The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, says the Boko Haram terrorists are being contained with the recent renewed joint military offensive against them in Northern Borno and border areas.
Mr Buratai, a lieutenant-general, said the offensive had pushed them to the remote Islands on the Lake Chad basin.
Represented by Lamidi Adeosun, the Chief of Training and Operations, the chief of army staff disclosed this in an interview with newsmen at Monguno in Borno North after celebrating the Easter with troops.
He said the containment of the terrorists was made possible by joint operations by troops of the Lake Chad Basin countries, including the Multinational Joint Task Force – MNJTF.
“You will discover that the Boko Haram terrorists are now lurking around the borders, especially the dangerous and inaccessible areas of the Tumbun and Islands (of Lake Chad).’’
“And the best way to handle them is to have concentration of forces,’’ he said.
On the ongoing joint operations between Nigerian and Chadian troops in Northern Borno, Buratai said that the coming of the Chadians had given a boost to troops and equipment concentration in the area.
He said that this was necessary to route the terrorists from their hiding places in the Islands.
Earlier, while addressing troops of Sector 3 of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Buratai expressed satisfaction that they had turned the tide against the terrorists, adding that it was no longer business for them as usual.
“I urge you not to relent; you must continue to heat the iron now that our iron is very, very red so that we can beat the iron to the shape that we all like.
“You must maintain the momentum; we must never ever allow the reverse to be the case again. Now that we are moving, we must continue to move.
“Now, we are pursuing, we must continue to pursue, we are on the offensive, we should never withdraw to defensive position.
“You must remain bold and continue to do all that it takes to take the power, life and breath out of Boko Haram,’’ the army chief charged the troops.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that Buratai also visited the Chadian troops deployed alongside their Nigerian counterparts for a joint operation at Cross Kauwa, the Headquarters of Sector 2 of Operation Lafiya Dole.
In an address, he commended them for their zeal, courage and commitment, saying that they were not only working for the safety of Nigeria and their country, but humanity.
He described the Chadian troops as brave soldiers, and assured them that their requirement in terms of logistics would be provided.
While he prayed for the repose of soul of personnel among them that had paid the supreme sacrifice, he also prayed for quick recovery of those wounded in action.
Col. Bokit Ali Dijar, the Commander of Chadian troops in the sector, expressed happiness that countries in the Lake Chad basin were working in unity to tackle the Boko Haram menace which he described as a common enemy.
Ali Dijar thanked Buratai for the visit, saying that they were honoured by the gesture.
He also lauded the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Benson Akinroluyo and Brig.-Gen. O.T. Akinjobi, the Commander Sector 3, for always meeting their request.
NAN also reports that on April 18, troops of the MNJTF killed 39 Boko terrorists, captured many equipment from them as they attempted to attack military position at Cross Kauwa.
Cross Kauwa is located in Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno.
Between December 2018 and January 2019 a faction of Boko Haram led by Al Barnawi and Islamic State West African Province or ISWAP infiltrated Baga and surrounding towns, including Cross Kauwa and attacked military positions.
They were, however, pushed out by sustained ground and air offensives after a few days.