27th March, 2015
Nigerian troops on Friday morning liberated Gwoza, a fairly big town in Borno state and the last stronghold of Boko Haram, Major General Chris Olukolade, spokesperson for Nigerian Defence Headquarters said in a statement.
Boko Haram had occupied Gwoza last August after driving away the traditional ruler and sacking the mobile police training base located in the area. Scores of anti-riot policemen abducted by the insurgents during the attack are still missing.
The group had proceeded to declare Sharia in the area which it also renamed ‘darul hikima’, the headquarters of its Caliphate. The group had proceeded to occupy other communities spread across Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states even as it maintained its stronghold on Gwoza.
Most of the towns and communities occupied by the insurgents have been liberated by Nigerian troops with the support of their Chadian and Nigerien counterparts in the past few weeks.
President Jonathan had earlier in the week said Gwoza will be liberated today ahead of tomorrow’s 2015 presidential election.
In the statement by Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian military noted that the liberation of was preceded by successive sack of terrorists from towns and villages leading to Gwoza, the main objective.
The Defence Headquarters added that several of the terrorists died and many were also captured in the process by the Nigerian military in the process of liberation of the town. It added that a lot of arms and ammunition have been recovered and the administrative headquarters completely destroyed while a massive cordon and search has commenced to locate any of the fleeing terrorists or hostages in their custody.
The Defence Headquarters added that with the liberation of Gwoza, the military has been able to take over virtually all the enclaves and hideouts where the terrorists were marauding. It is observed that some of the terrorists are currently fleeing towards border areas.
The full statement by Nigeria Defence Headquarters on the capture of Gwoza reads: “Sequel to the violent and heinous crimes perpetrated by terrorists in North Eastern Nigeria, the Armed Forces of Nigeria was tasked to halt the carnage and restore sanity in that region. This resulted in the deployment of land and air forces.
“The deployment denied the terrorists the freedom of action they had hitherto enjoyed and they resorted to diversionary tactics known with terrorist groups around the world by carrying out isolated attacks and bombings.
“The series of deployment and operational effectiveness of the military were however challenged by the porosity of the borders, which gave the terrorists leverage to operate in Nigeria and retreat into safe havens in neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
“The recent reinvigoration of a partnership between Nigeria and these neighbouring countries under the auspices of Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) provided the desired response to the challenge, as these border areas that hitherto served as hideouts for the terrorists have been actively dominated by troops in the MNJTF.
“This development decimated the fighting capabilities of the terrorists, as the Nigerian military carries out a final onslaught on the nation’s enemy within the country. These successful operations have culminated in the dislodgment of terrorists from towns and communities in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states.
Just this morning, the gallant troops of the Nigerian military in a concerted and well-coordinated land and air operations have liberated Gwoza, the headquarters of their so called caliphate which they renamed ‘darul hikima’. This was preceded by successive sack of terrorists from towns and villages leading to Gwoza, the main objective.
“Several of the terrorists have died and many of them captured in the process. A lot of arms and ammunition have been recovered and the administrative Headquarters completely destroyed. A massive cordon and search has commenced to locate any of the fleeing terrorists or hostages in their custody.
As at yesterday, the military has been able to take over virtually all the enclaves and hideouts where the terrorists were marauding. It is observed that some of the terrorists are currently fleeing towards border areas.
“The fleeing terrorists will expectedly run into subsequent encounter with contingents of partners in the Multinational Joint Task Force who have been mandated to contain them accordingly. The mop up operation in Gwoza and other liberated areas will continue in order to ensure that no vestiges of terrorists or terrorism remain in our country.
The Nigerian military and security agencies therefore thank Nigerians and our partners in the sub-region who have consistently encouraged and supported us in the course of these operations. The military is more than ever before determined to once and for all stamp out every trace of terrorism and insecurity in our country.
“All citizens are urged to remain vigilant and report every movement or assemblage of suspicious characters to the security forces so that NEVER AGAIN shall the evil elements re-group to terrorize or cause mayhem in our country”.