Chief of Army Staff Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has given a marching order to the troops in the war front to end the war against Boko Haram now.
He gave a deadline of end of this month to finish off the terrorists so that “troops will be able to return to the barracks by 2017”.
Gen. Buratai however urged his men to treat arrested insurgents gently.
He gave the directive in a goodwill message titled ‘no more time to waste’ to troops of “Operation Lafiya Dole”, the name for the operation against insurgency in the Northeast. “No stone should be left unturned” in the effort to end the war, he said.
Gen. Buratai said: “ I am sending to you all, the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole best wishes as the Yuletide approaches, I commend you for your sacrifices, commitment, loyalty and courage in the service of our fatherland.
“I wish to make this call to action and wake up call to you all and to emphasize that we must immediately begin to embark on the final aggressive action and comprehensive sweep of the operational theater with a view to ending the operation on a very high note. In this regard, no stone should be left unturned. I therefore call on all officers and soldiers to buckle up and ensure that remnants of Boko Haram terrorists are completely cleared.
“I hope to be with you sometime this month to motivate and positively influence the ongoing operations. This is with a view to having a colourful end of year and peaceful Yuletide in the North East and indeed Nigeria. I urge all commanders to plan and embark on effective patrols, raids, ambushes and deliberate attacks in conjunction with other Services, especially the Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy, to rescue all those abducted by the terrorists.”
The Army chief said “captured and surrendered Boko Haram terrorists” must be treated humanely and fairly and in strict accordance with the provisions of International Humanitarian Law and Laws of Armed Conflict.
He said his men must be prepared to enter all fortresses, camps, dens and enclaves of the Boko Haram to flush them out and dominate these areas to ensure they are not reoccupied. He said this month would decide the success or failure of the operation.
Gen. Buratai also said “I wish to reiterate that December is a month of decision.
It is either we succeed in clearing the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists or we continue to live in perpetual circle of their atrocities in the North East. I hereby want to reassure all troops that I intend to return everybody back to barracks in 2017, only leaving behind a strong, highly mobile, effective and motivated force that will continue to do the good work that we have already started.
“In this regard we shall also bring reassurances to the populace as normalcy finally returns to the area. “
Operation Lafiya Dole has successfully pushed back Boko Haram terrorists, taking much of the territories formerly held by the insurgents. However, Boko Haram still operates in some villages, especially in Northern Borno.