Maiduguri — The Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj-Gen Rogers Nicholas, has called on Boko Haram insurgents to "surrender and submit" to military troops operating in Sambisa Forest of Borno State to end the war.
Nicholas made the call at the weekend, while handing over 84 rescued victims from Boko Haram enclave to Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) Head of Rescue Operations, Bello Danbatta at Military Command and Control Centre,Maiduguri.
According to him, this is the last phase of the operation for people still in captivity to surrender to troops in the front lines of Sambisa Forest.His words: "We are asking everybody in Borno State to give cooperation in terms of giving information about fleeing Boko Haram members. Their spiritual and operational bases in the forest have been re-captured by our ground and aerial troops.
"We are trying to rescue them and that is why we are in this military operation. The narratives of Boko Haram that we are going to kill the surrendered insurgents are not true. It is part of Boko Haram tactics of changing acts of terror and campaigns against the people in captivities." He explained that the rescued persons including women, children and the aged would undergo medical examinations, rehabilitation and de-radicalization process.
Danbatta commended the military for rescuing the civilians from captivity. He said the agency would assist the rescued persons and reunite them with their families.Some of the rescued persons expressed joy over their freedom from many years of slavery in the hands of the insurgents.
Narrating her ordeals, a teenage girl (name withheld) said she was forced to marry four times during her four-year stay with insurgents in camps.
Rogers, earlier while handing over the rescued hostages to the Chairman of SEMA, Ahmed Satomi at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, said that several arms, ammunition and heavy military weapons, were also recovered from the terrorists, during the ongoing military operation of Deep Push II.
His words: "Some of the rescued women, including the wife of the doctor to Abubakar Shekau, Rabi Abu-Yasir were found to be pregnant while most of the children are already malnourished and appeared pale."He said this is the first time the rescued hostages are tasting freedom, after being abducted for three years.
According to Nicholas, another breakthrough recorded during operation Deep Punch II, were the recoveries of a military tank and other weapons from the Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State. He further disclosed that 26 Boko Haram members, also surrendered last week to the military authorities in Damboa Local council in the state.