Home / Lead Story / Zulum passes night in attacked Damasak, meets soldiers, re-equips security with 12 APC, patrol vehicles

Zulum passes night in attacked Damasak, meets soldiers, re-equips security with 12 APC, patrol vehicles

 

Prof. Zulum, Borno State Governor

Nigerian military reinforces troops in Damasak as Boko Haram informants intensify ‘criminal’ activities

Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum was in Damasak, from Thursday to Friday, after the town was attacked on Tuesday, by Boko Haram insurgents, killing 20 persons and injuring 21.
Zulum traveled alongside Senator Abubakar Kyari representing Borno north, who hails from Damasak, and some officials.
As part of measures, the governor held operational meeting with soldiers and other security forces after which he presented 12 security vehicles which include an armoured personnel carrier ( APC) and 11 patrol vehicles, to strengthen the armed forces and volunteers made up of trained youths in the civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes, helping in the fight against insurgents.
Damasak, headquarters of Mobbar local government area in northern Borno, is located on the fringes of Lake Chad, and it shares border with communities in Niger Republic. The town used to be producer and exporter of vegetables to target markets within Nigeria, Niger republic and other neighboring countries. Boko Haram had occupied Damasak in 2014 as one of their caliphates, and the insurgents seem interested in the town, apparently for strategic access to raising funds through agriculture and for land routes to Niger republic.
Zulum, spending the night at Damasak, ends speculation that the town had fallen to insurgents’ occupation.
During his stay in Damasak, Zulum had interactions with soldiers and other forces involved in counter insurgency operations.
The Governor interacted with residents, empathized with them and assessed destruction caused by insurgents. Thousands of residents who had fled to border communities in Niger republic returned on Friday.
Governor Zulum confirmed from residents, that 18 people had died, 21 injured, and he saw several property that were destroyed.
The UN humanitarian hub, private residential houses, a police station, palace of the district head, a primary healthcare centre, and a GSM Village were among property destroyed.
The insurgents attacked the town with three gun-trucks, residents told Governor Zulum.
Tuesday’s attack on Damasak was the sixth in two weeks, by the Boko Haram/ISWP groups, residents recalled.
Zulum assured of robust measures being put in place to avert future attacks on Damasak town, by the insurgents.
The Governor directed the strengthening of agricultural activities in Damasak, and he assessed a rice farm which his administration facilitates, to enhance food security.

Meanwhile, it was learnt that despite the nefarious activities of local informants who regularly tip off the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) and Boko Haram terrorists of troops’ operations, the Nigerian military has reinforced its ground troops with sophisticated equipment and Air Task Force’s support, to contain the insurgents terrorizing the Damasak axis.

With the aid of local informants, there have been unrelenting assaults on Damasak by both ISWAP and Boko Haram fighters, in recent times.

It was discovered that, in some communities, the informants not only leak vital information to the terrorists but harbour them in their houses and settlements.

These informants have also been found to assist terrorists in planting landmines against Nigerian troops.

An intelligence operative, who revealed that informants hint terrorists of troops’ movements, said the informants’ behaviour is aiding the infiltration of Damasak town and surrounding communities by insurgents.

“It is quite puzzling that while our gallant troops are manning specific locations and conducting patrols, the terrorists with the aid of their local collaborators would just appear from other locations and launch deadly surprise attacks on both troops and civilian populations.

“Though the military is reinforcing the troops with more equipment, the air supports have also led to the elimination of scores of Boko Haram and ISWAP, in the past few weeks,” he said.

Spokesperson of the Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Yerima, confirmed the activities of informants while debunking reports in a section of the media that the terrorists had overrun and were in control of Damasak town.

He said despite the setbacks occasion by the informants ‘vicious’ activities, troops have been able to surmount some of the obstacles.

Yerima who described some of the media reports as blatant misinformation said there was an attack by the terrorists on the town, but the terrorists were effectively repelled by the troops.

“As we speak, troops are in total control of the general area. The Commander of 5 Brigade, Brig.-Gen. S. S. Tilawan was driving around the town to assess the general situation, following the attack by the terrorists,” he said.

The Army spokesperson said that the terrorists sneaked in from the northern flank in active collaboration with some local informants.

It was gathered that the terrorists invaded Damasak for the third time within a week. In the aftermath of the attack, humanitarian offices, private residences, shops and security facilities, were destroyed.

In another development, Nigerian Troops have cleared Boko Haram fighters from five villages in Gamboru Axis.

Some of the villages cleared include Gulwa, Ndufu, Eisari , Musiri and Diime Villages, with scores of terrorists killed during the operation.

The troops, led by Lt. Colonel Samson Oladeigbe, embarked on a ‘Long Range Fighting Patrol’ to clear the unit’s areas of responsibility from Super Camp Headquarters in Gamboru.

They eliminated scores of terrorists during the operation. And apart from rifles and gun, the troops recovered magazine carrier, a Boko Haram flag, solar panel, bicycles and motorcycles from the terrorists.

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