By Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian Army on Saturday landed in the dreaded and expansive Sambisa forest with the possibility of finding and rescuing the abducted Chibok girls from the Boko Haram terrorists.
THISDAY was reliably informed on Saturday that the operation to liberate the terrorist enclave may not last more than one week as most of the strikes and special operations have knocked out the enemy defence systems.
According to a military source the sustained aerial bombardment by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) for weeks now have now made it possible for the Army to move in today for ground operation. “The operation is nearing its conclusion and the Army will be moving in tomorrow (today) and I am sure in a matter of days, if plans goes accordingly the operations will be over.
The Air Force have been bombarding the area for weeks now and with the right kind of weapon, the Army is ready for the final onslaught”, the source said. The source further confirmed that even though there is no concrete evidence that the Chibok girls were in the forest, it will however be the top priority of the military to find and rescue them if that should be the reality.
According to the source, “the fear is that some of the girls might be amongst the women killed in Bama and other parts of the liberated towns, and Sambisa offers the more viable hope of all the remaining options to rescue the girls”.
It could be recalled that the Nigerian Military in the last eight weeks of sustained offensive have recaptured over 90 per cent of the territories that were once under Boko Haram occupation with the exception of Sambisa forest.
However, several towns leading to the forest including Allagano have been confirmed liberated last two weeks by the Nigerian Army Director of Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, thereby clearing the way for the final onslaught.
In the same vein, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah in a recent special interview with select journalists in Abuja, confirmed that the battle with Boko Haram terrorists is almost over.
Minimah even assured that with the way Nigerians react to issues, within a space of six months Boko Haram atrocities might have been forgotten.
“I will tell you that militarily, they (Boko Haram) have been defeated, but as armed groups, thieves, armed robbers, or people who go about to steal, burn markets and loot to go back to the forests that will continue for a while”, he stated.
However, he added, the other programmes of government will take care of those ones. Bomb explosion also happens in civilised worlds where there are no terrorists.
He also said with the expected recapture of the Sambisa forest the Chibok girls, which he admitted not knowing their whereabouts might be rescued.
“Yes, by the time we capture Sambisa forest completely, we will be able to find out where the Chibok girls are. Because as it is now, anybody you ask, they will say they did not see them, they are not here, they are not there. But when we capture Sambisa forest we will be able to know where they are and government will take it up from there”, he assured.