturu road and Konduga, about 40 kilometres on the Maiduguri-Bama road.
The source claimed that the soldiers – of the 7th division, headquartered in Maiduguri – were stationed in two towns (Konduga and Ngamdu), where they engaged the insurgents in heavy confrontation at the break of the day and killed about 300 in Konduga. They had equally repelled them a week ago, killing over 100 insurgents, while in Ngamdu, 150 insurgents were killed in the exchange of gunfire.
SEPTEMBER 24: 300 Boko Haram militants surrender as Shekau impostor’s death is confirmed.
Following days of speculation, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has officially confirmed the killing of the impostor of the Boko Haram leader – Abubakar Shekau – after a fierce battle for the control of key town of Konduga, about 35 kilometres to Maiduguri (Borno State Capital).
This was announced in Abuja during a press briefing by the Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade. He said that the real name of the sect’s leader who appearred in videos as Abubakar Shekau, is actually Mohammed Bashir. According to him, the Shekau impostor was killed along with other top commanders of the insurgents after five days of intense fighting in Konduga.
Consequent upon this, Olukolade further revealed that about 135 terrorists surrendered along with their weapons to the Nigerian troops around Biu Local Government Area (Borno).
SEPTEMBER 28: Another 300 Boko Haram members surrender, seek asylum in Cameroon.
Up to 300 Boko Haram militants have, according to the country’s defence ministry, surrendered in Cameroon within the past three weeks.
Cameroon’s defence spokesman, Lt. Col. Didier Badjeck, told The Associated Press (AP) that the militants have given up their arms and asked for asylum in the country.
OCTOBER 6: Nigerian troops kill 400 Boko Haram militants in Michika and Gulak.
About 400 Boko Haram militants were gunned down by Nigerian troops as heavy fighting ensued in the Madagali Local Government of Adamawa State, when soldiers backed from the air by Nigerian Airforce attack helicopters, launched an attack to retake territories in the possession of the Boko Haram sect.
A source said of the battle: “I can assure you that we are advancing successfully. We have dealt a heavy blow on the terrorists. They didn’t expect what they are seeing. Our armoured tanks are blasting and they are running for their lives. The airforce is providing air cover and hitting them also.”
Also, in Bulabulin Ngaura village of Damboa LGA of Borno State, the Nigerian troops recorded another victory.
The captured village – Bulabulin – is situated 58 kilometres from Maiduguri along Damboa road was once occupied by Boko Haram insurgents, who had forced the troops to a tactical withdrawal from the area for some time. However, it remains uncertain how many casualties the Boko Haram fighters recorded.