The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, has charged the troops to confront and defeat criminal elements terrorising Nigeria, especially in the North-east and North-west.
The army chief who said the troops were better trained and equipped than the criminals, tasked them to deploy their training in the banditry and insurgency fight.
Buratai gave the charge Wednesday while addressing the graduation of 1,142 soldiers from Special Forces training at the Nigerian Army School of Infantry (NASI).
The COAS said they must put in their best and make use of the training they acquired when deployed to various units in the troubled regions to tackle insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminal activities.
The training, designed to strengthen the fight against insurgency in the north-eastern part of Nigeria and banditry in the north-west, is the second in its series.
Tasking the soldiers, Buratai said: “You must go out there to defeat the criminals. They (criminals) don’t have the training we have. They don’t have the weapons we have. I must commend the commandant of NASI and Starter Point Integrated Service Limited who had partnered the Nigerian Army in training you on counter terrorism, anti-banditry amongst other trainings.
“You may also find yourselves doing covert and overt operations, but more of covert; the training would be sustained till the desired results are achieved. We want you to be the hope that will finally get the criminals on their knees; battlefield is now intelligence and initiative to determine the right time to strike.
“As you are being trained together, you will work together on one unit but grouped into platoons and companies in the field to continue with the esprit de corps and cohesion required to fight and defeat the adversaries.”
The army chief, who reiterated his commitment to the welfare of soldiers to boost their morale, ordered immediate promotion of the 1,142 soldiers, most of whom were in the rank of ‘Private’, to their next ranks.
He, however, warned the troops to desist from acts of indiscipline and social media influence and serve their country with diligence.
In his welcome address, NASI Commandant Major-General Kelvin Aligbe, said the graduands were the second batch of special forces being trained on rigorous activities for fight against insurgency and anti-banditry, “close contact combat, camouflage, unexpected incident operations and extraction under fire,”
17 terrorists killed
Meanwhile, the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole Tuesday killed 17 Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists in an ambush on the Damboa – Maiduguri road.
Coordinator Defence Media Operations Major-General John Enenche said this in a statement Wednesday in Abuja.
He said two soldiers died while four were wounded in the encounter.
Enenche said the success was recorded by the troops of 25 Task Force Brigade, deployed at Damboa in conjunction with elements of Sector 2 Special Forces, while on clearance operations along the route.
He said the troops outflanked and engaged the criminals with overwhelming volume of firepower forcing them to withdraw in disarray.
According to him, in the aftermath of the encounter, 17 Boko Haram/ISWAP criminals were neutralised while several others were believed to have narrowly escaped with varying degrees of gunshot wounds.
He added that cache of arms and ammunition were equally recovered by the gallant troops.
“Regrettably, two valiant soldiers paid the supreme price while four others were wounded in action.
“However, the wounded in action soldiers have been evacuated to a military medical facility and currently responding positively to treatment.
“Meanwhile the Theatre Commander Operation LAFIYA DOLE has been directed to immediately deploy a Special Forces Battalion to reinforce and dominate Damboa–Bulabulin–Maiduguri axis, to completely deny the terrorists any chance of escape during the final assault against the criminals.
“Members of the general public, particularly residents of the area are also requested to remain calm, law abiding and continue with their routine activities as all necessary measures have been put in place by the Theatre Command to ensure all routes are safe for commuting without fear of attack by the criminals.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai commends the troops for their resilience and patriotism in crushing the remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province criminals.
“He also urges them to maintain the tempo against the criminals as we approach the end of insurgency in our country,” he said.