The 48-hour ultimatum given by the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Ibrahim Attahiru, to Nigerian troops to liberate Marte and other towns seized by the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno State is fast elapsing.
But military sources told PRNigeria that the terrorists’ infiltration of the civilian population in Marte is preventing the military Air Task Force from launching aerial bombardments to avoid collateral damages.
According to the source, after Mr Attahiru’s directive, Nigerian troops have successfully destroyed several mines laid on their paths by terrorists.
“The troops have de-mined some communities and villages on the major routes to Marte,” the source added.
Recall that Maj. Gen. Attahiru, on Sunday, issued a 48-hour dateline for troops to clear terrorists from Marte and adjoining villages, including Kirenowa, kirta, Wulgo, Chikingudo communities of in Borno State.
The COAS who undertook a surprise operational visit to Dikwa to commend Commanders and troops for protecting the town, had assured them of the needed support to carry out the task, which he said must be done within 48 hours.
PRNigeria also gathered that the General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Army, Major General Abdul- Khalifa, commended commanders and troops in that axis for thwarting the attempt by terrorists to takeover Dikwa.
While coordinating a massive military operation in the Sambisa Forest, General Abdul Khalifa had quickly mobilized reinforcement from different military units to protect Dikwa.
He also led other troops immediately to the town to ensure safety of the citizens and large numbers of IDPs from the advancing terrorists. One of the Commanders that led the successful Dikwa Operation included the Garrison Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig Gen. Abubakar Haruna with fighting troops from Gulumba.
A military intelligence source told PRNigeria that, the troops, who were spurred by Attahiru’s marching directive, have already demobilized several mines as they pushed further in the axis.
“Our troops, more than ever before, are committed to dealing with terrorists in the North-East.
They have since, after the COAS’ charge, swung into action, with a view to liberating Marte and some adjoining communities.
“The terrorists’ attacks have not dampened their morale in any way. Troops in Dikwa have also not been distracted. At the moment, we are intensifying our intelligence gathering mechanism to uncover terrorists’ informants,” he said.