More than 2,000 Nigerian troops have begun an offensive to retake territory seized by Islamist insurgents in the remote northeast, some of them raiding camps in a game reserve, a military source told AFP Thursday.
The military has launched a sweeping operation to flush out fighters from Boko Haram, a radical group which says it wants to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.
The offensive follows an admission by President Goodluck Jonathan that Boko Haram had “taken over” parts of the northeast and declared war against the Nigerian government, prompting him to impose emergency measures in three states.
A military source who requested anonymity told AFP that operations had started in at least one area of Borno state, the epicenter of the insurgency.
“Our men raided some terrorist camps in the Sambisa Game Reserve,” in northern Borno, early on Wednesday, he said. In January, the military stormed Boko Haram training facilities in the same area.
The source added that 2,000 troops had been deployed to Borno but declined to comment on the number of forces sent to the two other affected states, Yobe and Adamawa.
Army spokesman Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru refused to discuss figures.
Residents in all three states have reported seeing an increased number of military personnel.
Zangina Kyarimi, who lives in the remote town of Marti in northern Borno towards the border with Chad, told AFP that “large military teams” arrived late Wednesday.
“I saw dozens of military vans and trucks accompanied by tanks,” he said by phone from the town which is considered a Boko Haram stronghold.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر