A series of military operations launched Thursday by the Nigerian army at Boko Haram hideouts led to the rescue of at least 59 civilians held captive by the Islamist militant group, according to military spokesman Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman.
Usman says those rescued would be medically examined and rehabilitated before being integrated into society or released to their families.
Usman says the raids that targeted the hideouts also led to the seizure of Land Rover vehicles, a tipper truck and weapons at militants’ camps in Kashingeri, Wale and Kushingari areas in Borno State, in northern Nigeria.
Usman says the military operations are part of the army’s bid to rid the country of Boko Haram militants, who have been carrying out deadly attacks on unarmed civilians in parts of northern Nigeria.
“Whenever there is success of this nature, it goes a long way in boosting the morale of not just the fighting forces, but the overall Nigerian population also,” he said.
The ongoing military operation against Boko Haram comes after Chief of Army Staff Major General Tukur Yusuf Buraitai embarked on a major shake-up of the military. He approved postings and appointments of 334 senior officers with some taking effect Thursday.
Usman says Nigerians seem to welcome the new appointments.
“It is a long-awaited thing and of course now that it has happened given by the positive comments and commendations,” said Usman.
Usman also says some of the commanding officers involved in the fight against Boko Haram were affected by the changes. He says some of the senior military officers have voluntarily retired, which created vacancies that needed to be filled.
“This has affected some of the principal staff officers at the Defense and Army headquarters as well as some of the general officers commanding the division and other key appointments in the Nigerian army,” he said.
Usman says there are reasons to believe that the shake-up could change the dynamics of the military offensives against Boko Haram militants.
“It will definitely positively affect the fight against terrorism,” he said. “The morale is very high. It is just like rejuvenating, giving people right commands and appointment that will enhance the fight against terrorism.”