Nigeria Winning War against Boko Haram, Says Obasanjo


Nigeria Winning War against Boko Haram, Says Obasanjo

This Day, 29 Mar 2016

Military kills 25 terrorists, rescues 18 more hostages

Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri and Senator Iroegbu in Abuja

Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said the nation is winning the war against the Boko Haram insurgency.

This came as troops from the 151 Task Force Battalion, 21 Brigade on Sunday cleared remnants of Boko Haram terrorists from three villages in Iza general area, killing 25 Boko Haram terrorists and recovered some weapons.

Obasanjo, who was in Maiduguri, Borno State, to inaugurate some projects as part of the 40th anniversary celebration of University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), said since President Muhammadu Buhari came to power, he had evolved the right strategies in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency and that the insecurity which had ravaged the nation was under control.

The former president, who sneaked into Maiduguri in 2011 to initiate the process of dialogue with the insurgency group, said there was a difference from 2011 and now, with the situation showing that there was gradual return of normalcy.

Obasanjo, during a courtesy call on the state Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, said: “A lot of water has passed under the bridge in this part of the country. I must not forget to commiserate with all our people in this state and indeed the entire North-east who have been victims of insurgency in the way we have never witnessed it in this country before.

“As I have said with the governor, I do travel a lot in Africa and outside Africa and wherever I have gone in recent times, what people want to know is what and how Nigeria is coping with the situation of insurgency. Today, I think we are not out of the woods yet but it would appear that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“There is no doubt that with the combined effort at the local level, at the state level and at the federal level and even at the community level, our security forces are on the ascendancy over the forces of destruction, the menace and danger of insurgency that we have experienced for almost six years now.”

He lamented that: “There is no family in this state that has not suffered lost,” and asked the governor to accept his condolence and that of his entire family.

Obasanjo said Shettima and the entire people of the state have “shown what can be done if people resolve not to give way to evil,” adding that “we just pray for the repose of the souls of those who have lost their lives.”

Shettima on his part, paid tribute to leadership qualities of the former president, insisting that the Boko Haram crisis would not have degenerated this bad if he were at the helm during the outbreak of the insurgency.

He added that should Obasanjo had been in power, the Chibok schoolgirls would not have been in captivity by now, lamenting that it took President Goodluck Jonathan 19 days after the kidnap of the girls to call him on phone on the issue.

He said from testimonies of former governor, the former president was said to be on top of security issues in all the states of the country, and at various times adverted what could have been major security breaches.

He said without the “Nigerianness in you, this country would have been divided along religious lines between 2001 and 2003 when hate brewed from the North to the South over our diversity of faith. Someone else would probably have thought of exploiting the sentiments and division to make political gains ahead of the 2003 reelection but not President Obasanjo.”

Meanwhile, the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, in a statement yesterday said the cleared villages were Mballeri, Shuari 1 and Shuari 2.

In addition, Usman said, the troops also rescued 18 persons held captive by the terrorists.
“They comprised of two men, seven women and nine children. The rescued persons have been moved to the Brigade’s headquarters for further screening and care,” he said.

Unfortunately, he added, one Civilian JTF accompanying the troops felt off a vehicle and sustained some injuries.
Usman said the injured vigilante has since been evacuated to the unit’s Regimental Aid Post for medical treatment and he is in stable condition.

The military also said it had cleared three more Boko Haram camps, recovered several items and arrested two other terrorists in parts of the state.

It said the troops of 155 Task Force Battalion, 21 Brigade conducted a clearance operation aimed at clearing remnants of the terrorists hiding in at Dipcheri, Jere and Chogolo towns.

Usman said the troops cleared all the three camps successfully without any casualty on the part of the troops.
During the operations, he said, the troops came in contact with elements of the terrorists group and arrested two suspected members.

“The troops also recovered abandoned vehicles, motorcycles and a bicycle as well as locally made single and double barrel guns belonging to the terrorists.

Clearance operations by various units and formations in Operation Lafiya Dole are ongoing,” he stated.
Usman said the intent of the operation was to ensure all remaining elements of the terrorists on Nigerian soil are eliminated.

He urged members of the public continue to provide information on all suspicious individuals to the security agencies.