30 August, 2014
* COAS leads troops on air bombardment to reclaim territory
• Insurgents’ rule in captured area clocks one week
There is serious anxiety at the Defence Headquarters,DHQ, following the capture of Gwoza and neighbouring towns in Borno State by the terrorists sect, Boko Haram, a week ago. This is even as the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah, is said to be leading troops to reclaim Gwoza and other parts of the state occupied by terrorists.
Leader of the Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, had on Sunday, in a video declared an Islamist Caliphate Republic in the North East with its headquarters in Gwoza. This followed the inability of the military to overpower the insurgents during the battle of supremacy Gamboru Ngala. During the battle, no fewer than 480 soldiers fled into Cameroun in what the DHQ called “tactical manoeuver.”
Although the troops had since returned to join their units, Saturday Mirror learnt that the DHQ was so worried over the week about the two incidents, which it considered as the biggest embarrassment in the history of the Nigerian military.A source at the DHQ, said that the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, was very disappointed and furious over the developments.
The source further disclosed that this made the COAS to quickly round off his tour of Army formations in the country and proceeded to Borno State on Thursday to handle the situation.
Consequently, Saturday Mirror learnt that serious air bombardment had since commenced with sustained heavy fighting by land troops
with the hope to chase out all fugitives and restore order. The DHQ, having earlier dismissed Shekau’s claim of Islamists Caliphate as “empty”, finally acknowledged within the week that terrorists had taken over Gwoza, vowing also to deploy all its arsenal to reverse the situation in Gwoza.
Speaking with Saturday Mirror in Abuja, over the incidents, the Director of Defence Information,DDI, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, urged Nigerians to have faith in the military assuring that the military had put machinery in place to rid the places of the terrorists and their activities.
“We are not given to telling you our operations and what we are doing to reverse the situation.“Wherever terrorists are in this country, we will drive them out.We will restore order everywhere. Just like the security challenges in any part of the country now, we will restore order everywhere, Gwoza inclusive”, the DDI stated.
Olukolade, who said he was confident that the Nigerian military had what it required to protect the territorial integrity of the country,urged that citizens should support and show confidence in the military as this same military remained the one to prosecute the war for the safety of citizens and the country.