Over 10 Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) commanders, as well as over 100 terrorists, have been killed during land and air clearance operations along the fringes of the Lake Chad Basin by troops of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).
The operation codenamed Operation Lake Sanity, is a joint and combined operation involving the MNJTF troops from Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon and troops from Operation Hadin Kai (OPHK- Nigeria) as well as the Air Task Forces of the MNJTF and OPHK, other security agencies and the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).
According to a statement by the spokesman for the MNJTF, Colonel Muhammad Dole, some of the areas cleared by the troops include Zanari, Arina Woje, which served as a major fabrication workshop for the terrorists.
Other areas include Asagar, Larki, Garere, Kerenoa, Wurje, Arege, Abadam, Doron Lelewa, Kolaram, and several other locations around the islands.
However, 18 soldiers were wounded, while three others and a member of the CJTF paid the supreme price during the operation.
Dole said the terrorists and their commanders were neutralised within the period of the operation, following intelligence-driven lethal airstrikes in the Lake Chad islands by the combined air task forces.
He listed some of the commanders killed to include Abubakar Dan Buduma, Abubakar Shuwa, Abu Ali, and Abu Jubrilla, among others.
During the operation, several sophisticated weapons of different calibres were either destroyed or captured, including a 105 mm artillery piece, several canoes/boats, motorcycles, and bicycles.
Other terrorists’ equipment, several Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) making factories, and bunkers were also destroyed, while a significant number of innocent citizens, mostly women and children held captive by the criminals were said to have been rescued.
The statement read, “Recent activities of the operations include a clearance patrol to Fedondiya settlement, where logistics and foodstuffs, including several bags of maize and beans, motorcycles, some immobilised and cannibalised military and civil vehicles were discovered.
“Others, including grinding machines, other vehicle fabrication tools, and military uniforms, were all destroyed and set ablaze in the location. It is obviously a big Boko Haram/ISWAP camp having another large IED-making and vehicle-borne IED-making factory that was cleverly camouflaged to prevent detection from the air.
“In a related development, the MNJTF troops on clearance patrols in the general areas of Kimeguna, near the Lake Chad in Niger republic accosted BHT/ISWAP logisticians ferrying 457 bags of fish in several carts. The bags of fish were immediately destroyed in line with the MNJTF Standing Operating Procedure, while the suspects are being profiled.
“The obviously frustrated criminals – BHT/ISWAP have resorted to the indiscriminate laying of IEDs and use of vehicle-borne explosive devices to attack. One pattern noticed in the operation is that the criminals hastily withdrew and avoided making contact with the approaching troops.
“They instead rely on suicide vehicle-borne attacks. About four different such attacks have so far targeted the determined troops, who have not been deterred. Sadly, 18 soldiers, including an officer, have been wounded in these attacks and have been evacuated to various military medical facilities for treatment while three soldiers and one member of the CJTF paid the supreme sacrifice.”
In his reaction, the Force Commander of MNJTF, Major General Abdul Ibrahim, commended the troops and the CJTF for their courage and commitment.
While paying tribute to the members of the operation who paid the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty, he described them as heroes who would never be forgotten.
Ibrahim also prayed for the quick recovery of the wounded heroes and urged the troops to be resolute and bold to finally eradicate the criminals from the Lake Chad areas.