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10 years after, troops rescue 386 from Sambisa forest

military army

Ten years after abduction, troops rescued about 386 abducted persons, mostly women and children, from Sambisa Forest in Konduga local government area of Borno state, acting GOC 7 Division, AGL Haruna, has said.

Haruna said this Sunday while speaking to journalists on the outskirts of Sambisa forest after welcoming the troops that conducted the 10-day operation.

He said the exercise tagged “Operation Desert Sanity 111” was to clear Sambisa Forest of the remnants of all categories of terrorists as well as provide some of them eager to surrender, as observed, the opportunity to do so.

“Our effort is to ensure that we clear remnants of terrorists in the Sambisa and give those willing to surrender the opportunity to surrender.

“Some of those rescued from Sambisa Forest, who spoke, said they were in captivity for 10 years.

“With this operation, we envisage many of them will surrender as they have started.

“We also rescued some civilians; as of yesterday, we rescued 386 and I am sure the number will increase by today,” Haruna said.

The GOC, who addressed the troops on the message of Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja, lauded their performance and professionalism exhibited during the operation, urging them to sustain the tempo.

“I want to commend you for your exceptional performance and professionalism exhibited during the operation and I urged you to sustain the tempo. 

“The Chief of Army Staff is highly pleased with your performance. You have done your best. You have sacrificed yourselves to ensure that peace and normalcy return to the North-East. This is a wonderful outing and we are very happy.

“We have to stop whatever we are doing and come here to let you know that we are with you always. To know what you people are doing so that we can have a feeling of what you people are going through,” he added. 

Specifically, the GOC commended the troops for successfully clearing insurgents’ enclaves at Lawanti, Ukuba, Farisu, Sabil Huda, Njimia, Garin Gulukos, Garin Falluja, Shababul Ummah, Garin Pannel bitter and Lagara Anguwan Gwai Gwai, all located within the Sambisa forest.

The army chief noted with delight that troops of the Operation Hadin Kai Joint Task Force, especially the Special Forces Troops, 21 Armoured Brigade, Bama the Civilian Joint Task Force(CJTF) and the Hybrid Forces, did  exceptionally well.

Haruna commended Lagbaja for his support which, he said,  translated to the successes recorded by the troops in the frontlines.

He also lauded the Theatre Commander, North-East Operation Hadin Kai Joint Task Force, Maj.-Gen. Waidi Shuaibu, for his strategic guidance and supervision.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that troops from 21 Special Armoured Brigade, 26 Task Force Brigade and 199 Special Forces participated in the operation.

… ‘At 60, NAF, force to reckon with’

Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, said the  Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has become a force to reckon with among comity of nations in its 60 years of existence.

Abubakar said this in a message during the Interdenominational Church Service as part of activities lineup for the 60th Anniversary Celebration of the NAF Sunday in Abuja.

Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans (NAF) AVM, Sayo Olatunde, he said   the NAF, which started from a very humble beginning, had become one of the top air forces on the African continent.

Abubakar reiterated the commitment of the service towards addressing the myriads of security challenges confronting the nation.

“We are doing everything possible to make sure that we resolve the insecurity challenges confronting the country as soon as possible and we are making great successes, remarkable achievements in that aspect.

“We are actually making progress just for some few things that prevented the impact of our successes for being seen and being felt by the country.

“I am sure those things should be resolved and then we begin to have peace in this country.

“In the area of operation, we are making remarkable successes and we are also making sure that we are doing a lot of things to enhance our operational efficiencies.

“Recently, we have this capability assessment that review what we need holistically to fight current official warfare so that we can make the best use of the resources available, the resources graciously given by the federal government,” he said.

The CAS said the NAF continued to make frantic efforts to improve on welfare of its personnel and the families of fallen heroes through several projects and initiatives.

He listed some of the welfare programmes to payment of monthly relief package for personnel on flight lieutenant and below to cushion the impact of the current economic situation in the country.

Under his watch, he said the NAF had instituted an insurance that will cater for illness and accidents, in addition to what is obtainable from the Ministry of Defense level as part of efforts to cater for the welfare of personnel.

The air chief said the recruitment process had been sanitised to ensure only the best were taken.

“We have made serious effort to make sure we enhance the process so that the people will recruit into the Nigerian air force will be people who are truly interested in job.

“And one of the steps we took was to train our recruitment officers to be able to determine those people, who are with drugs; who have ulterior motive for wanting to come to the service.

“From the process of screening we just started that 100 per cent of the efforts are just betrayed at Kaduna airport based communities.

“Another step we take to enhance the quality of personnel coming into the air force is to make sure we do screening, a computer screening test even before we call them for interview.

“When you apply, you do the screening; so that we know them in terms of quality of people.

“All these things we put in place to make sure that the process is fair, firm, and qualitative and we expect quality outputs,” he said.

In his remarks, chairman, organising committee, AVM Michael Ekwueme, called on Nigerians to pray for the service in its operational engagement and the success of the occasion.

“Let us continue to thank God and pray for the success of the event; foreign participants have started arriving; let us pray for the safety of those on their way” he said.

Director, Chaplaincy (Protestant), NAF, Air Commodore Dogo Gani, said the church service was organised to thank God for protection and commit the future of NAF into God’s hand.

NAN reports that the service was attended by Principal Staff of Officers from NAF Headquarters, their spouses and other senior officers as well as airmen and airwomen.