The presidency says Boko Haram insurgents are now weaker, as the security situation in the north-east has improved since the Muhammadu Buhari administration came into office.
The country has been facing security challenges, but in a checklist to mark the January 15 Armed Forces Remembrance Day, the presidency said the situation has improved across all the regions in Nigeria.
According to the checklist signed by Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, military operations in the country have yielded positive results.
“Boko Haram is much weaker today than in 2015, as attested to by the governor of Borno state on December 6, 2020,” the statement reads.
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“200 kidnapped victims rescued by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole. A total of 1,385 rounds of ammunition, 45 grenades as well as 95 assorted rifles were recovered from BHT/ISWAP fighters. In addition, several gun trucks were captured, while some others were destroyed during air strikes. 1,805 insurgents/terrorists including commanders were killed by the troops aside scores killed by air raids/attacks. Additionally, within the period, a total of 79 arrests were made including high value targets.
“Troops of Operations Safe Haven, Whirl Stroke and Thunder Strike rescued a total of 130 kidnapped victims, and 105 assorted rifles as well as 513 rounds of ammunition and 1,055 rustled cattle were recovered from armed bandits and other criminal elements in the zone. 1,250 criminals, including family members of the Darul Salam sect, were arrested within the period. Furthermore, troops neutralised a total of 125 armed bandits including militia gang leaders.”
The presidency said the armed forces, specifically in the north-east, has, since 2015, recorded significant achievements in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria.
The first actions of the Buhari administration, it said, included the “revitalisation of the multi-national joint task force comprising Nigeria and her neighbours; relocation of the military command and control centre to Maiduguri in June 2015; launch of Operation Lafiya Dole in July 2015″.
Adesina noted that since then, several towns and villages have been reclaimed from Boko Haram, while thousands of hostages have been freed from insurgents’ enclaves, just as “tens of thousands” of displaced persons have been resettled.
He added that the federal government is investing heavily in military hardware, including 23 new aircraft that have already been delivered and inducted into service, while another 18 manned aircraft and eight unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs) are being awaited in 2021/2022.
The presidential spokesman also listed various military operations launched in January — including Operation Tura Takaibango and Taimako Yazo — as part of efforts to tackle insecurity in the country.
“The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) on 2 January, 2021, conducted a Joint Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Special Forces (SF) and Air Police K-9 Simulation Exercise (JCSAEX) at Rijana Village along Kaduna-Abuja Highway,” the list reads.
“The Exercise, code named ‘Taimako Yazo’, was aimed at simulating tactics, doctrine and synergy amongst first responders for effective CSAR operations of downed aircrew or other NAF personnel who have had to eject or abandon their aircraft in emergency situations.
“The ability to rescue crew from hostile environments is particularly important as it can be adapted for anti-kidnapping operations, as was recently done by the NAF in concert with other security agencies in the rescue of all the 344 kidnapped boys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.
“The Air Force will conduct a total of six of these exercises between January and June 2021, mostly in the north-west, particularly in Zamfara and Katsina states.”