The Nigerian Army on Friday said it had reclaimed all territories earlier ransacked by Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.
A ruling APC chieftain, Buba Galadima, had recently told the Guardian that seven local government areas of Borno State are still under the control of Boko Haram.
The deputy director, Army Public Relations, Onyema Nwachukwu, countered Mr Galadima’s claims in a statement issued in Maiduguri.
Mr Nwachukwu, a colonel, dismissed as ‘misleading’, reports indicating that seven of the 27 local government areas of Borno State were still under Boko Haram control.
He described the insinuation as an attempt to propagate falsehood and a futile effort to misinform members of the public on the true security situation in the North-East.
Mr Nwachukwu said that the armed forces under the Operation Lafiya Dole had recorded significant successes in the counter insurgency operation and had rooted out the insurgents from their major tactical enclave in Sambisa forest and their spiritual headquarters at Alagarno.
“It is very crucial to set the record straight by making it crystal clear that contrary to this misleading report, the Boko Haram terrorists do not hold or control any Local Government Area in Borno or in the North-East as claimed by some elements.
“Local government areas hitherto controlled by Boko Haram have been liberated by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.
“The troops have continued to ensure security in the liberated areas after routing out the insurgents.
“Displaced persons are also encouraged to return to their communities, to resume their normal life,” he said.
Mr Nwachukwu explained that the military had conducted various operations to enhance their operations, decimate the insurgents’ group and protect the nation’s territorial integrity.
The colonel listed the exercises to include Operations DEEP PUNCH, CHIKIN GUDU and RAWAN KADA, adding that the operations were conducted in collaboration with the Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF.
“These operations culminated in the degradation and incapacitation of Boko Haram insurgents.
“Apparently, this is the reason the insurgents are striving to remain relevant by resorting to callous use of women and children to carry out suicide bomb attacks on soft and vulnerable targets,” he said.
Mr Nwachukwu stressed that the army had initiated precursor operations to put a final onslaught to the insurgency in the North-East.
He noted that a special Mobile Strike Force was launched in the theatre of operations to effectively patrol localities as well as seek out and neutralise the insurgents from their hideouts.
“Recently, a total of 82 Boko Haram insurgents were killed in combat and 630 remote settlements cleared by troops.
“Our troops are tirelessly on the trail of the fleeing insurgents as devastating coordinated aerial and artillery bombardments are being unleashed on the terrorist group.
“The troops are therefore not waiting only to repel attacks as erroneously painted, but rather tactically deployed to deny the adversaries freedom of action and access to logistics.
“The insurgents are on the run and could not hold or control any territory. Boko Haram lacks the capability to hold any territory in the North-East”.
Mr Nwachukwu reiterated the commitment of the military to end insurgency, protect lives and property as well as protect national territorial integrity.
He urged members of the public not be misguided by the misinformation and cooperate with security agencies.