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Troops ‘recapture’ Gwoza from Boko Haram

Fredrick Nwabufo

Nigerian troops have retaken Gwoza, the last stronghold of Boko Haram in Borno state, pushing the militants to the fringes of the country.

According to Chris Olukolade, a major-general and director of defence information, who disclosed the latest feat of the Nigerian military to journalists in Abuja on Friday‎, Gwoza was freed of the militants this morning.

Olukolade further disclosed‎ that Nigerian troops had engaged the militants in a fierce fight running them out of the town they had declared “darul hikima” (Islamic headquarters).

“Just this morning, the gallant troops of the Nigerian military in a concerted and well-coordinated land and air operations have liberated Gwoza, the headquarters of their so called-caliphate, which they renamed ‘darul hikima,'” he said.


“This was preceded by successive sack of terrorists from towns and villages leading to Gwoza, the main objective.

Several of the terrorists have died and many of them captured in the process. A lot of arms and ammunition have been recovered and the administrative headquarters completely destroyed.

“A massive cordon and search has commenced to locate any fleeing terrorists or hostages in their custody. Mopping up of entire Gwoza and her suburbs is ongoing.”


Olukolade stated that the Nigerian military had been able “to take over virtually all the enclaves‎ and hideouts where the militants were marauding”.

However, he added that the war against insurgency was not over yet, as troops were still scouring the northeast for vestiges of the‎ militants.

“It is observed that some of the terrorists are currently fleeing towards border areas,” he said.

“The fleeing terrorists will expectedly run into subsequent encounter with contingents of partners in the multinational joint task force who have been mandated to contain them accordingly.

“The mop up operation in Gwoza and other liberated areas will continue in order to ensure that no vestiges of terrorists or terrorism remain in our country.”

Bama‎, another stronghold of the militants in Borno, was retaken by Nigerian troops two weeks ago.

While speaking with a group of international election observers on Wednesday, President Goodluck Jonathan had assured Nigerians that Gwoza would be re-taken from Boko Haram “latest on Friday”.

“We believe that by Thursday, or latest Friday, we will be able to take over Gwoza. If we take over Gwoza, it will not take us more than one week to clean up,” he had said.


The Gwoza capture is expected to help in clarifying the whereabouts of the Chibok girls abducted in April 2014, considering that on Tuesday, Mbutu Papka, a woman who was recently freed after eight months in Boko Haram captivity, said the girls were in the town.

“In the camp at Gwoza, there were clear demarcations between where people were kept…. No one was allowed anywhere near the specific location of the girls, which was being guarded round the clock,” Papka had said.

“The Chibok girls, other captives and Boko Haram members and their family members all had their separate areas secured, though the security in the area where the girls are kept is visibly different and much tighter.”

Photo credit: Getty

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