The Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has dismissed reports making the rounds in some section of the media that soldiers have withdrawn from the Sambisa forest which is reputed to be the stronghold of the Boko Haram insurgents, and that insurgents have gained control of some territories in Borno state.
Speaking through a statement on Tuesday, DHQ also described reports claiming that troops fled in the face of an onslaught from the insurgents at Marte, also in Borno, as false.
DHQ further called on the media to avoid reports that helps in promoting the cause of the insurgents.
“The reports by some media outfits claiming that terrorists are now in control of Mafa in Borno State are false. The truth is that an attempt by a group of fleeing terrorists who strayed towards the town and engaged in their typical suicide attack was duly repelled by troops,” it said. ”
Similarly, the claim by some media organisations that terrorists chased out troops and took over Marte cannot be verified as troops were busy elsewhere during the said attack.
“However, all efforts to track the terrorists who were reported to have attacked the town have not indicated their presence as claimed. Surveillance activities are however ongoing although there has been no indication of the large number of terrorists as being claimed in some reports attributed to anonymous sources. The terrorist are certainly no longer capable of that level of coordinated action by thousands of terrorists as reported.”
The DHQ also dismissed reports that troops had withdrawn from Sambisa, stating that the operation to expel the insurgents from their last known stronghold was in progress. “Also, troops have not retreated from Sambisa forest as claimed by same sources. Rather, the operation is progressing and gaining increasing momentum towards clearing all terrorists hideouts in the forest,” it said.
“It is noteworthy that it is becoming common for stories of attacks on some remote settlements to be fabricated and attributed to anonymous or unidentifiable source in remote places. This is apparently the work of terrorists’ sympathisers or propagandists.
“Military operations to eliminate all terrorists’ hideouts are going on well and the terrorists are being seriously decimated. They will continue to be pursued and prevented from constituting danger to civilian population in their desperation for survival, suicide or publicity.
“The media is advised to ignore fabrication being churned out by some terrorists’ sympathizers trying to encourage the terrorists who are in disarray.
The truth is that the operation to decimate them from Nigerian territories is progressing well. The military will not be dissuaded by the resurgence of false reports on the operations. The progress will be prosecuted as necessary.”