BAGA (Nigeria), Feb 23 — Nigeria’s military said yesterday that the offensive against Boko Haram was progressing, claiming soldiers had recovered stocks of arms abandoned by insurgents fleeing the recaptured town of Baga.
“The cordon and search as well as patrol of the localities continue while the offensive on terrorists is progressing in other areas of the theatre of the counter terrorist campaign,” military spokesman General Chris Olukolade said in a statement.
Troops engaged in cordon and search operations in Baga have continued to discover arms of various types and provenance that were dumped by fleeing insurgents in houses and surrounding areas, the statement said.
Many abandoned or destroyed motorcycles have also been found, it said.
The town, a fishing hub on the shore of Lake Chad in the far north of Borno state in northeast Nigeria, was retaken on Saturday morning.
A soldier was stabbed and another was shot during a close quarter battle, which ensued as troops caught up with fleeing terrorists, it added.
Nigerian military claims to have recaptured the town of Baga from Boko Haram came more than a month after it was overrun in what is feared to be the worst massacre in the six-year insurgency that has claimed more than 13,000 lives.
There was no independent corroboration of Baga returning to army control, as thousands of the town’s residents fled after Boko Haram attacked on January 3. Hundreds of people, if not more, were killed in the following days.
In an interview published in a national newspaper yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan said he had underestimated Boko Haram Islamists.
Over one million people have been left homeless since 2009 as the rebels have sought to carve out an Islamic state in northeastern Nigeria.
The extremists have recently extended their violent campaign into nations neighbouring Nigeria’s northeast as regional forces pursue them. — AFP