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Military on new offensive against Boko Haram

The Nigerian military on Thursday announced a new “elevated” phase of its counter terrorism campaign designed to further contain the Boko Haram terrorists and their activities in the country.

Nigerian Defence spokesman, Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, told journalists here that the new campaign is also in furtherance of efforts at apprehending the Boko Haram terrorists who have been attacking “innocent civilians and students' and ensuring they (terrorists) do not escape out of Nigeria as they are now so desperate to do. 

Gen. Olukolade also confirmed that in Thursday’s pre-dawn attack in villages around Michika in the northern Adamawa State, six Boko Haram fighters were killed and two captured.

He added that one soldier and three civilians were killed in the encounter while nine of the four-wheel drive vehicles used in the attack were destroyed.

Calling the new anti-terror and anti-insurgency operations “specialized”, Nigeria’s joint-service headquarters, Defence Headquarters said the campaign has commenced simultaneously in the three North Eastern States under emergency rule - Yobe, Borno and Adamawa.

Gen. Olokolade noted that the dastardly act of killing innocent students is “simply typical of terrorists’ intention to intimidate the people into subscribing to their false claim to invincibility.

He said: “This distressing situation notwithstanding, it must be pointed out that the current activity of the terrorist group is 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.”

Gen. Olukolade regretted that as the Boko Haram fighters flee towards various borders (between Nigerian and neighbouring countries), they continued to perpetrate mayhem as noticed in some parts of Adamawa state Wednesday 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 the Cameroonian border.

'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. 

“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,' he added.

Pana 28/02/2014