MAIDUGURI (Sundiata Post) – The Nigerian armed forces has in a final onslaught against the Boko Haram, deployed ground and aerial forces deep inside Sambisa Forest aimed at clearing the remaining terrorist enclaves and rescuing the hostages including the Chibok girls.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, disclosed this on Monday while fielding questions from journalists at the Military Command and Control Centre (MCCC), Maiduguri, Borno State.
Olonisakin, who was flanked by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, and Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said that the special operation, which has been ongoing for the past five days now was codenamed ‘Operation Crackdown’.
According to him, the visit of the service chiefs and other principal officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces, was to appraise the success of the onslaught and as well as address the challenges that might occur.
He said: “We are reappraising the operation that is ongoing. It started some days ago and we are here to appraise the level of performance of the operation. This is to actually see how we can address the issues we face in the operation.
“This operation is to actually clear out Sambisa, which is codenamed ‘Operation Crackdown’. The operation is on course and like I said, its five days gone now. The issues that are being encountered by the troops can be addressed so that the momentum can be sustained.”
Speaking further, Olonisakin admitted that one of the major challenges being encountered by the troops, are mines and Improved Explosive Devices (IEDs). He however, assured that the problem is being sorted out with a combination creative techniques and mine resistant equipment.
“We have the challenge of mines of course, and its an issue we have been grappling with since this operation. We have Counter-IEDs equipment we have deployed and other ingenious solutions that we put in place to ensure that operation goes as planned,” he revealed.
Speaking further on the Sambisa operation, the CDS said the major aim was to completely wipe out the remaining Boko Haram enclaves.
In addition, he said the operation was five-pronged, one of which is to rescue the Chibok girls and all the Boko Haram terrorists abductees.
He assured that the military was well determined to complete the operation of liberating not only the infamous forest and free the girls but to also ensure that every inch of Nigeria’s territory is freed from the terrorists.
He continued: “I want Nigerians to know that we are determined to wipe out terrorists from our land and from the Sambisa axis, we are going to make sure that we clear them as soon as possible. The rescue operation is also part of this ‘Operation Crackdown’ and will like to tell you that there are five simultaneous operations within these latest onslaught.
“So rescue is also part of the operations and anyone that has been abducted will be freed and of course including the Chibok girls. This operation like I said, is to clear the Sambisa forest, and we will take them after one another but this is one of a kind that if we clear the terrorists from that area, we get our territories back .”
Meanwhile, Olonisakin also noted that the military “are working with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that normalcy is returned to the liberated areas and I am sure you are aware about the Presidential Initiative for the North East”.
All these are initiatives, he said, are geared towards ensuring that peace is restored and people are returned back to their normal lives.
“We are also part of the reconstruction processes within the initiatives that have been put in place in the rebuilding of the North East,” he added.