30 December, 2013
There were reports of intensive fighting Sunday between the Nigerian security forces and suspected members of Boko Haram Islamic insurgents at Alafa Village, a strategic town close to Bama, Borno State where an attack took place on a military barracks two weeks ago.
A source within the military disclosed to THISDAY last night that the military engaged the insurgents who swarmed the village in large numbers early yesterday morning with sophisticated weapons and armoury, including armoured personnel carriers (APC), mounted with anti-aircraft guns, after being dislodged from Bama and other towns in which they previously launched failed attacks.
According to the source, the insurgents who had some foreign assistance, were successfully repelled by the Nigerian military, which was supported from the air following the deployment of Alpha jets from Adamawa State.
The source said:“Those guys (insurgents) entered Alafa village Sunday morning, but were caught in a surprise military attack and air bombardment.
“The Boko Haram men, many of them came with APCs mounted with sophisticated anti-aircraft guns. However, Alfa jets from Adamawa arrived to support the ground forces.
“What we are witnessing now is that the terrorists have acquired more sophisticated weapons, as they are no longer using rifles but anti-aircraft guns.
“However, special forces have also been deployed from different parts of the country to Borno for some surgical and highly specialised operations.”
The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, who confirmed the raging battle, said it was part of the ongoing offensive against the insurgents who within this month had attacked some military locations including Bama Barracks and the Nigerian Air Force Base, Maiduguri.
According to Olukolade, the fighting was in consolidation of the success recorded against the insurgents who had tried to sieze military barracks without success.
He said: “There was intensive fighting yesterday but initiated by our own forces in ground and air operations on the terrorist location spotted at Alafa about 21 kilometres from Bama. It is part of ongoing efforts in search of the terrorists as guided by intelligence.
“The operation was able to inflict vital heavy casualties on the insurgents in that location. Necessary air and land bombardments are continuing in similar locations.”
The DDI also confirmed that specially trained forces had been injected into the mission in the North-east.
He also clarified that the latest posting and redeployment of senior officers was meant to achieve the desired targets of operations in the North-east and other areas of the country that are facing internal insurrections.
“It is meant to re-invigorate the mission as directed from the strategic level at DHQ,” he said.