The Nigerian Army has said it would launch a final onslaught against Boko Haram terrorists around the Lake Chad region with a view to not only ending their activities, but also resettle Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) to their various communities.
The Army also vowed that the final raid on the insurgents would lead to rescuing the captives in the grip of the insurgents, including the remaining Chibok schoolgirls and 15-year old Leah Sharibu.
The raid on the insurgents stronghold, which the service tagged, Operation Last Hope, according to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, at a press conference, yesterday evening in Abuja, would be in commemoration of the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), which he said would be held celebrated in Northern Borno within the northeast theatre.
Represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Nigerian Army Headquarters, Maj-Gen. David Ahmadu, the COAS said the operation, which is expected to last for four months, beginning from May 1 to July 18, would entail deployment of six additional manoeuvre brigades and other critical assets in Borno State.
It operation, he added, is intended to facilitate the clearance of the Lake Chad waterways of sea weeds and other obstacles obstructing the movement of boats and people across the water channels.
Buratai said while the complex and adaptive nature of the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in the dissident group still sometimes being engaged in abductions, attack on soft targets, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attacks and suicide bombings, “it has become expedient for the Nigerian Army to change operating tactics, techniques and procedure in the northeast region.”
He added: “The design is to deploy personnel and equipment to showcase the combat efficiency of the Nigerian Army and thereafter conduct operations to totally destroy Boko Haram locations in the Lake Chad Basin.
“Operation Last Hope is expected to last for four months and it will entail deployment of six additional manoeuvre brigades and other critical assets in Borno State.
“The operational end-state of Operation Last Hold is the total defeat of the Boko Haram terrorist sect. Strategically, the conduct of Operation Last Hold will facilitate the restoration of fishing, farming and other economic activities in the Lake Chad Basin.
He said the operation was conceptualised to involve the conduct of population influence activities targeted to improve civil-military relations in the region, adding: “It is pertinent to note that Operation Last Hold is set to record remarkable achievements that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation, as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security.
“In this regard, law abiding members of the public in Northern Borno State are enjoined not to panic, as their safety and well-being have been deliberately factored in the operation.
“The general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected insurgents may be fleeing from military operations in the northeast and finding safe haven amidst our communities.
“The public is also reminded to report any suspicious activity or movement to the nearest military formation or other security agencies for prompt action,” he further said.