The Defence Headquarters on Thursday said that the military has launched a “Specialised Campaign” to combat insurgents in the northeastern part of the country.
The campaign is being carried out simultaneously in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states – three states which are under state of emergency to curb the Boko Haram insurgency – to apprehend the terrorists and ensure that they do not escape out of Nigeria.
Also, the Defence Headquarters confirmed that troops killed six Boko Haram fighters and captured two others after attacking Michika in Adamawa State on Wednesday.
One soldier and three civilians died in the encounter with the sect’s fighters.
Defence Headquarters (DHQ) spokesperson, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade spoke in Abuja.
Gen. Olukolade said: “The purpose of this briefing is to intimate you with the elevation of counter-terrorism campaign in the country.
“The new approach marks another phase in the operations designed to further contain the terrorists and their activities.
“The specialised campaign, which has commenced, is being undertaken simultaneously in Yobe, Borno and Adamawa states. This operation is also in furtherance of efforts at apprehending the terrorists and ensuring they do not escape out of Nigeria as they are now so desperate to do”.
On the recent massacre of scores of students of the Federal Government College Buni-Yadi, Gujba LGA of Yobe State, Olukolade said, “The Defence Headquarters acknowledges with grave concern the recent mindless killing of innocent school children and other citizens in towns and villages following terrorist activities in some parts of the Northeast.
“The dastardly act has expectedly attracted the reaction of well-meaning individuals who have been condemning the senseless bloodletting.
“Disturbing as this trend proves, the fact remains that the chilling episodes are simply typical of terrorists’ intention to intimidate the people into subscribing to their false claim to invincibility.
“This distressing situation notwithstanding, it must be pointed out that the current activities of the terrorist groups are actually at best a reaction to the renewed offensive against the terror outfit whose operatives had infiltrated the country to support their hitherto depleted membership and counterparts in their daring acts to reinvent relevance by embarking on renewed attacks on soft targets”.
He also gave an insight into the sect’s attack on Michika on Wednesday night.
He said: “Unfortunately, however, they have in the course of their flight towards various borders, continued to perpetrate mayhem as noticed in some parts of Adamawa State yesterday night where they attacked communities.
“In desperation for money and food, they looted and burnt banks, shops and filling stations along their way through Michika as they headed for Cameroon border.
“Six of their fighters were killed, two captured while nine of their vehicles were destroyed. One soldier and three civilians also died in the encounter.
“It is believed that those involved in this latest attacks are the elements that perpetrated the mayhem against students of Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State and other places.
“They have been holed up and are still engaged in suicidal fighting, apparently with a view to attaining martyrdom status, as troops close in on the die-hard ones among them”.
The Defence spokesperson pleaded with Nigerians in insurgency prone areas to report suspicious movements to security agencies.
He said: “Citizens in these states, particularly towards border areas, are requested to assist the security forces by reporting any movement of the group, if noticed in their locality, as it would further enhance the operations as well as assist in apprehending or eliminating them. All things being equal, the activities of this murderous group will be further degraded towards total elimination shortly.
“Citizens are enjoined to show understanding of the situation and continue to cooperate with the security forces, especially with vital and timely information on the movements of these terrorists to enable quick response accordingly”.