Soldier Dies As Troops Battle Boko Haram …Nigerian Troops Retake Baga In Borno

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L-R: Representative of the General Officer Commanding 82 Divison of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Lasisi Adegboye, Deputy Governor of Enugu State, Mrs Cecilia Ezeilo, Chief Judge of Enugu State, Mrs Priscilia Emehelu, and Chairman of Nigerian Legion, Enugu State Council, Mr Emeka Igwesi, during the 2019 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Emblems Appeal Week in Enugu, yesterday.

The Islamic State of West Africa Province,ISWAP, affiliate of Boko Haram, killed a senior army officer engaged in Operation Lafiya Dole. The officer was killed during a clearance operations carried out by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole,the Nigerian Army said, yesterday.
Also,one soldier was killed just as five others sustained injuries during the raid carried out by the troops to clear Zare, Gudumbali, Kukawa and areas of the state of the terrorists.
But the Nigerian Army, which disclosed this in a statement by its spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman, said the troops made a significant inroad in the fight against the terrorism in the country as they killed several terrorists without resistance from the latter.
Usman, who did not state when it happened, said the remains of the two fallen heroes and the wounded have since been evacuated
“The injured soldiers are in stable condition and receiving medical attention. The troops are now busy consolidating and clearing vestiges of the terrorists within the northern Borno State axis with special emphasis on the Lake Chad region,”he said in the statement.
“The Special Forces attained these great strides in close operational synergy with Air Task Force of the Nigerian Air Force who gave Intelligence and close air support by bombarding the ISWAP terrorists. The outstanding and dare devil exploits of the NAF’s pilots gave more courage and fire power to the troops. Similarly, the Nigerian Navy Special Forces were not left out of this gallant efforts,”it explained.
The statement,as released, read thus:”In the determined efforts to wipe out remnants of Boko Haram terrorists that now goes by the appellation of Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), the gallant troops of the newly formed Nigerian Army Special Forces Command (NASFC), Operation Lafiya Dole, have given the terrorists that attacked troops location in Baga a bloody nose. “The triumphant troops, particularly the highly revered 707 Special Forces Brigade which is the vanguard of the great exploit, dealt the decisive blow that neutralised several terrorists along that axis despite prior warning to them by some unpatriotic elements.
“The Special Forces commenced clearance operations on 28th December 2018, where they cleared Zare, Gudumbali, Kukawa and Cross Kauwa without any resistance from suspected terrorists. “However, at Cross Kauwa, the unfortunate ISWAP terrorists made a costly mistake of raising their ugly heads. “In professional fashion the troops exploited the situation to instantly and decisively neutralise the insurgents and captured some equipment.
“Though some of the terrorists attempted to infiltrate troops camp at Monguno, the gallant troops lured them and neutralised many of them and recovered some arms and ammunition.
“The troops who are in high spirit had since linked up with other forces in Baga where they cleared the Naval Base and the surrounding areas. “
Unfortunately, in the process, the Special Forces lost one officer and a soldier, while 5 other soldiers sustained injuries.
“The remains of the two fallen heroes and the wounded have since been evacuated. The injured soldiers are in stable condition and receiving medical attention. The troops are now busy consolidating and clearing vestiges of the terrorists within the northern Borno State axis with special emphasis on the Lake Chad region.
“The Special Forces attained these great strides in close operational synergy with Air Task Force of the Nigerian Air Force who gave Intelligence and close air support by bombarding the ISWAP terrorists. The outstanding and dare devil exploits of the NAF’s pilots gave more courage and fire power to the troops. Similarly, the Nigerian Navy Special Forces were not left out of this gallant efforts.”
Meanwhile, Nigerian troops were back in a strategic town on the shores of Lake Chad, military and civilian sources said yesterday, after Boko Haram attacks forced tens of thousands to flee.
Fighters from the self-styled Islamic State West Africa Province overran a naval base and another housing troops from a regional force in and around Baga late last month.
The UN has said more than 30,000 people had since sought refuge in the garrison town of Monguno and the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, as the military prepared a fight-back.
A military officer in Maiduguri said: “Our soldiers entered Baga yesterday evening (Wednesday). They are in total control of the town and the terrorists had fled.
“They entered the town at about 7:00 pm (1800 GMT) after taking control of Kuros-Kauwa, which is 15 kilometres (nearly 10 miles) from the town,” he told AFP.
The development was confirmed by a resident, who like the officer asked not to be identified for security reasons.
“I left Baga at about 5:30 pm and I met a huge military convoy heading to the town from Kuros-Kauwa,” said the local man.
“They entered Baga unchallenged. Boko Haram fighters had not been staying the night in Baga since they learnt soldiers were preparing to launch a massive attack.”
Some buildings, including the homes of local politicians, chiefs and community leaders, were burnt down in Baga and neighbouring Doron Baga.
A hospital, clinic and schools were razed, as was the naval base in Fish Dam, he added.
There was no immediate comment from the army when contacted by our correspondent.
Baga and Doron Baga have been attacked repeatedly since the insurgency began in 2009. Overall more than 27,000 people have been killed and 1.8 million others are still homeless.
Hundreds of people, if not more, were killed in an attack on the two towns that began on January 3, 2015 that was feared to have been the worst attack in the nearly 10-year conflict.
Security has improved since then as a result of a sustained counter-insurgency but in recent months there have been indications of a resurgence.
Dozens of attacks on military facilities and soldiers have been blamed on or claimed by ISWAP, which split from the faction led by Abubakar Shekau in mid-2016.
On Wednesday, jihadists attacked military positions near Bulabulin village in the Konduga area of Borno, and nearby Delwa but were pushed back, sources said.
Soldiers last Sunday raided the Daily Trust offices in Maiduguri, arresting two reporters and seizing equipment after it reported on pending operations to retake Baga.
Yesterday, the army said Boko Haram fighters had told residents to leave their homes in villages near Maiduguri.
Civilian militia said earlier this week Boko Haram told people in Jakana and Mainok to flee as they were going to launch a major attack.
There was no indication they had done so but on Wednesday troops stepped up stop and search operations on the main road that passes through both locations.
Army spokesman Onyema Nwachukwu described the latest threats as “psychological war” and urged residents to report suspicious activity.