Fighters of the Islamic State of the West African Province (Iswap) have killed 44 members of rival Boko Haram terrorist group who were fleeing from bombardment by the Nigerian military in North East Borno state.
The attackers from Iswap, which is in a superiority contest with Boko Haram, opened fire on the rival terrorists and their families who came to seek refuge in Cina village in Bama local government area of Borno on September 7, 2022.
The Boko Haram terrorists were among those that escaped massive incursions of their camps in Gazuwa, Sheruri and Mantari villages by troops of 199 Special Forces Battalion and 222 Battalion.
The troops carried out the operation in conjunction with the Civilian Joint Task Force backed by jet fighters of the Nigeria Air Force.
Mr Zagazola Makama, a counter insurgency expert and security analyst in the Lake Chad axis of Borno, said on Wednesday that the attacks caught the terrorists unawares, forcing hundreds of them and their families to desert their camps to seek safe havens in other locations.
“Unfortunately for the Boko Haram and their families, they were attacked by their rivals, the Iswap, who occupied Cingori and Yuwe,” Mr Makama said.
“On sighting the Boko Haram terrorists led by two commanders, the Iswap started shooting at them but when they realised that there were women and children in their midst, they told their fighters to allow them and their wounded fighters to move after several deaths had been recorded.
“They came in their hundreds, many of them without cloths or shoes. Only few of them are holding arms. They had only four motorcycles with two conveying the commanders.
“The Boko Haram fighters and their families who looked very tired and drenched by the rain were given the chance to move toward the axis of Bulabulin outside the turf of Iswap.”
The military had since last week increased its raids against insurgents on the fringes of Lake Chad, killing more than 200 Boko Haram fighters and their commanders.
The intense raids by the Nigeria Air Force fighter jets and the military ground troops has forced the terrorists to abandoned their cells in Bama and relocate to east of Konduga local government area of Borno state.
Some of the escapees had sought refuge in Cina village but they were attacked, according to sources.
Confirming the latest offensive against terrorists and bandits, the Minister of Defence Bashir Magashi lauded the military’s performance which he said had led to the surrender of more than 3,000 terrorists.
He said on September 7, 2022 at a briefing in Abuja that the troops in the North East had denied Iswap and the Boko Haram terrorists freedom of co-ordinated attacks as they continued to suffer huge casualties, depletion and depression.
He assured Nigerians of the commitment of the military — alongside other security forces — to the defence of the nation’s territorial integrity.