The Defence Headquarters has again maintained that security forces were making progress in the armed counter insurgency campaign against the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents.
A statement issued on Sunday by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade said the troops had registered the “expected results” in the exercise even as he disclosed that suspected terrorists, who carried out the deadly bombings at Bintu Sugar Ngamari area of Maiduguri, Borno State on Saturday, killing many citizens and injuring several others, had been arrested and were helping with investigations.
According to the Defence spokesman, there were successful air raids on verified bases of the terrorists, located in Daggu and Yazza areas of Borno State at the weekned.
Olukolade stated: “The mopping up operation by ground forces after air assault has confirmed the death of several terrorists located in the bases. Civilians had earlier been evacuated from the vicinity of the identified terrorist enclaves in line with operation orders before the air and land assaults.
“Extensive cordon and search of the entire locality is ongoing with a view to apprehending the wounded and other members of the terrorists group who might still be trying to flee”.
The DHQ also stated that troops engaged the insurgents suspected to have carried out the attack on Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, in neighbouring Yobe State on Wednesday, in a fierce gunfight.
The encounters were said to have taken place in areas described as Mainok and other locations between Apa and Abulum in Borno State.
“The air and land operations that ensued recorded the death of some terrorists. Soldiers also died in the encounters”, the statement added.
“Patrols are continuing on land and air in the entire mission area in North East towards apprehending or eliminating the rampaging terrorists in the area.
“Meanwhile the campaign coordination cell has in its report, dismissed as untrue the reports claiming that civilians were mistakenly killed in the air operations in some parts of the mission area, as the claim could not be confirmed after the mopping up aspect of the operation.
“The reports are believed to be part of the design by those bent on discrediting the counter terrorists’ mission.
“Defence Headquarters has reaffirmed its directive that necessary care should continue to always be taken to ensure safety of innocent Nigerians in the operational areas notwithstanding the fierceness of the encounters”, the statement said.