The Nigerian military spokesman, Maj. Gen Chris Olukolade says Boko Haram has never been seen as controlling any part of Nigeria.
Olukolade spoke in a phone interview with CNN’s Christine Amanpour on Thursday, following Boko Haram’s attacks in Nigeria’s northeast, described as the deadliest onslaught by human rights group, Amnesty International.
“Yes, the activities of terrorism – they are prevalent in certain isolated communities, here and there. It is part of the reality of the moment, we recognize such as a thing to be addressed, but we have never considered that any portion of Nigeria is under their control,” Olukolade said.
According to him, the activities of the terrorists may be prevalent in the northeast, but plans are on to reverse any of their activities and ensure the area is secure once again. He explained that the Army was being careful so as not to cause collateral damage to civilians while flushing out the terrorists.
Hundreds were killed on Jan 3 in Baga and Doron Baga, in an attack some said could have killed up to 2,000 people.
Olukolade however said: “The issue of figures still remains controversial considering the fact that, yes we are aware that very terrible atrocities took place in Baga on the 3rd of January, when the terrorists – on their attack upon the town, not only destroyed property, they also attacked innocent civilians and at the end of their activities a lot of destruction in terms of arson was recorded.
“We also know that in the process a large number of individuals died, but terrorists themselves also died in that attack because of course in this process of repelling it a number of them were victims, so a large number of human beings died in that attack,” he said.
Satellite images released by Amnesty International on Thursday reveals the ferocity of the attacks. Olukolade insisted, however, that the military “needs to be very careful, and as much as possible conventional and professional in this approach. We need to be very careful in our approach so we can ensure that we don’t cause more damage to our citizens.”