The Nigerian army has killed 52 terrorists and imposed a curfew in a week-long offensive against fighters of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), in Askira Uba town in north east Borno.
Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director, Army Public Relations, announced on Monday in Abuja that four soldiers, including Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu, were killed during the counter-offensive intended to remove terrorists from Askira Uba area.
He added that the counter-offensive also led to the killing of top ISWAP commanders and many of their foot soldiers, and to the massive destruction of the terrorists’ Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle and several gun trucks.
According to General Nwachukwu, the troops of 25 Task Force Brigade, supported by Air Component, engaged the fleeing terrorists.
“Troops made contact with the fleeing terrorists at Leho village within Askira Uba LGA and eliminated scores of terrorists and destroyed their combat equipment in the encounter that ensued.
“The equipment destroyed by troops include, an MRAP vehicle and 11 Gun Trucks,” he said.
He added that “the troops also recovered large cache of arms and ammunition, five gun trucks, two Anti-Aircraft guns, five AK 47 rifles, one HK machine gun and one HK machine gun links.’’
The military reported that the troops also conducted a dawn exploitation towards Leho village and environs, where they found three dead terrorists and recovered 2,560 rounds of 7.62mm Special and 29 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition abandoned by the terrorists.
In a separate operation, troops recovered one AK 47 rifle and an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) during a patrol in Karawa village and Baga Fish Dam area, respectively.
“The IED has been safely detonated by a team of the Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit,” General Nwachukwu said.
Acting upon the intelligence that more terrorists could be moving around in the area, the military imposed a curfew to help control movements and contain any security threat.
“We got intelligence that ISWAP Fighters were moving towards a bridge East of Wamdeo and Roumirgou villages in Askira Uba Province. We also repelled their attempt on Monday at a remote village called Dille under Lassa. We are not taking chances as we are in combat-ready to deal with them,” the military said in a statement.
Nwachukwu further disclosed that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Faruk Yahaya, on Sunday led a team of top brass of the Nigerian Army to pay condolences to the families of the four soldiers who were killed in the battle.
The battle for peace in Nigeria’s North East started in 2009 when the Boko Haram struck in Borno, a state that shares borders with Chad and Cameroon.
The raging war has claimed more than 98,000 lives and caused the displacement of over six million people. It has also crippled infrastructure and agriculture as well as caused hardship for almost 40 million people in the Lake Chad region.
Although authorities say the Boko Haram terrorists have been technically defeated, the incursion of ISWAP is making the war increasingly more difficult.