By Molly Kilete, Abuja

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has raised an alarm regarding the plans of terrorist groups and their sponsors to blackmail the military in the coming days.

The DHQ stated that the planned blackmail, which is expected to start soon, is a direct consequence of the intense bombing and destruction of terrorists’ strongholds and logistics bases across the country. These operations specifically target and eliminate key commanders and foot soldiers.

Major General Edward Buba, the Director of Defence Media Operations (DMO), emphasized that the terrorists intend to depict some casualties as innocent citizens rather than their own cohorts in order to discredit the military.

Buba urged the media to be cautious of the tactics employed by these terrorist groups and their sympathizers, highlighting that “our operations have prevented these evil elements from achieving their strategic objectives.”

Assuring the public that the military will continue to decisively deal with the terrorists and prevent them from carrying out attacks as they have done in the past, Buba reported that over the course of the last two weeks, military operations resulted in the elimination of 192 terrorists and the arrest of 341 others. Furthermore, 62 kidnapped hostages were successfully rescued, and 122 ISWAP/JAS combatant terrorists surrendered along with their family members in various theaters of operation.

During the media briefing on the recent military operations, General Buba provided additional details. He revealed that troops had discovered and destroyed 99 dugout pits, 36 storage tanks, 192 cooking ovens, and confiscated 349,970 liters of stolen crude oil, 112,135 liters of illegally refined AGO, 7,560 liters of DPK, and 13,000 liters of PMS. In the Niger Delta region, 37 oil thieves were apprehended, preventing oil theft amounting to an estimated sum of over N821 million.

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General Buba emphasized that the ongoing counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations aim to defeat the terrorists and dismantle their military, administrative, and political capabilities. He highlighted the military’s commitment to relentlessly hunt down the leadership of these terrorist groups across all theatres of operation.

Regarding the airstrikes conducted against the terrorists, Buba stated, “Being a professional force, due diligence by way of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance is painstakingly taken to distinguish the terrorists before air strikes are conducted.” He further explained that these airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of several terrorist leaders and their cohorts hiding in various enclaves across the theatres of operation.

Buba acknowledged that the terrorist groups and their sympathizers may attempt to blackmail the military due to these airstrikes. Their plan is to portray some casualties as innocent citizens rather than cohorts of the terrorists. He urged the media to remain vigilant and not fall for the tactics employed by these groups. He emphasized that the military’s operations have effectively thwarted the strategic objectives of the terrorists.

In summary, the last two weeks of military operations resulted in the neutralization of 192 terrorists, the arrest of 341 individuals, the rescue of 62 kidnapped hostages, and the surrender of 122 ISWAP/JAS combatant terrorists. Additionally, 37 perpetrators of oil theft were apprehended, and a significant amount of weapons, ammunition, and illegal oil products were recovered.

General Buba acknowledged that the road ahead remains challenging, but the military’s objective is to defeat the terrorists and their cohorts by denying them the ability to continue their fight. He emphasized the importance of the support of the people in this endeavour and called on the civil populace and civil societies to unite in a whole-of-society approach to facilitate the total defeat of these terrorist groups.

Buba concluded by stating, “The fighting spirit of our men and women in uniform is strong, resilient, focused, proud, and committed. We understand that we have no choice but to continue the fight to defeat the enemy and create a safer environment for our citizens.”