By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – The Nigerian Army troops of Operation Lafiya Dole in conjunction with the Air Task Force have dealt deadly blow to Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists on Dec. 22 in a failed attempt to infiltrate Damaturu, the Yobe State Capital.
The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
Iliyasu said that the troops engaged the terrorists along Gashua Road in the outskirts of Damaturu in a fire fight with the support of Air Task Force leading to heavy casualty on the side of the terrorists in both men and equipment.
According to him, it is confirmed that a top ISWAP Commander, Abu Muqhtar, believed to have coordinated several attacks along the fringes of Lake Chad was neutralised along with over 30 other insurgents in the attack.
“Regrettably, 2 gallant soldiers were wounded in action during the encounter. The wounded personnel are currently receiving treatment and responding positively at a military medical facility.
“In the aftermath of the encounter, troops captured one Gun Truck and destroyed two others.
“Troops equally captured 561 Rounds of 12.7mm ammunition, 1420 Rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 1850 Rounds of 7.62mmX51 ammunition and 2 Rocket Propelled Gun bombs.
“Other items captured by the gallant troops include, one Hand Held Communication Radio, 27 sachets of Meal Ready to Eat wraps and 350 liters of Premium Motor Spirit (Petrol),” he said.
Iliyasu also disclosed that the troops of 331 Artillery Regiment carried out artillery bombardment on Boko Haram insurgents with heavy casualty on Dec. 23 around Mandara Girau in Biu Local Government Area.
He added that troops of 121 Task Force Battalion deployed at Pulka in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno also thwarted another Boko Haram attack in their location with devastating consequence on the marauding criminals.
According to him, after the encounter, four Boko Haram criminals including one suicide bomber were neutralised while others are believed to have escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.
“In a related development, troops of Sector one deployed at Gwoza conducted a robust clearance operation deep into Sambisa Forest on Dec. 23.
“The rugged troops cleared Banari, Keluri, Usmanti and Jowlori Villages all of Gwoza LGA and captured two of the criminal Boko Haram insurgents alive, rescued nine women and nine children.
“The rescued children were immediately administered with Polio vaccine before being evaluated to safety.
“The troops equally recovered several items from the terrorists including 8 rounds of Anti-Aircraft Gun ammunition, 14 ammunition projectiles, one ammunition projectile for Shilka and nine rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition.
“Other items recovered are, one Black Boko Haram flag, some quantities of drugs, clothing, wires, bandolier and one dane gun,” he said.
Iliyasu further disclosed that the troops of Headquarters 19 Brigade defeated insurgent’s ambush between Gajigana and Tungushe in Magumeri Local Government Area while on a fighting patrol.
He said that two Boko Haram criminals strapped with Improvised Explosive Device jackets were neutralised during the encounter, adding that one AK47 rifle was recovered from the insurgents.
According to him, troops of 112 Task Force Battalion deployed at Ajiri in Mafa Local Government Area equally dealt a devastating blow on some marauding Boko Haram criminals mounted on four gun trucks and motorcycles.
“Nevertheless, four Boko Haram criminals were neutralized; one of them clad in suicide vest.
“One Gun Truck, one Anti-Aircraft Gun, 41 Rounds of Anti-Aircraft Gun ammunition, 68 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition NATO, one AK 47 rifle, one AK 47 rifle magazine, were captured from the insurgents.
“Other items captured include one Baofeng Hand Held radio, some quantities of Boko Haram uniforms and warm clothing,” he added.
The spokesperson further disclosed that a Joint Tactical Team deployed to Borno and Yobe States apprehended one Mohammed Aliyu, a suspected ISWAP spy and logistics supplier at Mega Zaleri area of Konduga.
He said that preliminary investigation revealed series of communications between the suspect, Modu Sulum and Abu Qaqa, high profile ISWAP Commanders on the wanted list of the Nigerian Army.
According to him, during preliminary interrogation, the suspect confessed to have been informing ISWAP of Military and Nigeria Police movements and deployments.
“He further added that he uses donkeys for shipment of items he supplies to ISWAP as a deception to evade security checks.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, extends his goodwill message to the troops and further admonishes them to remain resolute in finishing the remnants of the criminal elements,” he said.