The Defence Headquarters says the Nigerian military would not join issues with Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, over his recent comment, saying if Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) grows, Boko Haram insurgency would be a child’s play.
Zulum, had last week at the State House in Abuja, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently tame the growing threat posed by the militant group, ISWAP, as well as the military by changing war strategies before or else the Boko Haram insurgency could become a child’s play.
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He had said, “This is an early warning system. We shouldn’t allow ISWAP to grow. ISWAP is more sophisticated, more funded and more educated. We should do everything possible to defeat ISWAP; otherwise, what Boko Haram did will be a child’s play.”
But when asked on Thursday to state the military’s position on the comment, the Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Benard Onyeuko, maintained that the governor only expressed his opinion like every other Nigerian and it has been noted.
“Well, I wouldn’t want to join issues with His Excellency, Governor Zulum. He has made his observations like every other Nigerian, it has been noted. That’s all I can tell you,” the military spokesman said this while answering a question shortly after briefing the newsmen.
Earlier, Onyeuko, while giving updates on military operations across the country between Jan. 20 and Feb. 10 disclosed that the troops of Operation Hadin Kai, had eliminated more than 120 Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorists in the North East in the last three weeks.
According to him, several ISWAP commanders including their Amir and some foreign mercenaries who make improvised explosive devices were killed during air raids and land operations.
He also said so far, no fewer than 965 terrorists and their family members had surrendered to troops in different locations with the theatre of operation during the period, adding that apart from 104 ISWAP members who surrendered recently, 25 abducted victims were rescued during the operations.
The senior military officer disclosed that surrendered terrorists have been properly documented and handed over to the appropriate authorities for necessary action.