The Nigerian Army has said troops of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD) have eliminated 13 top commanders and scores of fighters of Islamic States West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in Borno State.
Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Yerima, Director, Army Public Relations, in a statement on Friday, said that the feat was achieved by well-coordinated operations of both air and land troops.
This is coming after the state governor, Babagana Zulum, revealed on Friday, that 18 residents of Damasak were killed and 21 others injured by the terrorists during the attack in Mobbar Local Government Area of the state.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Yerima said that several terrorists had met their waterloo while attempting to overrun Damasak and adjoining communities.
He disclosed that a senior ISWAP commander, known as Bukar Fitchmeram, also known as Abu Aisha, and scores of his fighters, who were on a revenge mission at Damasak, fell to the firepower of the troops on Thursday.
He stated that the terrorists were neutralised as they made a come-back, following the killing of 12 high-value ISWAP commanders in Mobbar local government in a week-long air and ground operations by Nigerian troops.
According to him, in a well-coordinated ground bombardments and aerial strikes by the Nigerian military on various locations in the North-east, the terrorists, who were denied any sanctuary or respite, desperately conducted two separate failed attacks on Gajiram and Damasak.
“The deadly air strikes conducted on Tudun Wulgo, Zari and Tumbun Alhaji, Kusuma, Sigir in Ngala and Arijallamari, in Abadam, Marte and Ngala Local Government Areas, led to the killing of top ISWAP leaders.
“The terrorist commanders that perished in the airstrikes included; Mohammad Fulloja , Ameer Mallam Bello, Ba’a kaka Tunkushe, Abu Al -Ansari, Ameer Abba Kaka, Abu Huzaifa, Ameer Modu Kwayem, while Goni Mustapha, who was the Chief Imam of the ISWAP escaped with bullet wounds.
“Troops’ artillery bombardment and airstrikes on April 6 also resulted in the elimination of two top ISWAP leaders including Abu-Rabi and Muhammed Likita as well as scores of their troops and bodyguards around the axis of Kusuma, Sigir in Ngala and Arijallamari in Abadam local government areas.
“The terrorists’ storage facilities that housed weapons used to conduct several attacks were also targeted and destroyed in the air raid by the Air Component of Operation Lafita Dole.
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“On the night of Saturday, April 10, three other terrorist commanders including Ameer Umar, Abu Ubaida and Abu Salim were ambushed and killed by troops around Wulgo/ Logomani axis close to Cameroon borders while attempting to attack locals and rustle their cows,” he said.
Yerima further disclosed that the devastating airstrikes and artillery bombardment on the ISWAP camps had pushed the surviving elements to conduct desperate attacks and looting missions for food and drugs for their wounded colleagues.
He said that the military bombardments conducted on April 11, also eliminated scores of ISWAP/Boko Haram terrorists on five gun trucks in Damasak.
According to him, some of the terrorists were hit close to the perimeter fencing, while others were neutralised during an attempt to loot food items in a store belonging to the United Nations, as well as drugs and ambulance.
He added that three soldiers and some civilians lost their lives, while property was burnt in the town.
According to him, troops’ fighting spirit remains high in spite of the nefarious activities of some local informants who often tip the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists on troops’ movements and positions.