The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said he celebrated Christmas with troops in Gwoza, he also attested to the success so far recorded in the ongoing counter insurgency operations in the North-East.
Buratai, who spoke at Gwoza, the headquarters of Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State, also said the celebration demonstrated the resilience of the Nigerian Army in the operations.
He commended the troops of 26 Task Force Brigade, whose headquarters is located in Gwoza, for securing the town and its environs.
The Boko Haram insurgents had captured Gwoza in 2014 and declared the town the headquarters of their caliphate until April 2015, when the military liberated it from the terrorists.
Represented by the Chief of Administration, Maj.Gen. Ibrahim Alkali, the Chief of Army Staff urged the troops to maintain the tempo in the effort to flush out the remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists from the North-East.
Since his assumption of office in 2015, the army chief has made it a tradition to celebrate with troops in the North-East to boost their morale.
He celebrated the 2016 Christmas with soldiers at Damasak in the west of Borno, a border area between Nigeria and Niger Republic.
Buratai also celebrated the 2017 Eid-el-Kabir with troops at Mafa in Borno east and marked Nigeria’s 57th Independence anniversary with troops at the Theatre Command, Operation Lafiya Dole, in Maiduguri.
Inhabitants of Gwoza and surrounding villages turned out in large numbers to celebrate with the troops, while cultural groups added colours to the occasion.
The Theatre Commander, Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicolas, and the Chief of Civil/Military Affairs, Maj. Gen. Nuhu Angbazo, joined the troops of the 26 Task Force Brigade to render the Christmas carol.
The General Officer Commanding, 7 Division, in his vote of thanks, announced that he had a message for the Boko Haram terrorists.
He directed men of the artillery unit to “send the message,” and in quick succession, loud sounds from the artillery hit the air.
The bangs created panic and fear but Yusuf said, “There is no cause for alarm, it is a message to Boko Haram and they understand it.”
In an interview, Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South), an indigene of Gwoza, who was at the event, described the army as “everything” to the people of Gwoza.
“The Army is everything, almost everything to us; they are our teachers because they get involved in teaching our children; they are our doctors, and even share their ration with our people.”
The lawmaker described Gwoza people as resilient and vowed that they would not surrender the town to the terrorists.
“If they try to come back, we will not run away, but will cooperate with the army to resist them.
“We are not going to run away; so, let nobody be deceived that they are going to chase us away. We won’t run away; if we are going to die, we will die with the Nigerian Army.”
On the complaint of inadequate potable water by the Internally Displaced Persons and other people in the community, Ndume said there were already 10 functional boreholes in the town.
He said those boreholes were provided through combined efforts of the state government, the legislators representing the area and some Non-Governmental Organisations.
The lawmaker representing Gwoza, Chibok and Damboa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Asabe Vilita, appealed to parents not to “donate” their children and wards to terrorists for use as suicide bombers.
“My call to parents is that they should shun this ugly trend of giving their children to the terrorists.
“We need to collaborate with the security agencies to win the war against insurgency.
“Aiding the terrorists will not solve the problem, rather it will aggravate it. Those giving their children to the terrorists are not helping themselves, they are not helping Gwoza and they are not helping Nigeria,” Vilita said.
It was gathered that since the recapture of Gwoza, the terrorists had made several failed attempts to attack the town, but were repelled and neutralised by troops.
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )