The immediate past Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Ibrahim Attahiru, has said that the army operations in the troubled North-east under his leadership eliminated five top Boko Haram leaders alongside 70 other terrorists in several confrontations.
He made the disclosure on Monday while handing over the baton of leadership to a new commander, Rogers Nicholas, in Borno State.
Mr. Attahiru, a major general, who took over the command of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North-east in May 2017 was removed on December 6.
However, despite Mr. Attahiru’s assertions of degrading the capabilities of the terrorists, attacks appear to have increased since he assumed duties with several suicide bombings, mostly by teenage girls, occurring between May and December particularly.
“I must say that since I assumed duty as the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole on May 30 2017, it has been very eventful operationally and administratively, particularly coming at a time when Boko Haram Terrorists, BHT, who, having been technically defeated and could no longer conduct sustained operations against own troops, resorted largely to engaging in terrorism-related activities.
“I carried out a quick evaluation of the operational situation of the theatre, resulting in the crucial decision to swiftly conduct the clearance operations that neutralised identified immediate threats posed by remnants of Boko Haram terrorists who were still seeking refuge in some remote areas within the Theatre, particularly in the fringes of the North-eastern international borders,” he said.
Mr. Attahiru said that combined efforts of land and air components denied the Boko Haram insurgents liberty to carry out attacks.
“This evaluation, also identified the need for each of the three sectors in the Theatre of operation to immediately establish Fire Support Coordination Cell, FSCC, which were employed continuously to degrade the Boko Haram terrorists in their enclaves and staging areas.
“These FSCC carried out artillery and aerial bombardments in conjunction with the Air Component of Operation Lafiya Dole on isolated BHT enclaves killing several Boko Haram terrorists and destroying their logistic base.
“Another upshot of the evaluation is the creation of dugouts along BHT crossing points to deny the group freedom of action and stem the conduct of their nefarious activities”, he said.
He said that operational support provided to troops of Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF, during Operation RAWAN KADA in June 2017, led to the killing of over 70 Boko Haram terrorists and the capture of assorted automatic weapons.
Mr. Attahiru also highlighted how a military operation with the code name “Operation Deep Punch 2” he championed in the North-east led to the surrender of many Boko Haram members and killings of others.
“The period also witnessed the Operation DEEP PUNCH 2 which orchestrated series of precursor operations, including clearance operations, long-range fighting patrols, ambushes, blocking operations as well as cordon and search operations.
“Suffice to note that during the operations, five high profile Boko Haram commanders and many foot soldiers were killed, while many other members of the group surrendered owing to the effectiveness of the operations”, he said.
He listed other achievements off the battlefield recorded by him.
“Non-kinetic operations were also conducted through coordinated media and information operations that led to the surrender of 72 Boko Haram terrorists, who were immediately inducted into Operation Safe Corridor”, he said.