The military has commenced an operation in Sambisa Forest in Borno State to flush out Boko Haram insurgents.The forest is widely believed to host some of the training camps and facilities of Boko Haram in the North-East.It was learnt that the military high command decided to invade the vast forest in order to make the North-West safe for the general elections.
A reliable source in the Army told one of Punch correspondents in Abuja that Air Force jets started the raid on Monday. He added that surveillance activities and raids were also ongoing as of the time he spoke on Wednesday.The source, who did not want his name in print because he was not authorised to speak on the development, said that massive ground operation would follow the aerial operations .He said, “The military started an operation in the Sambisa Forest on Monday. For now, there are no specific cases of arrest; we don’t have that information now. The Air Force has been operating in the area since Monday. It is after that that the ground troops who are on red alert would be moved in.”
Also, a source close to an office strategic to the operations said that a lot of activities were going on simultaneously in the forest and other parts of the North-East believed to host Boko Haram camps.He explained that the military was combing the forest because of intelligence reports that some of the insurgents who were dislodged from some communities in the North- East were moving back to the forest.The Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, could not be reached for comments on the raids as calls to his mobile did not connect.
Meanwhile, 800 children from areas affected by insurgency in Adamawa State are currently undergoing psychotherapy in the state.Executive Chairman of the state Universal Basic Education, Bello Furo, who made this known explained that the psychotherapy was to minimise the trauma faced by the children whose parents were either gunned down or slaughtered by Boko Haram insurgents.He said, “The process will take some time because most of the parents were slaughtered before their children.“Right now, they do not have anybody to cater for them; they lost their parents as a result of the insurgency.”
Also in the state on Wednesday, the wife of the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Aisha Buhari donated drugs worth N135m to Internally Displaced Persons in Damare.Aisha, who said that it was unfortunate that the IDPs were refugees in their own country, showed sympathy and asked them to be steadfast in their prayers for peace to return to the country, especially the North-East.Meanwhile, Boko Haram fighters attacked Chadian army positions in Gamboru, Borno State on Wednesday but were beaten back.
The Chadian troops are in Gamboru as part of a regional offensive against the islamist sect, which had staged several cross-border attacks over the past week.“We knew they were going to attack us. We were waiting. The battle didn’t last long. They fled,” a Chadian soldier said.He said that eight of his colleaques were wounded while three Boko Haram vehicles were destroyed and one seized.
The Chadian Army later said in a statement that 13 Boko Haram fighters and a soldier lost their lives during the attack.Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up on Wednesday in Diffa, Niger Republic, a day after mortars and machine-gun shots were heard in N’Guigmi on the country’s border with Nigeria.The town lies near Lake Chad, around 100 kilometres east of Diffa.