Nigerian troops recapture Bama from Boko Haram
After a six-month occupation, troops yesterday regained the control of Bama from Boko Haram insurgents.
The insurgents on September 2 last year seized the town, including a military barracks.
They hoisted their flags and imposed their rule on the indigenes.
The battle forced the Brigade Commander of Mohammed Kur Barracks, Police Area Commander, DPO, Commandant of MOPOL 53 and more than 500 troops in Bama to relocate to Maiduguri to re-strategise.
But the troops, backed by powerful air strikes, yesterday reclaimed Bama from Boko Haram.
A tweet by the Defence Headquarters said: “Nigerian troops this afternoon routed terrorists from Bama. Mopping up operation is ongoing.”
A defence headquarters source, who spoke in confidence, said: “Nigerian troops have taken over Bama. Official statement later today.
“This is one of the strongest bases of Boko Haram in the Northeast. It is a significant achievement for our troops. The insurgents had attempted to use Bama and Konduga to launch attacks on Maiduguri.”
Another source said: “For about three days, troops were locked in battle against Boko Haram insurgents until Monday afternoon when the military reclaimed the town, which is located in the South-East of Maiduguri.
“Most of the warlords of Boko Haram were born and bred in Bama. The regaining of the town has restored the pride of the Nigerian Army.
“For about six months, these rag-tag insurgents held sway in Bama, but we have routed them out.”
In September 2014, United States, through its Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Amb. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said it was troubled by the capture of Bama and some towns in Borno and Yobe states by Boko Haram.
But the DHQ said there was no cause for alarm because the military was on top of the situation.
The statement said: “In the light of the present challenges in the counter-terrorism efforts in the Northeast, which has elicited a sense of apprehension among citizens and even foreign allies, the DHQ wishes to reiterate the pledge and commitment it made while briefing the Joint Committee on Defence of the National Assembly to the effect that everything will be done to reverse the situation and defeat the terrorists.
“While welcoming the concerns shown by Nigerians and a section of the international community, following the increased menace and activities of terrorists, it is necessary to reassure all that the Nigerian Armed Forces is determined and committed to the defence of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria, regardless of any odd.
“It is not only the pride and reputation of the military that is at stake but that of the nation.
“We, therefore, urge our citizens not to lose hope or be disenchanted, but to remain steadfast and supportive of the military, as steps are being taken to ensure the success of the counter-insurgency operations, especially at this crucial time when our sovereignty is being challenged.
The Defence Headquarters said last night that troops survived many landmines to reclaim Bama from Boko Haram.
It said the mission was accomplished with “heavy casualty inflicted on the terrorists.”
The DHQ said Goniri, the last major stronghold of the terrorists operating in Yobe State, was on Monday morning taken over completely by troops after days of manoeuvre
The Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, in a statement on how Bama was liberated from Boko Haram, said: “Troops this afternoon finally succeeded in routing terrorists from Bama in Borno State.
“The mission, which was accomplished with massive casualty inflicted on the terrorists before the remnants finally fled the town, lasted days of careful manoeuvre and efforts to scale a series of obstacles and land mines planted by terrorists, who have occupied the town for months.
“The Chadian partners in the Multinational Joint Task Force have been mandated to undertake a pursuit of the terrorists, who are believed to be heading for the borders after being dislodged from Bama.
“Nigerian troops are continuing with cordon and search of the town and surroundings. Arms and ammunition are being recovered as troops conduct an aggressive patrol of the entire vicinity on the looking out for any terrorists, who may be stranded or trying to operate elsewhere in the area.”
The statement added: “In a related development, Goniri, the last major stronghold of the terrorists operating in Yobe State, was this morning taken over by troops after days of manoeuvre.
“Cordon and search is continuing in and around Goniri town, which is in the same local government with Buni Yadi where a bomb making facility was discovered in the course of cordon and search recently.
“This completes the clearing of Gujba Local Government Area, one of the two local governments occupied by the terrorists in Yobe State. The other local government, Gulani, was finally cleared earlier in the month. This makes Yobe the second to be successfully cleared among the three states slated for the mission to dislodge terrorists’ bases.
“The comprehensive offensive aimed at clearing the terrorists from all parts of the mission area is continuing with coordinated air strikes on identified terrorists hideouts and enclaves along with ground assaults.”