Troops of the Nigerian Army are leaving no stone unturned and will continue to chase and arrest the leader of the insurgent Boko Haram sect, Abubakar Shekau, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, has said.
Mr Buratai said there has been a lot of success recorded in the ongoing fight against insurgency in the Nigeria’s northeast region, despite the challenges of inadequate military personnel at the battlefield.
The army chief, who spoke with the BBC Hausa service in London and monitored in Abuja, also revealed that about 2,500 personnel currently in the northeast are to be taken out of the region and replaced with others.
“As we speak, there are about 2,500 soldiers that are about to be taken out of the northeast and they are to be replaced with others. If you look at the landmass of northeast, compare it with when we fought civil war in southeast, all the states that make southeast, the old states, not the present states, if you put them together they cannot match Borno and Yobe landmass.
“At that time, they fought with about 250,000 soldiers, but now we are not even up to 50,000 in Borno and Yobe. We need more personnel,” he said.
Asked whether the inadequate number of the personnel was the reason behind the dragging on of the fight, Mr Buratai said “we have recorded a lot of success. What happens now is not based on the number of soldiers or hardware but the tactic and strategy of the operations.
“Other things like the personnel’s welfare, which we are according it a top priority, also helps in the success; their training also. That is why any soldier posted to the area must receive a special training and that has also helped.
But despite the success, Nigerians could only agree with the said success when the sect’s leader was arrested, which Mr Buratai agreed.
“They are right. And we are leaving no stone unturned in seeing that we arrest the Boko Haram leader, Shekau. It needs patience and requires us to continue to advance to their strongholds.
“I don’t need to reveal what we are doing towards that. People should be patient. It does not only involves the army alone. Other security outfits equally have roles. And we have been discussing with the police to return to the towns where residents have already returned. That will give our personnel the chance to further pursue the insurgents,” he said.
The army chief, a lieutenant general, also said the incidences of suicide bombing would also be nipped in the bud, as they have continue to make progress in tracing their hide out, where they plan and the suicide attacks.
He appealed for patience from Nigerians