By Kingsley Omonobi
Abuja—Nigerian troops fighting to clear out Boko Haram terrorists from the North East backed by Air fire support of the Air Task Force, have liberated over 700 farmers, fishermen and members of their families hitherto held hostage as slave workers by the terrorist group.
According to authorities of the 8 division, Nigerian Army, the liberation of the large number of families was an indication that Boko Haram structures in the Lake Chad vicinity and environ communities had collapsed.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations in a statement, Col. Timothy Antigha said, “Over 700 farmers, fishermen and members of their families hitherto held by Boko Haram terrorists as farm workers have fled the various islands in Lake Chad to Monguno.
“The exodus of the former Boko Haram abductees is not unconnected to a follow up operation which was conducted a few days ago to exploit the gains of the recent successful Operation Deep Punch 2 in Chikun Gudu and adjourning localities.
“The follow up operation which was conducted by the Nigerian Air Force and 38 Task Force Artillery Brigade, 8 Division, Operation Lafiya Dole, was targeted at destroying Boko Haram infrastructure and logistics.
“The infrastructure bombed include communication centres, fabrication yards, bomb making equipment, vehicles and other means of sustenance. The ensuing collapse of their command structure and means of survival have therefore triggered the abandonment of the islands and escape of the abductees to Monguno.
“So far, over 700 former Boko Haram abductees, comprising adult males, females and children have been received by troops of 242 Battalion in Monguno. Profiling of the displaced persons is on- going to ensure that no terrorist takes advantage of the situation to sneak into the town.
“Preliminary Investigation will focus on finding out where wanted Boko Haram Commanders have migrated to. Meanwhile, two pregnant women among the abductees gave birth yesterday in the holding centres.”
Colonel Antigha recalled that two weeks ago the initial wave of Boko Haram abductees who regained freedom following an offensive military operation in Chikun Gudu was similarly received in Monguno.