A new war strategy recently launched by the Nigerian Army has spurred troops to foil an attempt by fighters of the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP) to occupy Gubio Local Government Area (LGA) in Borno State.
Eight people, including three soldiers, were said to have been killed in jihadist attacks on an army base and village in the state.
The army engaged the insurgents in a fierce seven-hour battle that forced many of the insurgents to flee.
This is coming as fighter jets of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) pounded more terrorist locations in Izza on the fringes of Sambisa Forest, killing scores of insurgents.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, had recently charged war commanders in the North-east to embrace a new war strategy called “super camp” which he said would serve as a launching pad for mobile offensive operations against terrorist group, Boko Haram and the ISWAP.
Eyewitness accounts and some residents of the community said the firefight lasted for seven hours, between 6p.m. and 1a.m., before the insurgents were dislodged.
Also, 19 people, comprising eight soldiers and 11 terrorists, were said to have been killed in jihadist attacks on an army base and village in the state.
Three soldiers and three civilians died on Saturday when fighters from the IS-aligned ISWAP group attacked a base in Gubio, a town 80 kilometres from the state capital, Maiduguri.
Two soldiers and six civilians were injured. The jihadists attacked the base in eight pickup trucks fitted with machine guns, leading to a long battle.
The attack was repelled with the aid of a fighter jet, which deployed two hours into the clashes.
Eleven of the insurgents were killed and three of their vehicles were seized.
Spokesman of the army, Col. Musa Sagir, declined to speak on casualties when contacted.
Speaking on the confrontation while receiving Governor Babagana Umara of Borno State, who came to pay them a solidarity visit, Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Benson Akinroluyo, said the army was now changing strategy part of which include operational movement of troops from one location to another.
He assured the governor of the determination of troops to defeat the terrorists.
Umara praised the 5 Brigade of the Nigerian Army for the gallantry and patriotism of soldiers under the command.
He said the Borno State Government would sustain its support for the military by interventions on logistics, funding of volunteers in the Civilian JTF, hunters and vigilantes who complement the military in fighting insurgents as well as continued mobilisation of citizens to cooperate and support the military.
The Caretaker Chairman of Gubio Local Government Area, Zannah Modu Gubio, reportedly told the governor that were it not for the resistance by the soldiers, the insurgents would have gained control of the area on Sallah eve.
Speaking at a recent maiden workshop organised by Army Headquarters Department of Training and Operations (DATOPS) held for commanders, commanding officers and staff officers of Operation Lafiya Dole on the concept of “super camp” held at the 25 Task Force Brigade (Super Camp 2), Damboa, Borno State, Buratai who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations (Army), Major General Enobong Udoh, charged the participants to take the workshop seriously, as the concept of the super camp was a force multiplier that allows for concentration of manpower and resources.
The army said in a statement that “super camps would further boost force protection of troops while on camps, as well as enable them to project force through long distance patrols and ambushes to dominate their areas of operation”.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Air Force said it carried out air strikes that killed scores of insurgents in Izza on the fringes of Sambisa Forest.
It said in an update on the war against insurgency issued yesterday that the air interdiction neutralised scores of ISWAP fighters.
“The intensive air strikes being conducted under the auspices of Operation Green Sweep 3 have yielded more successes as the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole, on 9 August 19, decimated a major tactical base of the Boko Haram terrorists (BHT) and neutralised scores of their fighters at Izza on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
“The location was designated for attack after series of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions had established that the location was being used as a staging area from where the BHT elements launch their attacks,” it said.
The update issued by NAF spokesman said “the ATF scrambled three Alpha jet aircraft to attack the location, with the timing synchronised to inflict maximum damage and mortality on the terrorists. As a result, there was massive devastation on the affected target while scores of terrorists were killed in the process.
“The NAF, operating in concert with surface forces, will sustain its efforts to completely destroy all remnants of the terrorists in the North-east.”