Boko Haram insurgents have suffered heavy losses from the hands of Nigerianm troops on Monday as their camps in three villages were over run and high calibre weapons captured during operation “ Deep Punch II” in the Lake Chad general area.
The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman confirmed this in a statement on Tuesday.
He said Metele, Tumbun Gini and Tumbun Ndjamena villages in the area had been cleared of terrorists.
“During the clearance operations, Boko Haram terrorists abandoned the area in disarray leaving behind livestock, large quantity of foodstuff, motorcycles and donkeys.
The troops also discovered terrorists’ logistics base at Tumbu Ndjamena which held stocks of fish, foodstuffs, fuel and motorcycles.
All these items were promptly destroyed.
“They captured one Anti-Aircraft Gun, 116 rounds of 12.7mm ammunition with metal links, four Ak-47 rifles, 57 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition (Special), two Light Machine Guns, two Rocket Propelled Grenade 7 (RPG 7) Tubes, with one RPG Bomb and two already primed 36 Hand Grenades.
“Other recovered items include one Small Solar panel with a Gionee mobile phone, one Holy Qur’an, six Hadith Books, as well as five Gun trucks (which were destroyed),” he said.
Usman explained that the three soldiers and a civilian JTF died, while nine others were wounded when a Boko Haram vehicle laden with Improvised Explosive Devices rammed into an MRAP vehicle.
He said the vehicle exploded, killing three soldiers, a Civilian JTF and wounding the others.
Meanwhile, troops from Nigeria and neighbouring countries have launched major offensives against the two Boko Haram factions and their leaders, the military said on Tuesday.
Soldiers from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria are targeting Abubakar Shekau in the Sambisa Forest, and Mamman Nur, on and around Lake Chad, both in Borno state, northeast Nigeria.
According to the Nigerian military, scores of jihadists have been killed and hundreds of others have been forced to surrender in recent days.
Top brass in Abuja has claimed that Nur had been injured and one of his wives killed in an aerial bombardment and that Shekau was “a spent horse, waiting for his Waterloo”.
Usman on Tuesday said the operation, codenamed “Deep Punch 2”, had been making “tremendous progress”.
But he said four soldiers had “paid the supreme price” and nine others were wounded in a suicide car bomb attack against a military vehicle near Shekau’s camp on Monday.
Separate senior military and civilian militia sources spoken to by AFP gave a higher death toll of 10.
Two Cameroon security sources meanwhile said two of its troops had been killed in the Sambisa Forest, although it was not clear if they were among those mentioned by Usman.