The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. General Tukur Buratai has confirmed that Baga town is still under the control of the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, as against the insinuations that the town has been occupied by Boko Haram insurgents.
While fielding questions at a press briefing to flag off Operation Egwueke Eke 3 (Operation Python Dance 3) at the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri on Friday, General Buratai said ” our troops have taken over Baga town and its environs, Baga as I speak with you is not in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents. They contested it but lost the battle.”
General Buratai, who was represented by the Army Chief of Training and Operations, Major General Lamidi Adeosun said that initially it was a ding-dung situation but that finally their troops have taken over control of the famous fish market town.
BBC Hausa service monitored in Maiduguri had reported that the Boko Haram insurgents have taken over and hoisted their flag in Baga town.
Our correspondent who was at the Baga Market area in Maiduguri reports that hundreds of resident, mostly fishermen and farmers were seen stranded by the road side.
A fisherman who fled Baga town, Mallam Labbo Ibrahim, said they had to flee to come to Maiduguri to save their lives, as there was a heavy gun battle between the Boko Haram insurgents and the troops.
He said “yes, we had to flee for our safety, as Boko Haram invaded our town. As at the time we fled, the battle was still ongoing. But now we don’t know the situation. I can’t tell whether the town is controlled by Boko Haram or the military as we fled the town.’
The Amy had, in a press statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations (DAPR), admitted that suspected Boko Haram terrorists had on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 “attacked the headquarters of 7 Brigade Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), Baga, Borno State, at about 7.00pm.
“The troops, along with their Nigerian Navy counterparts put up a very determined fight to repel the attack throughout the night, while Sector 3 Operation LAFIYA DOLE sent in reinforcement who are in hot pursuit of the terrorists.
“Similarly, a Search and Rescue team has been constituted. The Nigerian Air Force component has also been mobilised and are engaging the fleeing terrorists. Unfortunately, a naval personnel was killed in action. “
The Army said “so far, no further details of casualties yet as efforts are on going to clear the terrorists hiding in Baga and environs” and enjoined all to remain calm as the troops conduct clearance and mop up operations and implored members of the general public to disregard any contrary information circulating on the attack.