Politics

How the military is reclaiming lost territories from Boko Haram

-Chad, Cameroon troops lend hand as AU steps in

As many will agree, where there’s a will, there’s a way – this seems to be the case with the Nigerian military in their fight against the nefarious Boko Haram terrorists in recent times.

Before now, the fundamentalists had unleashed unimaginable terror on the hapless inhabitants of Nigeria’s north east – drastically dwindling the population of the region while rendering others internally displaced persons (IDPs) in refugee camps.

Many had lamented the military’s lack of will which had seen the terrorists operate almost unimpeded – to the extent that they conquered some towns and went ahead to rename a couple.

Appallingly, barely a week after Boko Haram captured and renamed Mubi town in Adamawa state to “Madinatul Islam” (meaning City of Islam); the sect reportedly also renamed Borno’s Gwoza town “Darul Hikma” (meaning House of Wisdom).

The African Union (AU) had on Thursday (January 29) endorsed a West African plan to set up a regional task force of 7,500-strong multinational force to fight the Islamic insurgents, a senior official said.

The four nations of the Lake Chad Basin (the sect’s stronghold) – Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria – agreed to join forces with a contingent from Benin Republic (which borders Nigeria to the west). But disagreements surfaced over how to deploy the troops, and as a result, a cohesive fighting force has failed to materialize.

Military bombardment of the militants’ camps across the border towns has gone ahead nonetheless and so far is yielding fruits as the Nigerian military, with Cameroon and Chad lending a hand, are reclaiming territories lost to Boko Haram…

October 25, 2014: Military recapture Abadam, kill dozens of Boko Haram insurgents

Dozens of Boko Haram insurgents were reportedly killed early Saturday morning (October 25) in the fight for Abadam, Borno State, between Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) and the terrorists.

At least 40 people were killed and many residents fled to the border communities in Niger Republic in fear for their lives when the insurgents invaded the town.

However, later reports from witnesses and security sources revealed that no fewer than 24 insurgents were killed around Abadam as MNJTF soldiers managed to reclaim the town.

The operation was successful due to the combined effort of the air and ground troops, the sources said. In the course of the air attack, the most occupied Boko Haram spots of the town were heavily shelled as the terrorists scampered into the bushes where they ran into the ambush of the ground troops.

November 15, 2014: Nigerian Troops reclaim Chibok town

Soldiers of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army reclaimed Chibok town in Borno State, about 24 hours after Boko Haram terrorists invaded and took over the town.

This followed the deployment of troops, who moved in and retrieved the seized community after a fierce battle, sources said.

According to a source, “We saw large number of trucks filled with uniformed personnel moving towards Chibok. Initially, we were scared but later realised they were soldiers as they did not harass us like the Boko Haram gunmen usually did”.

The source said they continued to hear sounds of gun shots and explosion echoing from the direction of Chibok.

December 5, 2014: Military clears Mubi of insurgents, reclaims town

Nigerian troops have fully reclaimed, and cleared Mubi, Adamawa state of Boko Haram insurgents who took over the town, the Defence Headquarters confirmed.

A statement by the Defence spokesperson, Chris Olukolade, said troops completed the operation to clear Mubi of terrorists on Thursday (December 4).

Gen. Olukolade said a mop-up operation was ongoing to capture any straggler militant who may be lurking around after they had been dislodged during coordinated air and land military operations in the area. He also said the operation to clear other parts of Nigeria of terrorist activities was continuing.

January 29, 2015: Chadian troops reclaim Malumfatori town from sect

Chad military forces have reportedly reclaimed the north eastern town of Malumfatori, Borno State from Boko Haram insurgents. Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in its struggle to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria, seized the town of Mallam Fatori in November last year, sending government soldiers stationed there fleeing across the nearby border into Niger.

The news was first reported by British Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Africa, and was later confirmed by the Defence Headquarters (DHQ).

February 1, 2015: Nigerian troops retake Gwoza from Boko Haram

Nigerian soldiers have recaptured the north eastern town of Gwoza, Borno state from members of the Boko Haram sect.

A top security source who confirmed the development to newsmen said that Baga and Marte, also in the state, have also been recaptured by a combined team of Nigerian and Chadian soldiers.

He added that Kukawa, another Borno town, “Could possibly have been recaptured as well”. According to him: “In Dikwa, troops and the insurgents are currently in an exchange of gunfire”.

The insurgents first captured Gwoza in August 2014, declaring it an Islamic caliphate. The military fought back to recover the town, but the insurgents again seized it, as well as Chibok, in November last year. Thankfully, however, it has now been reclaimed by the military.

February 3, 2015: Regional joint military troops launch strikes on insurgents, recapture Gamboru town

Troops serving under a joint military coalition, comprising Nigeria and her neighbours, Chad and Cameroon, yesterday (February 3) reclaimed the border town of Gamboru in Borno State, which had been under the control of the sect for months.

According to military sources, the battle for the soul of Gamboru, south of Lake Chad, followed the deployment of hundreds of troops from the regional force to an area close to the town of Diffa in Niger Republic.

The road from Gamboru to Fotokol in Cameroon is one of Boko Haram’s major supply routes. The insurgents’ use of the track has been hindered since Cameroon deployed special forces to the area in mid-2014, leading to fierce fighting in the area.

For almost an hour, Chadian warplanes struck positions held by Boko Haram, while armoured vehicles rolled across the bridge linking Fotokol town in Cameroon with Gamboru in Nigeria, clearing the way for the infantry.

Up until now, Chad’s military had conducted air strikes against the heavily armed extremists, while waiting for authorisation to operate on the ground inNigeriavia Cameroon, which had recently endured Boko Haram raids.

The Nigerian army had also announced the recapture of Mafa, Malumfatori, Abadam and Marte towns.

-MICHAEL NWOKIKE

 

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