The military yesterday launched a full-scale operation to flush out Boko Haram, in collaboration with Chad and Cameroon forces, bombing the dreaded Sambisa forest, camp of the insurgents, in Borno State. This is coming barely one week after a meeting between the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki and the service chiefs resolved that the military would begin a massive onslaught against insurgents. Security source revealed that air force planes had engaged in sustained bombardment of the Sambisa forest, aimed at destroying the military hardware of Boko Haram before a ground force will move in to reclaim territories the terrorists are occupying. It was gathered that for almost an hour, warplanes struck Boko Haram positions, after which armoured vehicles rolled across the bridge linking Fotokol town in Cameroon with Gamboru in Nigeria, clearing the way for the infantry. Sources revealed that Chad’s military joined in the air strikes, while waiting for authorisation for the allied troops: Nigeria and Cameroon to begin ground operation. Commenting on this, Major General Chris Olukolade, director of Defence Information, in a statement said: “The mission is on. There are no allowing terrorists anywhere. As many times as they come, it will only give us the opportunity to decimate them.” The Defence Headquarters spokesman said also: “Contrary to the impression being pushed in some quarters, it is the Nigerian forces that planned and are driving the present onslaught against terrorists from all fronts in Nigeria, not the Chadian forces, as is being propagated by some media.” Olukolade said there were contingents from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad in the operations, which allowed “a massive move against terrorists from all angles.” In the attack, armoured vehicles and infantry crossed a bridge from Cameroon into Nigeria. This is coming barely one week after Chadian troops chased insurgents out of Malumfatori, a Borno town, which lies near the borders of Chad and Niger. Also, at the weekend, Chadian forces reclaimed Gamboru-Ngala, after a heated battle with Boko Haram that involved a ground and air campaign. Meanwhile, the United States Department of State has warned its o avoid travelling to Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe. A release yesterday, said: “The US Department of State strongly urges US citizens in Nigeria to consider their own personal security and to keep personal safety in the forefront of their travel planning. “The ability of the mission to provide assistance to U.S. citizens in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states remains severely limited. The Department continues to recommend against all but essential travel to the following states due to the risk of kidnappings, robberies, and other armed attacks: Adamawa, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe, and Zamfara. “The Department also warns against travel in the Gulf of Guinea because of the threat of piracy. Based on safety and security risk assessments, the embassy maintains restrictions for travel by US officials to those states listed above; officials must receive advance clearance by the US Mission for any travel deemed as mission-essential.” … We’re working together with Chad, others –DHQ Nigeria’s military said yesterday said the country’s sovereignty was not compromised despite the presence of Chadian ground troops in the northeast to fight Boko Haram. Defence Headquarters spokesman Chris Olukolade played down concerns about the presence of a foreign power on Nigerian soil, and claimed the country’s troops were leading the offensives. “Contrary to the impression being pushed in some quarters, it is the Nigerian forces that planned and are driving the present onslaught against terrorists from all fronts in Nigeria, not the Chadian forces, as is being propagated by some media,” he said. Olukolade said there were contingents from Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad in the operations, which allowed “a massive move against terrorists from all angles”. Joint deployments and patrols have been conducted in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria, he added. “Chadians and other are however keying into and working in concert with the overall plan for an all-round move against the terrorists, as agreed,” he said. “Nigeria’s territorial integrity remains intact.” Security analysts have suggested that Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan may be looking for a pre-election bounce from military successes as he seeks a second term of office on February 14. But Mark Schroeder, from security and political analysts Stratfor, told AFP this week that allowing foreign forces to operate on Nigerian soil would be counter-productive. “This is essentially absolving Nigeria of its long-standing geopolitical strength as the region’s hegemon able to assist internal and pan-West African security stability,” he said. To read more, go to http://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=103060
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