Nigerian military intensifies airstrikes on Gwoza, Bama – DHQ

Nigerian military intensifies airstrikes
on Gwoza, Bama – DHQ

The Nigerian military has stepped up
air strikes on Gwoza and Bama,
Borno State, ahead of possible
invasion by troops aiming to retake
the two towns seized by the insurgent
group, Boko Haram, last year, the
defence headquarters said Monday.

Government forces have made some
gains in the last two weeks in the
fight against Boko Haram militants,
retaking some key towns from them
and pushing to eject the group from
their strongholds in the North East.

Gwoza and Bama are the two most
important towns still under Boko
Haram control, after the military
announced Saturday it had recaptured
Baga, a fishing community near Lake
Chad. The military had earlier in the
week retaken Monguno, also in
Borno State.

Reports from the frontlines are
difficult to independently verify.
The military said Monday with the
airstrikes, it was preparing for “other
phases of the mission”, likely, a full
invasion of the areas still controlled
by the extremists, who are
responsible for more than 15,000
deaths.

“Meanwhile, in furtherance of the
mission to clear terrorists from all
their enclaves by the military, the
Nigerian Air Force has stepped up its
air bombardment of identified targets
in Gwoza, Bama and Sambisa forest,
preparatory to other phases of the
mission,” a statement by
spokesperson, Mr. Olukolade, said.

He said the airstrikes were
successful.
The Defence Spokesperson said,
“Having successfully liberated Baga
where the terrorists have been
marauding, the troops’ attention has
now been focused on consolidation of
the security of the area to pave way
for return of citizens”.

The Nigerian government and the
military had been humiliated by Boko
Haram’s rapid successes in 2014,
with widespread criticism over the
government’s handling of the war.

The military has now pledged to
reclaim all seized territories, a vow
affirmed weekend by President
Goodluck Jonathan, who himself has
been scathingly criticised ahead of
elections in March.

The military said Monday its cordon
and operation in Baga showed that
some of the Boko Haram terrorists
now disguise as women in an attempt
to escape.

The statement said the search has resulted in the
recovery of arms hidden in various locations.
Mr. Olukolade said apart from terrorists captured
during the fight, those hiding in the town have also
been arrested. He added that troops were
interrogating these suspects.

Newsweb

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