Scores of Boko Haram terrorists drowned in Lake Chad at the weekend as they sought an escape route following a siege to the fishing town of Baga, Borno State, by Nigerian troops.
The insurgents had seized the town last month, and then proceeded to plunder the military base in the town.
But the troops had the last laugh yesterday after catching the insurgents unawares in a complex operation which the Defence Headquarters said involved clearing over 1,500 land mines laid across the area by the terrorists.
Many other insurgents died during the ground and air strikes, the DHQ said.
Five anti-aircraft guns belonging to the sect were destroyed while 34 motorcycles and five vehicles were recovered from them.
The Director of Defence Information, Major General Chris Olukolade, said in a statement that “a large number of terrorists drowned in the Lake Chad as they fled the heavy bombardment by Nigerian Air force heralding the advance of Nigerian troops on mission to flush them out of Baga.
“Not even the strategy of mining over 1500 spots with land mines on the routes leading to the town could save the terrorists from the aggressive move of advancing troops.
“All the land mines were skillfully cleared one after the other. Eventually, the resistance of the terrorists collapsed and the land forces finally stormed the town in the early hours of Friday.
“Many of the terrorists died while an unknown but substantial number of them fled with various degrees of injury, in the series of encounter along the routes of advance as troops headed for Baga.”
He said the troops began clearing the terrorists from Baga on arrival in the town early yesterday.
A comprehensive cordon and search phase of military operation, he said, “has now commenced to enable troops mop up arms and ammunition and also apprehend any terrorist who might be hiding in the vicinity.”
The exercise will also determine details of the casualties inflicted or incurred in the course of the operations.
He said troops are also engaging the insurgents in 12 other locations: Gajigana, Ngaze, Ngenzai, Marte Junction, Mile 90, Yoyo, Kekeno, Kukawa, Cross Kauwa, Kangarwa, Amirari “and other localities where troops have flushed out the terrorists in the operations preceding the entry to Baga.”
“The troops are now dominating and conducting aggressive patrols in the locations. The morale of troops remain high,” Olukolade added.
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