How military killed top Boko Haram/ISWAP leaders, followers – Defence Minister

Maj-Gen. Bashir Magaji Boko Haram/ISWAP Terrorists

The Minister of Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magaji has revealed how the military killed top Boko Haram/ Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) leaders and followers in North East region of the country.

Magaji stated that the target of the military is to ensure the total defeat of the terrorists in the country.

The minister said the Boko Haram/ISWAP leaders and followers were killed during the military’s sustained bombarding of terrorist hideouts to flush out state enemies and ensure peace and stability in the land.

He stated this on Monday at a joint news conference in Abuja.

Bashir said, “The critical military objective of total defeat of the terrorists in the North East, is already being achieved. Synchronized ground and air operations have continued to inflict huge casualty on the terrorists and have been forcing many of them, including commanders and foot soldiers to surrender in droves, with members of their families.

“Whilst areas where terrorists hitherto had some freedom of action are being cleared, socio-economic life is gradually returning to most parts of the North East. Erstwhile Internally-displaced persons are now returning to their ancestral homes to start life all over, in dignity, under safer and more secure environment.

“Generally, in the past four weeks, more than 3,407 Boko Haram terrorists including members of their families have surrendered. Additionally, 66 terrorists were neutralized including one of the key ISWAP Commanders, Alhaji Modu Chaka Bem Bem and 20 of his fighters, while 55 were arrested and 52 civilians were rescued.

“Also troops recovered large quantities of ammunition and illicit drugs. The surrendered and arrested terrorists have been subjected to profiling and the relevant legal processes.

“During the operation, many terrorists were neutralized including a high profile terrorist leader who was on the wanted list of the military named Alhaji Abdulkareem Lawal (aka Abdulkareem Boss) and 27 of his gang as well as several others arrested while several bandits’ camps were cleared.

“Also, several kidnap victims were rescued and many rustled animals recovered. Military operations in the areas are now forcing hardened leaders of terrorists groups to surrender and embrace peace in the North West Zone. These operations would continue in greater intensity with the aim of restoring peace, security, law and order to all the operational areas

“Similarly, Operation WHIRL PUNCH, which covers Kaduna and Niger states, has been recently re-organized to also cover the critical Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, which had a defunct stand-alone operation codenamed Operation THUNDER STRIKE. It is pertinent to note that a huge volume of more than 30,000 vehicles ply the expressway on weekdays and about 50,000 vehicles during weekends, which highlights the socio-economic importance of the road.

“Additionally, as part of Operation WHIRL PUNCH, a subsidiary operation codenamed Operation FOREST SANITY has also been launched to flush out the terrorists from the forests that straddle Kaduna and Niger States. These efforts were geared towards flushing out criminal elements from the Kaduna – Abuja Expressway and its environs, and I am pleased to inform that the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway has been secured through a combined effort of the Armed Forces, the Police and other security agencies. In this regards, ground operations supported by air assets have resulted in several terrorists being neutralized including a notorious terrorist, Alhaji Shanono with 20 of his gang members with weapons and equipment destroyed while other suspected terrorists were arrested,” Magaji said.

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