Troops Seize Massive Cache Of Weapons In Baga, Intensifies Bid To Capture Shekau Alive
SAN FRANCISCO, February 22, (THEWILL) – Federal troops have seized large caches of lethal weapons abandoned by members of the ousted terrorist group, Boko Haram in the fishing city of Baga, Borno State, as the military continues its cordon and search operations in the area after successfully liberating the city from the terrorists over the weekend.
The development is coming hours after troops seized 5 anti aircraft guns, rifles, at least 34 motorcycles and 5 vehicles, including trucks being used for operations by the terrorists in the area.
A large number of terrorists fleeing the onslaught of Nigerian Air Force planes and troops drowned in the Lake Chad.
Nigeria's Defence Headquarters in a statement by spokesman, Major General Christopher Olukolade, said a soldier was stabbed while another was shot during a close quarter battle which ensued as troops involved in cordon and search caught up with some of the fleeing terrorists on Saturday evening.
The military said the cordon and search operation as well as patrol of the localities would continue while the offensive on terrorists is progressing in other contested locations in the northeast.
Meanwhile, following the spate of recent successes recorded by troops against the Boko Haram, Nigerian troops have been put on red alert for any insurgents' leader bearing the name of Imam Abubakar Shekau who is believed to be desperately looking for escape routes, the military said Sunday.
A senior military source however, informed PRNigeria, a channel used by the Nigerian government to distribute press releases, that troops have been urged to try at all costs to capture Shekau alive so that he would face justice.
The source said on at least two occasions, troops have killed characters calling themselves Abubakar Shekau in videos but the insurgents manages to find other individuals looking like him and pretend that he was still alive. The order to catch Shekau alive is therefore to ensure that it will no longer be possible to resort to the same trick.
Meanwhile, intelligence sources have ascribed the recent victories of Nigerian troops over the Boko Haram to the arrival of sophisticated armaments and the decision of senior military officers to lead the war against terror directly, which also influenced the change of some commanders.
An intelligence source disclosed that some of the successes recorded in recovery of big towns in the North-East were due to deployment of new strategies, improved disciplinary measures, and sincerity of participating countries in the regional alliance and the acquisitions of latest equipment.
In the past, Colonels have led direct attacks in accordance with military tradition but because of the large scale desertions recorded, Military Generals then decided to directly lead the war and this has greatly boosted morale, the source explained.
Within a week of the massive operation, the troops have recovered Monguno, Marte, Gamboru Ngala, Dikwa among other big towns and several surrounding communities in Borno State.