The Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, on Saturday inaugurated the newly constructed headquarters of the 331 Artillery Tactical Forward Operation Base (FOB) at Buratai, Biu Local Government Area of Borno State
Before now the base operated from the residence of Mr. Buratai, a Lieutenant General, and an indigene of the area.
The house was partially destroyed when the area was attacked in 2015.
The chief of army staff described the base as a “game changer” in the fight against insurgency as it helped in decimating the terrorists.
Mr. Buratai said that incessant attacks by terrorists at Buni Yadi in Yobe , about one hour drive to Buratai town, necessitated the establishment of the base to contain their aggression in the area and decimate them.
He said more of such bases would be set up in other areas in the North East.
Lucky Irabor, a Major General and Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, recalled that “fierce battle took place in Buratai, particularly the residence of the chief of army staff which the insurgents tried to take on three occasions.
Mr. Irabor underscored the need to have a fortified operational base in Buratai to deal with the terrorists.
According to him, the need to maintain offensive operations from a fortified location, conduct aggressive patrols and improve on response time in order to dominate the entire area, informed the idea of establishing the forward operation base.
Mr. Irabor said the terrorists used the town and its environs as supply routes in giving food and fuel to their members in Alargano forest, Buni Yadi and Gonori in 2011.
The Buratai district, which links Biu from Damaturu axis, also links three other state capitals in the North East- Maiduguri, Gombe and Yola.
He said: “The strategic location and importance of Biu, Buratai and environs makes the Boko Haram terrorists highly interested in the area.
“The insurgents carried out several attacks within the villages in the vicinity, resulting to the loss of lives, injuries and looting, and destruction of properties.
“This gave rise to high sense of fear among the inhabitants and most of them have to relocate.”
Mr. Irabor said that the 331 Artillery Forward Operation Base had made it possible for troops to liberate many towns in the area, including Gonori, Gulazama and Talala which the terrorists seized during the heat of the insurgency.