Topic: FG Redeploys Troops From Mali In North East  (Read 1552 times)

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FG Redeploys Troops From Mali In North East
« on: September 28, 2013, 08:12:56 PM »

The federal government through the Nigerian Army has set December this year as the deadline for ending the menace of Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east zone.

To meet the target, the government has sent more fighter jets to the zone to hunt for members of the Boko Haram sect, who have scaled up their attacks especially on rural communities in Borno State in the last one month.

The government has also deployed troops withdrawn from Mali to man flashpoints in the three states.

Impeccable sources said the plan of the military is to complete the “operation wipe out Boko Haram” by December this year.

The new offensive, according to military sources, “is the final onslaught against the Boko Haram terrorists in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states. Soldiers will comb everywhere for the remaining members of the sect. This mandate is from the Army Headquarters.”

Although military officials declined comments on the number of fighter jets sent to the region, a serving general of the Nigerian Army, who did not want his name on print, confirmed the operation.

LEADERSHIP Weekend learnt that an order has also been given to the new 7 Division of the Nigerian Army “to wipe out every trace of the Boko Haram insurgency in the north-east”.  Other divisions are to keep watch over their areas to ensure “there is no hiding place for them,” the source added.

The army general said the new division was set up by the government to stamp out the Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast since the then Joint Task Force (JTF) approach did not work well as the political elite had discredited it.

He said: “You remember, it was the JTF that was cracking down on the terrorists. Ideally, JTF is an ad-hoc arrangement; it should not be a prolonged approach, but they were left there for a long time and the people were complaining against them. The politicians and the elders in Borno State called for their withdrawal. That was why 7 Division was created -- to finish what the JTF had begun; we don’t want to hear anything called Boko Haram again by the end of this year.”

The source further explained that the essence of creating the 7 Division has been justified as “our soldiers have taken the battle to the terrorists’ cells, smoking them out from the hills and, if the tempo is sustained, by the end of October, nothing would be heard of them again”.

LEADERSHIP Weekend also learnt that the division has been fortified with anti-aircraft and anti- tank guns mounted on vehicles, and the Air Force fighter jets are being used “to smoke the terrorists out of their hidden places. “Most of the returnee soldiers from Mali are part of the troops deployed to the division for reinforcement,” he said.

When asked to react to the “resurrection” story of Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the sect, the source dismissed it with a wave of the hands. He stated: “Shekau is dead! Do you hear me well? Shekau is dead. If he were to be alive, it would not have taken the insurgents weeks to come up claiming the dead man is alive. They are making the claim for some reasons. For example, the claim would help them to receive support from those who are backing them for the fear of Shekau and they need the claim in order not to look weak before their colleagues outside the country.”   

Although the army spokesman, Brig-Gen. Attahiru Ibrahim, did not speak in detail on the ongoing war against the terrorists, when asked to comment on the performance of the 7 Division and its assignment to deal with the terrorists, he simply said “the 7 Division is doing well”.  He referred our correspondent to his address at the last press briefing where he gave a vivid account of the success of the division.

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