Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has disclosed that 60 percent of the Boko Haram elements operating in the north east region especially on the fringes of Sambisa Forest including the Lake Chad Basin are foreigners.
Lt. Gen Buratai said the information is based on intelligence report extracted from most of the insurgents that were recently captured by the army are discovered to be foreigners.
Lt. Gen. Buratai who disclosed this in Maiduguri Thursday while playing host to the Special Representatives of Secretary General and Head of United Nations Office for West Africa, Mohammed Ibn- Chambas who was on a solidarity visit at the headquarters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital noted that the renewed onslaught by Boko Haram will not deter the Army from prosecuting the war to against the insurgents to the end.
He commended the world body for the support given to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) especially at its earlier formation when he was the pioneer commander, adding that, MNJTF has achieved a lot in the fight against terrorism due to the solid foundation that was laid.
The Chief of Army Staff thanked Mr. Ibn Chambas and his entourage for the visit, stressing that, “the UN is committed to achieving global peace, that is why it has committed a lot of efforts and resources in assisting the north east”, while promising the readiness of the Nigerian Army to partner with the UN in restoring peace to the north east region.
In his response, Mr. Chambas commended Nigerian Army for being very professional through the fight against the Boko Haram insurgents, stressing that, “your conduct has been exemplary and it’s in line with international best practices”.
He noted that the UN has consistently condemned the activities of Boko Haram in the region, while praising the neighboring countries for joining hands to fight a common enemy.
Mr. Chambas also informed that the UN is very much conscious of the hardship experienced by the people in the course of the crisis, just as he promised to continue to collaborate with other NGOs in reducing the sufferings of the people.
He also extended his gratitude to Borno State Government, National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and other humanitarian agencies working in the state to bring succor to the displaced people, promising that the UN will do everything possible to support, rehabilitate and resettle the victims of insurgency.
He commiserated with the Army over the recent killing of soldiers in the frontline by Boko Haram.
“The UN want to sympathize with the Nigerian Army over the unfortunate incident that took place recently in Malam Fatori where Lt. Col. Abu Ali, six soldiers as well as other officers and men who died and paid a supreme price on the hands of insurgents.
“I want to thank the Chief of Army staff and governor Kashim Shettima to host me in Borno, and i urged you (military) not to relent in your gallant effort to degrade remnants of insurgents and restore peace on the land,” Mr. Chambas said.
Mr. Chambas was accompanied on the visit by some high profile UN diplomats.