Monday, May 20, 2013

Boko Haram has access to anti-aircraft weaponry

The Nigerian military said on Friday that it destroyed weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, owned by insurgents in Borno State.

The military said in a statement that advancing troops of the Special Task Force have destroyed some terrorists' camps sited in the forests of Northern and Central Borno.

The statement was issued in Abuja on Friday and signed by Brigadier General Chris Olukolade, the Director of Defence Information.

In his nationwide broadcast on May 14 while declaring a state of emergency in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, President Goodluck Jonathan directed the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, to deploy more troops to the three states. The president said the insurgents were not only carrying out violent acts but had commenced the process of excising some part of the Nigerian territory for themselves, and were mounting strange flags.

Mr. Olukolade noted that heavy weapons, including anti-aircraft and anti-tank guns, were also destroyed in the process.

He said the special operations, which preceded troop movement, resulted in the destruction of many of the insurgents' weapons.

Logistics, it added, such as vehicles, containers, fuel dumps and power generators were also destroyed.

It said that "the casualties inflicted on the insurgents in the course of the assault will be verified during a mop up."

According to the statement, the Defence Headquarters is quite satisfied with the progress of the operation and the fighting spirit of participating troops. It urged the Special Task Force to sustain the tempo.

Meanwhile, border posts have all been manned by security personnel to prevent escape or infiltration by the insurgents.

Security sources earlier told PREMIUM TIMES that at least 20 members of the insurgents were killed in the Sambisa forest operation.

Sambisa, a forest that spreads over a distance of 300sq km from Damboa up to Gwoza, Bama and the Cameroon border, has been a hideout and training camp for the extremist Boko Haram sect. The camp was first discovered early this year when a military raid was launched there.

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