The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has claimed that over 700 Boko Haram insurgents around the fringes of Sambisa Forest in Borno have surrendered to troops.
Buratai disclosed this during a Photo/Arts Exhibition which was part of activities to mark the week-long Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL).
The army chief said “a short while ago, I received the good news that about 700 Boko Haram terrorists within the fringes of Sambisa Forest have surrendered.
“Some others are in the process to surrender, This is a clear indication that the Boko Haram war is clearly being won. The situation is being awaited; more details will come from the Theatre Command in Maiduguri later in the day.
“I will like to congratulate not only our gallant troops, but indeed the Nigerian Navy and Air Force who are also operating in the North-East. I congratulate Nigerians as well because I know what we went through during the
Boko Haram insurgency and definitely, it will be a great sigh of relief as these terrorists are finally capitulating.”
Providing details shortly after the announcement, the Army Spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, said 70 of the surrendered terrorists were already being profiled.
He explained that “preliminary investigation showed that among them were key commanders and influential members of the Boko Haram.
“One of whom matches suspect number 225 on Boko Haram terrorists most wanted list released by the Nigerian Army.
“So far, the surrendered terrorists have been making useful statements and it is expected that many more will surrender,’’ Usman said.
In a remark earlier, Buratai said that the army had made “tremendous achievement’’ in the counter insurgency operations in the North-East.
He described the exhibition as true way of capturing the facts on the ground just like motion pictures captured thousands of words.
“It is an effective way of allowing the populace to relate with the feeling of truth,” he said
Buratai said that documented history acted as bridge between the past and present for effective future planning.
“While we continue to fight for the unity of our country, while we continue to fight and defend territorial integrity, while we equally operate to maintain law and order in support of the civil authority, there is one very important aspect of the soldier’s life, and this is what we will be showing to you today.
“That is the artistic side of soldiering,’’ he said.
The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, who was the special guest at the occasion, commended the army for the successes it had achieved so far in the war against insurgency.
Oyo-Ita said that since its inception in 1863, the army had gone through a lot of transformation, making it much more professional, efficient and had recorded so many successes.
“It was a known fact that when history was not correctly preserved, the coming generations would only have half-baked truth or knowledge,’’ she said.
She added that the exhibition would enable Nigerians to know more about the army.