The Nigerian Army, Federal Government are aiming to end the menace of Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East zone by December 2013.
To meet the target, the Federal Government has ordered relocation of 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.
FG has also deployed troops withdrawn from Mali to man flashpoints in the three troublous states.
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.
According to the source of LEADERSHIP Weekend, 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.
“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,” a high-ranked military source added.
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”.
The new 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”.
I would be noted that most of the returnee soldiers from Mali are part of the troops deployed to the division for reinforcement.
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.”