Tags: boko haram | stronghold | nigerian | troops | retreat

Boko Haram Stronghold Forces Nigerian Troops to Retreat? No, Leaders Say

By    |   Friday, 24 Apr 2015 03:55 PM

Nigerian troops continued advancing toward Boko Haram's last stronghold, and leaders spoke out Thursday to refute reports that land mines had turned forces back.

It had been reported that troops retreated from the Sambisa Forest after three vigilantes were killed by an anti-vehicle mine, according to Reuters.

"It's not true that our troops are retreating, in fact we are still marching forward in Sambisa. Our troops are still in there," defense spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade told Reuters by telephone.

An unidentified soldier had previously told the news organization, "The soldiers have retreated to Bama because of mines. They had been on the road but that made them vulnerable, so they moved to the bush but there are mines planted there (too)."

BBC reported on Wednesday that ground troops had joined the Sambisa offensive, which is believed to be the last known stronghold of the Boko Haram. The site is near where the Chibok schoolgirls were kidnapped, and it’s believed some of them may be held there.

The Nigerian military has been taking back the territory held by the militants since February, the BBC said.

Leadership, a Nigerian newspaper, reported also that troops were in Sambisa Forest, and  Olukolade said Nigerian soldiers are “trained for counter-terrorism.”

“What makes it difficult to get to Sambisa Forest? All of it is strategic, gentlemen. We are not even completely out of Sambisa Forest as I am talking to you. We are in Sambisa Forest and we are in places contiguous to it,” Leadership quoted Olukolade. “But we have a major plan in mind which I should not be disclosing now. We are not weak, we have the capacity.”

This week, a video released by the Islamic State re-emphasized links between IS and Boko Haram, BBC reported.

“IS accepted a pledge of allegiance from Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in March, giving the group its first foothold in sub-Saharan Africa in its efforts to create a global caliphate,” BBC said. “The latest images glorify Boko Haram fighters, describing those killed in battle as martyrs.”

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Nigerian troops continued advancing toward Boko Haram's last stronghold, and leaders spoke out Thursday to refute reports that land mines had turned forces back.
boko haram, stronghold, nigerian, troops, retreat
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2015-55-24
Friday, 24 Apr 2015 03:55 PM
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