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Despite attacks, army tightens the noose on Boko Haram — Buratai




The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, says in spite of pocket of attacks by remnant of Boko Haram terrorists in Borno North, the army is tightening the noose on them.

Buratai, therefore, urged Nigerians and people of the region in particularly not to panic as those attacks do not signal resurgence of insurgency as being insinuated in some quarters.

He spoke in an interaction session with journalists at Mongunu after he personally monitored and coordinated onslaught against the insurgents locked in between troops’ locations in the area.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the recent attacks recorded in the area, particularly at Damasak, headquarters of 145 Battalion and Gudumbali community, were mainly targeted at troops and their locations.

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While the insurgents attacked Gudumbali on September 7, they attacked Damasak on September 11, shortly after the army chief left the location.

The attacks were believed to have been carried out by a faction of the terrorist group led by Al-Barnawi, which had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in West Africa.

Unlike the Abubakar Shekau faction, the Al-Barnawi faction targets military and its locations and not soft target (civilians).

Buratai explained that the terrorists carried out those attacks as the noose was being tightened around them, coupled with the fact of their knowledge of the terrain in those areas.

He noted that this was so, given that not much attention has been paid to Borno North in the last two years due to the fight against insurgency and terrorism.

“The Nigerian army is now consolidating in northern part of Borno. You will agree with me that for almost two years, we have not paid attention to northern Borno, until about last year – 2017, when we directed our focus to this area.

“We were most concern with our efforts in southern and Central Borno, and very little in the north.

“But now that we have given attention to northern Borno, especially the Lake Chad basin, we have seen the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists coming up.

“We have seen their reactions to the way we have been dealing with them. All those attacks were as a result of closing in on them that our troops are doing.

“We will tighten the noose around their logistics bases. But they are taking advantage of their knowledge of the terrain to move in between our troops’ deployment,’’ he said.

Buratai said the recent attacks on troops’ locations at Damasak and Gudumbali only serve to strengthen the army in terms of intelligence capability, firepower and ability to withstand challenges.

He, however, expressed concern about the difficult terrain of the area coupled with the poor condition of roads leading to the communities.

(NAN)

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