The Nigerian army says its troops have killed 20 insurgents and captured 17 others in its ongoing Deep Punch operation.
Timothy Antigha, deputy director public relations, 8 division, in a statement said the operation which is part of the Lafiya Dole exercise has been ongoing for two weeks.
He said 100 elderly men, women and children being held against their will were also rescued by the troops.
“In continuation of Operation Deep Punch 2, designed to smoke out Boko Haram terrorists inhabiting remote islands in Lake Chad basin lying within Nigerian territory, troops of 8 Division, Nigerian Army, on Operation Lafiya Dole, supported by soldiers of the Armed Forces Strike Group have inflicted heavy casualty on Boko Haram terrorists,” the statement read.
“The operation which commenced about 2 weeks ago was preceded by coordinated air and artillery bombardment of islands and localities occupied by terrorists, and from where they sneak into Magumeri, Kauram and other locations to loot property and attack security personnel and villagers. Islands and villages cleared so far include Arena Chiki, Chikun Gudu, Arena Waje, Sa’ada and Juwe among others.
“Meanwhile, 20 terrorists have been killed, 17 others captured, while over 100 elderly men, women and children have been rescued. Preliminary investigation has revealed that a large number of the rescued persons were held against their will and forced to work in farms under life-threatening conditions and penurious wages. More investigation and interviews will be conducted before the rescued persons are handed over for further action.
“The operation which is ongoing has yielded handsomely as terrorists abandon vehicles, arms and ammunition, as well as assorted equipment when troops swooped on them. The troops have recovered 1Mercedes Benz Truck, 2 Toyota Land Cruiser Gun Trucks, 2 Toyota Hilux Pick Up, 1 Anti – Aircraft Machine Gun, 5 AK-47 Riffles, 3 Fabrique Nationals (FN) Riffles, 2 G3 Riffles and 1 Pump Action Riffle. Other items include 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) tube, 2 Bombs, 2 Very High Frequency (VHF) Radios and 1 Night Vision Goggle.
“The troops also recovered 55 Rounds of 5.56 X 45mm ammunition, 5 Bangalore Torpedo, Two 120mm Mortar Bombs, 1000 Rounds of 7.62mm Ball Metal Link Ammunition, 55 Rounds of 7.62mm Ammunition and 108 Rounds of 12.7mm Ammunition with links, as well as 2 memory cards, 2 Hydraulic Jacks and a 1.5 Amph Battery.”
The army said while no member of its troops has been killed so far, “six soldiers sustained various injuries” and have been evacuated for medical attention.