The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, at the weekend, opened the headquarters of the 331 Artillery Tactical Forward Operation Base (FOB) at Buratai, Biu Local Government of Borno State.
The base had been operating from the home of Gen. Buratai, an indigene of Buratai, but the house was partially destroyed when the area was attacked in 2015.
The COAS described the base as a “game changer” in the fight against insurgency as it helped in decimating the terrorists.
He added that incessant attacks by terrorists at Buni Yadi in Yobe State, about an hour drive to Buratai, necessitated establishment of the base to contain their aggression, hinting that more bases would be set up.
Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor recalled a fierce battle in Buratai, particularly at the home of the COAS, which the insurgents tried to take on three occasions.
He stressed the need for a fortified operational base in Buratai to deal with terrorists, noting that the base was established to maintain offensive operations from a fortified location, conduct aggressive patrols and improve on response time.
He said: “The strategic location and importance of Biu, Buratai and environs makes the terrorists highly interested in the area.
“The insurgents carried out several attacks within villages in the vicinity, resulting in deaths, injuries, looting and destruction of property.
“This gave rise to a high sense of fear among inhabitants and most of them have to relocate.”
Irabor said the 331 Artillery Forward Operation Base made it possible for troops to liberate many towns, including Gonori, Gulazama and Talala, which terrorists seized.
Twenty-one persons suspected to be collaborators with Boko Haram terrorists have been arrested in Borno State by the Nigerian Army’s Operation Lafiya Dole.
Acting Director of Army Public Relations Col. Sani Usman said preliminary investigation and profiling of the suspects has begun.
“Such actions by these unpatriotic elements are likely to jeopardise our collective efforts of clearing remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in our country. Though investigations are ongoing, it is important to state that this is a warning to those collaborators that aid terrorism in the Northeast and Borno State, to desist forthwith.
“The Nigerian Army, and indeed Operation LAFIYA DOLE, would not tolerate such acts of sabotage from anybody. The public is also encouraged to report any known or suspected illegality with regards to Operation LAFIYA DOLE to security agencies,” Usman said.