Nigeria’s military is gathering intelligence from captured Islamist Boko Haram militants as well as captives held by the militants.
Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, spokesman for the army, told VOA Wednesday, “I can confirm to you that we have been gathering very useful and credible information from those arrested, the Boko Haram terrorists as well as those who were rescued from the clutches of the Boko Haram terrorists.”
He declined to give details of the intelligence the army has so far gathered due to security reasons.
“We are making tremendous progress in the fight against the insurgency,” said Usman. “We have destroyed most of their known camps. We are now in the Sambisa forest, and we are making all efforts to make sure that [the] Sambisa Forest would be rid of Boko Haram terrorists.”
The army, Usman said, is combing the Sambisa Forest - a former stronghold of the militants, to destroy all their camps as a joint regional military offensive continues.
Usman's comments came after lawmakers in neighboring Chad extended the mandate of the country’s military in the fight against the militants.
Usman said extension of the Chadian military mandate will help with regional efforts to defeat the Boko Haram militants.
“It is going to be of great help to the Nigerian military and of course the fight against insurgency,” said Usman. “Remember we have not had the desired cooperation from the beginning of this war against terrorism. But, now we are having it, we want to get more stronger and with the renewal of the mandate, I think it’s quite good and it is a welcome development.”
Borno State governor, Kassim Shettima has called for the military to expedite action to rescue the abducted Chibok school girls.
Local media quoted Shettima as saying “We are suspecting that Chibok girls are living with the insurgents in bunkers. I think the military must carry out their operations beyond the surface earth.”
“I believe the governor means well, and we welcome suggestions and credible and timely information from well-meaning Nigerians,” said Usman. “Anytime we get information of that nature, we make sure that we give it the desired attention or the priority it deserves.
“I can assure you that the military has already been operating in Sambisa Forest and as of now, they are still battling to make sure that they destroy all the camps of Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa Forest,” he added.
Usman says the army welcomes Shettima’s call. He also said the army is following all leads to rescue citizens abducted by the Boko Haram militants.
“So, it’s not just about the Chibok abducted school girls, it’s about the fight against terrorism and all other abducted people by this terrorist group. And if in the process we are able to rescue them as well, then fine and good. So, we are not ruling out all possibilities. The whole essence of the operation is to make sure that we are able to destroy the camps and rescue all abducted people by the Boko Haram,” Usman added.