The Defence Headquarters says Leah Sharibu and some aid workers kidnapped by the Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast have not be rescued as troops are cautious not to put the captives’ lives in danger.
Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier-General Onyema Nwachukwu, said this in Abuja yesterday while addressing journalists on the Defence Headquarters Coordinated Joint Operations.
Sharibu was among the over 100 students kidnapped by the terrorists at the Government Girls’ Science and Technical College Dapchi,Yobe State, on February 19, 2018. Others were released.
Nwachukwu said: “Troops of operation Lafiya Dole troops have been treading cautiously because these people are all in the hands of the terrorists and any reckless move may result in their annihilation by the terrorists just to ward off the troops, it is a very complex and risky operation but the troops are working day and night to ensure that they are rescued”.
He said the terrorists only used the abductions to raise funds to support their illicit activities. He said that the troops would not relent until they rescued the captives.
He countered a recent statement credited to Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum that the insurgents were in control of some parts of the state. Nwachukwu said:”The terrorists have been defeated and pushed to the Tumbus where they hibernate and come out to attack soft targets.
“Boko Haram is not holding any part of our country. Boko Haram and ISWAP have been decimated and defeated. They’ve been pushed to the Tumbus, that is, the island between Nigeria and neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon where they have an enclave, where they hibernate, come out, watch out for soft targets and coordinate attacks.”
He said over the past three months, the troops deployed for operation in Hadarin Daji in Zamfara State and its environs had neutralised several bandits in fierce combats and arrested 389 others.
He said 1048 kidnapped victims were rescued and 48 suspected kidnappers arrested; while 170 assorted fire arms were recovered. He six soldiers, one air craftsman and three policemen lost their lives during the operations.