Military operations to secure Gwoza town seized by the insurgents earlier this month is ongoing, the Defence Headquarters yesterday said.
Responding to the claim by the sect leader that Gwoza town seized by the insurgents earlier this month has been placed under an Islamic caliphate, the military authorities said “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nigerian state is still intact”.
Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau had in a new video, yesterday, claimed that he has created an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza. In the 52-minutes video obtained by AFP, Shekau said: “Thanks be to Allah who gave victory to our brethren in Gwoza and made it part of the Islamic caliphate. Gwoza, has nothing to do with Nigeria. By the grace of Allah we will not leave the town. We have come to stay”.
The Defence Headquarters, however, in a tweet on its official twitter account stated that “the claim is empty. Any group of terrorists laying claim to any portion of the country will not be allowed to get away with the expression of delusion and crime. Appropriate military operations to secure that area from the activities of the bandits are still ongoing”.
The United Nations humanitarian office (OCHA) earlier this month confirmed reports that Gwoza was under rebel control.
Boko Haram is also believed to be in control of other areas near Gwoza in southern Borno, as well as large swathes of territory in northern Borno and at least one town in neighbouring Yobe State.
Troops recently stormed communities close to Balmo forest in a military operation that lasted two days. Prior to the operation, Balmo forest stretching from Bauchi through Jigawa State with links to the fringes of Sambisa forest was used by terrorists as bases and hideouts for launching attacks.
During the operation, terrorists and armed gangs operating in the forests were completely dislodged while some were captured. Among those captured were two foreigners who were suspected to be mercenaries.