How top Military officers led Sambisa offensive
The one month long military offensive that led to the capture of Sambisa Forest last Thursday was led by “the best hands” in the Nigerian Army and Air Force, sources close to the operation told Daily Trust yesterday. Before the renewed offensive to reclaim the dreaded forest where Boko Haram fighters held sway since 2013, officers between the ranks of Lieutenants, Captains and Majors normally led operations, sources said. This time around, more senior officers led the operation on all fronts during the final onslaught. It was gathered that the officers, besides various trainings they obtained at home, have been trained abroad and had participated in serious military operations.
The 60,000 square kilometres (23,000 sq mi) vast Sambisa Forest had been the nightmare of the Nigerian security forces, including their foreign allies, who provided various security reports over the years. It was gathered that some of the fighting troops were mobilized with light rocket propelled grenades [RPGs], weapons they did not use previously. The light RPGs, according to one of our sources, could be carried on by soldiers on their shoulders for long distances because of their light weight and were used against far flung targets.
“With the exception of one major of the Nigerian Army, all the commanding officers that led the 4,200 troops into the Sambisa Forest are of the rank of Colonel and Lieutenant Colonel,” a soldier who participated in the operation said. He said “the Bama axis was led by a Colonel who viciously decimated many Boko Haram fighters. Together with his troops, he captured Alafa 1, 11 and 111 in the Sambisa Forest and freed over 1,000 people. He also captured nearly 500 suspects, mostly men who are being interrogated for having links with the Boko Haram.”
According to him, “some of the suspects are claiming that they were forcefully conscripted into the violent group while others have admitted that they belong to the group.” Another source said the Konduga/Aulari axis of the Sambisa Forest was captured by a daring army Major. “This Major is one of the heroes in the Nigerian Army. He was very close to the late Lieutenant Colonel Abu Ali of blessed memory. He knows the Sambisa Forest very well and was therefore directed to approach the forest through the infamous Gate One,” the source said. He added, “The Ngurosoye axis of the Sambisa Forest was led by a Lieutenant Colonel who is also a fearless and versatile officer. His 151 Battalion is known as Blocking Force. His troops recovered many AK47 rifles of fleeing Boko Haram insurgents and they also freed many women and children.”
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