The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, has raised the alarm that terrorists loyal to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) are regrouping in the Lake Chad axis.
Ndume, who represents Borno South in the Senate, raised the alarm in an interview with newsmen on Sunday while reacting to the attacks on Askira in Borno by ISWAP fighters on Saturday.
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Daily Trust had reported that a brigadier general, some soldiers and many terrorists were killed during a confrontation with Nigerian troops, who battled to avert an attack by the terrorists.
Brig-Gen. Dzarma Zirkusu, who was the Commander of the 28 Task Force Brigade, Chibok, was on a reinforcement mission to Askira in Borno South, which was under siege by terrorists when he was ambushed.
Senator Ndume commiserated with the Nigerian Army over the incident and hailed Brig-Gen. Zirkusu as a gallant soldier, who took the fight to the terrorists.
He said though the troops had been taking out key ISWAP commanders in Borno, the intensity of the attack on Askira was worrisome and urged other security agencies to give the Nigerian Army the needed support.
The lawmaker also urged residents around the Chibok area to be calm and not relocate, assuring that the Nigerian Army has what it takes to take the fight to the insurgents.
He said, “I want to express my condolences to the Nigerian Army over the death of the General who died along Chibok road.
“ISWAP terrorists attacked a town there. They know that the General was the major obstacle to their operation. They laid an ambush and rammed a bomb-laddened car into his vehicle.
“He was a gallant soldier. He took the fight to the terrorists. His death has sent panic to people in that area.
“I am aware that some people around that Chibok area have started thinking of relocating.
“Some want to go to Mubi and other places. We are trying to urge them to remain there. The insurgency is coming to an end.
“This is not the end, but the beginning of the end of terrorists. I know that the Army has what it takes to take the fight to them.
“There is a need to urge other security agencies to give the Army the needed support. We also need to urge vigilante groups to assist them.
“For now, we will assume that it was an isolated case. But the intensity with which they came is worrisome.
“They came with more than 10 gun trucks. They are also regrouping around Borno North. That’s the Lake Chad axis.
“The military is aware and the Air Force is providing surveillance in the area. It was a revenge mission. The Army has been taking out key ISWAP commanders and they had their revenge.
“Last week, for instance, they abducted relatives of the Emir of Askira. They also abducted some passengers along that road. If the Army sustains the temple, we will win this insurgency.
“The equipments are arriving gradually. We are monitoring. As a committee, we will go and see what had been brought into the country.
“This is an improvement. The Army is very rapid in responding. The Army is involved in about 33 states now. They’re under pressure.”