Nigerian army, Gunmen, Boko Haram terrorists

The Defence Headquarters said yesterday that 63 Boko Haram members were killed last weekend during ground and air operations on their bases in Bama, Borno State and Lake Chad.

Two soldiers were wounded in encounters with the insurgents.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau boasted in a new video that the sect will wreak more havoc on Nigerians.

He also derided the $7million bounty on his head by the United States.

The military claimed that the first clash occurred at Alafa Forest, where 56 insurgents were killed. The Nation could not verify the facts independently.

The remaining seven fell to the repelling attacks of the Multi-National Joint Task Force on an island in Lake Chad

There was no reaction yet as at last night by the leadership of Boko Haram on the crossfire with government troops.

The latest Defence Headquarters figures brought the casualty figures on the side of the sect to about 113 within two weeks.

The DHQ had last week said 50 Boko Haram insurgents and 15 soldiers were killed in a pre-dawn attack on Mohammed Kuru Barracks in Bama last Friday.

It also said five civilians died during the attack on the barracks by the insurgents.

A statement in Abuja by the Director of Defence Information, Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, said the operations were part of steps at tracking fleeing insurgents who attacked Mohammed Kuru Barracks in Bama about two weeks ago.

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The statement said: “Nigerian security forces have launched ground and air operations on terrorists locations in the Forest at Alafa, about 21km from Bama, Borno State. Over 56 terrorists died in the ensuing intensive fight over the weekend.

“Two soldiers were wounded in the operation which is meant to track fleeing terrorists.

“Acting on intelligence reports which indicated renewed efforts by the terrorists to establish a new camp in the forests locations, the land and air operations have inflicted heavy casualty on the insurgents as indicated by the high level of their loss of men and materials.

“Air and land bombardments are continuing in different locations where terrorists have been reportedly sighted.

“In another development, troops of the Multi-National Joint Task Force have foiled an attempt by terrorists who were massing up on an island on Lake Chad with a view to carrying out an attack on some Nigerian communities.

“Seven of the terrorists died while others fleeing in different direction towards Niger and Chad Republic are being trailed by troops.

“Intelligence reports have confirmed that some of the wounded terrorists were seen in a canoe paddling towards Tumbun Telkandam in Chad Republic.”

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Shekau, in a new video, promised to “decapitate and mutilate” more people in the name of Allah. Ridiculing the United States for putting a bounty on his head, he said: “You can’t in any way harm me.”

Shekau, who has been dubbed a “global terrorist” by the US and twice been declared killed by the military, claimed responsibility for a December 20 attack on a tank battalion barracks in Bama, north eastern Borno State.

“Brothers pulverised 21 armoured tanks. People were killed in their multitudes; bodies scattered all over,” he said, adding that his forces “blew out the brains” of soldiers who tried to hide under their blankets.

“Had Allah allowed us to eat them we would have eaten them but we are not cannibals,” he added, according to a news agency reports. “This is a victory from Allah.”

The video showed the terrorist leader seated on a mat, surrounded by masked fighters. It included footage of the attack, with burning buildings and fighter jets and armed, masked men walking around them.

The insurgents stormed the barracks by arriving in a convoy of trucks shortly before sunrise, opening fire on soldiers inside before torching the compound. Witnesses said they kidnapped soldiers along with women and children.

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Shekau threatened more mayhem in the video sent to AFP on Saturday whose authenticity has not been verified, although it is one in a series sent to the news agency in which he features.

“As for killing, we will kill because Allah says we should decapitate, we should amputate limbs, we should mutilate,” he said.

Thousands of people have been killed since Boko Haram launched its uprising against the state in 2009.

Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” and the militia, which has links to al Qaeda, has attacked schools, universities and colleges, killing at least 40 children in one attack in September.

“They try to brainwash the people that we are fighting an ethnic war,” Shekau said in his latest video. “No, we are fighting a religious war, we are fighting (Nigerian President Goodluck) Jonathan, we are fighting Christians.”

He also shrugged off the bounties put on his head – $7 million by the United States and $312,500 by the Nigerian government. “We do not worship money,” he says. “You can’t in any way harm me.


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