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71 captives rescued as troops smash Boko Haram camps

kinny men and women. Frail old people and ailing young boys and girls. They were all excited to be free — thanks to troops who subdued two Boko Haram camps in Chuogori and Shantumari, Borno State.
The seizure of the camps was spearheaded by troops from 21 Brigade and Nigerian Army Engineers.
In Kashingeri, Wale, Kushingari and other camps, 151 Task Force Battalion troops rescued 71 civilians from the terrorists’ camps.
Amid the success, the immediate past Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, yesterday listed why the war had been tough.
He said:
the military’s equipment was not enough; some fifth columnists in the military and other security agencies were leaking operational plans to the insurgents; and when the insurgency broke out in the Northeast, the military had been overstretched. The Acting Director of Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, said troops dislodged insurgents from two camps yesterday and rescued 59 from three others.
In a statement last night, Col. Usman said: “As part of efforts to rid Nigeria of Boko Haram terrorists, troops of 21 Brigade and elements of Nigerian Army Engineers yesterday cleared a notorious terrorists’ camp at Chuogori and Shantumari, Borno State.
“During the offensive operations, the fleeing terrorists left underground silos.
“In addition, troops of 151 Task Force Battalion conducted operations on Kashingeri, Wale and Kushingari Boko Haram terrorists camps today.
During the raids, quite a number of the terrorists were killed; a Landrover vehicle and a tipper were recovered.
“The troops also rescued 59 civilians that were held captive by the terrorists and cleared the camps.”
Some of the captives told The Associated Press that they were in the clutches of the extremists for as long as a year.
“I was waiting for death … they often threatened to kill us,” said Yagana Kyari, a woman in her 20s, who said she had been kidnapped from her village of Kawuri and taken to a militant camp in Walimberi, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) southeast of Maiduguri.
Kyari said they often went hungry because the extremists never provided enough food.
“Our gallant troops have rescued 59 civilians in two camps of the terrorist group,” army spokesman Col. I.T. Gusau said. “Many of the terrorists were killed in the course of the operations, but mop-up is still going on.”
The 59, all women and children except for five elderly men, were freed on Thursday, he said. Another 12 women and girls were rescued Wednesday from Kilakisa, 90 kilometres (55 miles) southwest of Maiduguri, he said.
Air Chief Marshal Badeh was delivering his valedictory address at his Pulling-Out from the Nigerian Armed Forces.
He said: “Notwithstanding the modest successes we recorded in the fight against terror, I must say that the task of co-ordinating the military and other security agencies in the fight against the insurgents is perhaps the most complex and challenging assignment I have had in my over 38 years in service.
“For the first time, I was head of a military that lacked the relevant equipment and motivation to fight an enemy that was invisible and embedded with the local populace.
“Added to this was the exploitation of a serious national security issue by a section of the press and the political class to gain political mileage.
“Furthermore, the activities of fifth columnists in the military and other security agencies who leaked operational plans and other sensitive military information to the terrorists, combined to make the fight against the insurgents particularly difficult.
“The activities of these unpatriotic members of the military not only blunted the effectiveness of the fight, but also led to the needless deaths of numerous officers and men who unwittingly fell into ambushes prepared by terrorists who had advance warnings of the approach of such troops.
“The decision by certain countries to deny us weapons to prosecute the war also added to the challenges we faced.”
He said the military was overstretched by the time Boko Haram insurgency reached its peak in the Northeast.
 He said: “Over the years, the military was neglected and underequipped to ensure the survival of certain regimes, while other regimes, based on advice from some foreign nations, deliberately reduced the size of the military and underfunded it.
“Unfortunately, our past leaders accepted such recommendations without appreciating our peculiarities as a third world military, which does not have the technological advantage that could serve as force multipliers and compensate for reduced strength.
“Accordingly, when faced with the crises in the Northeast and other parts of the country, the military was overstretched and had to embark on emergency recruitments and trainings, which were not adequate to prepare troops for the kind of situation we found ourselves in.
“It is important therefore for the government to decide on the kind of military force it needs, by carrying out a comprehensive review of the nation’s military force structure to determine the size, capability and equipment holding required to effectively defend the nation and provide needed security. This is based on the fact that without security, there cannot be sustainable development. The huge cost that would be required to rebuild the Northeast and other trouble spots in the country could have been avoided if the military had been adequately equipped and prepared to contain the ongoing insurgency before it escalated to where it is today.”
Notwithstanding, Air Chief Marshal Badeh said his tenure witnessed many achievements.
He said: “Despite these challenges, I am glad to note that a lot was achieved during our time in the fight against terror. The achievements recorded are largely due to the commitment, patriotism and fighting spirit of our men and women in uniform who saw the fight against terror as a task that must be accomplished no matter the odds and in spite of the campaign of calumny against the military by a section of the media with their foreign collaborators.
“The support of our teeming populace who have continued to stand behind their military has been quite encouraging.
“Also, our true friends who stood by us in our time of need and provided us the weapons we are now using to conduct the operations will always have a special place in our hearts.
“I must also mention the support and co-operation we have continued to enjoy from our neighbouring countries, which have enabled us to present a united front against a common enemy.
“The great support we have continued to receive and the determination of our patriotic troops to defeat this enemy of our nation has not only helped us to remain focused, but to also embark on other projects for the armed forces.
Air Chief Marshal Badeh, however, said no nation could depend on other countries for its defence needs.
He asked Nigeria to look inward by building a defence industrial complex.
He added:  “I want to state emphatically that no nation can achieve its full security potentials by totally depending on other nations for its defence needs. The lessons of the civil war and the ongoing war against terror where certain countries frustrated our attempts to procure much needed weapons are very instructive.
“Again, as I have always said, when a nation is at war, it is not the military alone that is at war, it is the entire nation. Accordingly, every segment of society must see itself contributing to the overall war effort by presenting a united front against a common enemy.
“Therefore, I appeal to the relevant agencies of government to mobilise the huge human and material resources we have in this country towards the development of a vibrant Defence Industrial Complex that would contribute to meeting our critical arms and equipment needs. This is crucial if we must reduce our total dependence on foreign sources of supply for critically needed arms.
“That is the only way we can retain our dignity as a nation in order to have freedom of action in international affairs.”
Air Chief Marshal Badeh, under whose tenure newspapers were confiscated, still criticised the press in his valedictory address.
He said: “A major challenge we faced during my tenure was the negative media coverage of the activities of the Armed Forces in the ongoing war against terror in the Northeast.
“We, therefore, resolved to have a medium through which we can tell our own side of the story in an objective and accurate manner. This gave birth to the establishment of the Armed Forces Radio, broadcasting on 107.7 FM from the Mogadishu Cantonment.
“Also, we were able to complete and commission the Armed Forces DNA Laboratory in Mogadishu Cantonment.”
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