Due to the continued military onslaught in the Lake Chad region, in which factional Boko Haram Leader Mamman Nur has been reported injured and one of his wives killed, about 950 fighters from two faction of the Boko Haram sect have surrendered.
Army Spokesman at the Theatre Command in Maiduguri, Col. Oyenma Uwachukwu, said in a statement he issued yesterday, that about 250 foot soldiers from the Albarnawy camp have crossed the border to Niger Republic and surrendered to that country’s authorities.
This, he said, was an outcome of “devastating artillery and aerial bombardments by troops of Operation Lafiya Dole.”
“Many of the insurgents who fled the onslaught are now taking advantage of the ‘amnesty’ offered by the Nigerien government by surrendering to Nigerien Forces,” he said.
“Additionally, about 700 insurgents have also surrendered to troops in the general area of Monguno following troops’ clearance operations,” he said.
The statement was however silent on the whereabouts or status of the injured Mamman Nur, who has a N25 million bounty on his head since September 2011 following his involvement in the UN building bombing in Abuja.
Nur has been prominent in the sect’s hierarchy and, aside from planning the UN bombings, is also believed to have masterminded the breakaway of the Khalid Albarnawi faction of the sect from that led by Abubakar Shekau in 2014.
At the beginning of the week, 700 men, women and children escaped Boko Haram’s captivity in some Lake Chad Island’s where they have been held as farm labourers.
The army claimed that the civilians regained their freedom as a result of the success of its Operation Deep Punch II, which it said decimated Boko Haram’s positions in the area.
On Thursday, the military announced that it had rescued over 2,000 persons from the group’s captivity in operations in the Lake Chad region.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Rogers Nicholas, disclosed this during his press briefing at Military and Command Centre, Maiduguri on Thursday, saying that many Boko Haram fighters were killed in the operations.
Yesterday Army spokesman Col. Uwachukwu said their continued onslaught on the violent sect has resulted in the insurgents fleeing out of the region and those who could not make it to Niger Republic to accept the ‘amnesty’ programme there are attempting to flee into other states in Nigeria.
“Among the insurgents fleeing from the on-going offensive are senior and junior commanders in the Albarnawy faction who are now attempting to melt into other communities in and around Kano, Geidam and Gashua axis unnoticed. One of such fleeing commanders is Bana Bafui,” he said.
He called on residents of these areas, including northern Jigawa to be vigilant and “watch out for strange faces suddenly appearing in their communities and promptly report same to security agencies.”
Since the established of a camp for repentant Boko Haram insurgents in a programme termed “Operation Safe Corridor,” in April 2016, he said 300 insurgents have surrendered and are currently being deradicalised and rehabilitated.
“We call on all Boko Haram insurgents to abandon the futile struggle and take advantage of the Safe Corridor program by surrendering willingly to troops in any location nearest to them. We guarantee their safety and incorporation into the programme for deradicalization and rehabilitation,” Col. Uwachukwu said.