Troops Rescue More Females From Sambisa Forest, Several Boko Haram Commanders Killed
SAN FRANCISCO, April 30, (THEWILL) – Nigerian troops have rescued an additional 160 women and children from Boko Haram camps in Sambisa forest, the last stronghold of the terrorist group where about 290 girls and women were rescued two days ago.
Army spokesman, Colonel Sani Shehu said the freed hostages included “Around 60 women and 100 children,” adding that one female hostage was killed and a soldiers during the ongoing military operation in the forest believed to be about the size of Belgium.
In a press briefing by the Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja on Thursday, the military gave an update on developments in the war against the Boko Haram.
“Gentlemen of the press, As you already know, troops have commenced operations deep into the Sambisa forest after sustained aerial bombardments by the Nigerian Air Force.
The main objective as you know is to decimate and clear the terrorists from the forest which is their last bastion. The well coordinated operation is already yielding results as troops in the last few days rescued 200 girls and 93, women and an additional number of hostages.
Over 13 terrorists' camps including the notorious Tokumbere camp in Sambisa forest have been captured. Other camps overran and destroyed by troops include, Wulari Bukar, Gangala, Anguwar Bakwai, Jigide, Kotorima, Lagura Bello, Lagina Fulani, among others.
Several field commanders and foot soldiers of the terrorist group have lost their lives, some armoured personnel carriers, Bufallo vehicles mounted with Anti-Aircraft guns, a truck and several Hilux vehicles were destroyed by troops. Also recovered from the fleeing terrorists are a number of Anti-Aircraft guns, General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG) and several AK 47 rifles.
Unfortunately though, we lost one soldier in the course of the operation while 10 others have so far been wounded.
The true identity of some of the rescued women and girls are yet to be ascertained. At the moment, what is upper most and of priority is their movement to a conducive place where they are now undergoing thorough profiling to verify their true identity, where they come from, how they found themselves in the forest, etc. Additional number of persons are still being recovered from the forest. Until such comprehensive profiling is done, nobody can confirm whether they are among the Chibok girls or not. Whoever they may be, the important thing is that Nigerians held captive under very severe and inhuman condition have been freed by our gallant troops.
The joy and sense of hope being expressed by many Nigerians on hearing about the rescue operation is therefore understandable. We would like to reassure them that the momentum of this operation will be sustained until that sambisa forest is comprehensively cleaned out and all Nigerians held captive within the bowels of the forest are rescued. There is great hope for the recovery of more hostages of the terrorists.
Already, the dislodged and disorganized terrorists are in flight on different directions and running helter-skelter in the expansive forest. There is no longer any respite or sanctuary for them; they will be pursued and tracked down not minding the daunting challenges in the mission including hundreds of land mines and difficult terrain of the Sambisa forest. It should be noted however that the essence of this operation is not to kill everybody in sight.
We encourage any of the combatants who are desirous to surrender to come out, as the forest will no more be tenable as a haven for their activities.
In the same vein, innocent civilians among those in flight are also encouraged to report themselves to the troops. We will continue to treat civilians in the most professional and humane way. We thank all Nigerians for their continued prayers and support and assure them that Never Again shall forces of darkness reign supreme in our country.
CHRIS OLUKOLADE Major General Director Defence Information April 30, 2015.”