Nigeria: Obasanjo’s Son Shot As Military Launches Ferocious Onslaught to Retake Michika 

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Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria.

The son of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Lt.-Col. Adeboye Obasanjo, has been shot by Boko Haram insurgents at the key boundary town of Michika in Adamawa State, where he was heading a platoon against the marauding sect.

The attack on Obasanjo’s platoon coincided with the ferocious air and land assault by the Nigerian armed forces against the terrorists, who were reported to have made strong gains in Michika, which was attacked by the terrorists on Sunday.

The younger Obasanjo, an army engineer, was reported to have been shot alongside other soldiers, but sustained minor injuries during the exchange of gunfire with Boko Haram terrorists while on their way to liberate Michika.

A highly-placed military source confirmed the incident, saying “his injuries are not life threatening. He is currently receiving treatment”.

“I can confirm the incident is true. He is a committed military officer on duty,” he added. Efforts to get the former president to confirm that his son had been shot proved abortive, as he was not in the country.

However, in response to an SMS sent to his phone, the former General replied: “Thank you for your care. God is in control.”

Similarly, efforts to speak to the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj.-Gen. Chris Olukolade, on the issue were unsuccessful, as his phones were switched off.

However, the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Brig-Gen. Olajide Lalaye, said while scores of terrorists were killed in the incident, and with a few soldiers sustaining injuries, he could not confirm if Obasanjo’s son was affected.

“Yes, there was fierce fighting in Mubi… many insurgents were killed in the attack, while few soldiers sustained injuries,” Laleye said.

On the reported shooting of Obasanjo’s son, he said: “I can’t confirm that…” Also speaking to THISDAY on the latest development, another security source noted that the “incident has shown that our leaders are also involved in this fight.

“This has helped to expose the lie that ordinary Nigerians are being sent to die in the hands of terrorists”. The source disclosed that most of the service chiefs including the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-Gen. Kenneth Minimah, and more crucially, Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Adesola Amosu, are currently in different parts of North-east directing operations.

“Do you know that Amosu is currently in some locations in the North-east conducting and directing the aerial assault? Other service chiefs are also there. “Our leaders and especially the military leadership are heavily involved in this fight contrary to reports that ordinary Nigerians are intentionally sent to die in the counter-terrorism operations,” the source said.

Sustained Aerial, Ground Onslaught to Regain Michika

However, the battle to dislodge Boko Haram members from Michika raged throughout yesterday with a massive aerial and ground assault on the border town.

The BBC reported yesterday that the insurgents had captured the important trading North-eastern town (Michika), in the sect’s effort to create an Islamic state.

It added that there was fear and panic with people fleeing into bushes as gunfire rang out in the town. “Concern is mounting that the group plans to target Maiduguri, capital of neighbouring Borno State,” said the BBC Hausa service’s Bilikisu Babangida.

However, military sources said yesterday that the situation was not out of control as soldiers battled under the massive air bombardment provided by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to retake the town.

“The state of things right now in Michika is an ongoing operation. Nothing is certain yet but there is fierce fighting and our military is determined to carry on with the current upswing by crushing the insurgents,” a military source said.

Investigations further revealed that the air force escalated the aerial bombardment of Boko Haram’s position in the town, the type which helped to turn the tide in Bama at the weekend. “The goal is to smoke out the terrorists and make it easier for our ground troops to gain control of the town.

“There is ongoing heavy aerial bombardment there (Michika) to enable the ground forces hold the ground. This will not abate until we knock off the arsenal of the terrorists,” anotintelligence source added. In the same vein, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) said monday that there was no cause for alarm over the reported plan by Boko Haram to make Maiduguri its next target.

Olukolade, in response to THISDAY’s inquiries on the matter, warned against reports that could instill fear in the populace, which he said, “Serves well the motives, objectives and interest of the terrorists.”

He described as false and alarmist, the report that the families of the military and security personnel in Maiduguri were fleeing the town for fear of a Boko Haram attack on the Borno State capital.

He explained that the military was mapping out strategies to ensure that the initial fears of some people that Boko Haram might attack Maiduguri are allayed.

He said: “This is an unnecessary alarm. There is no cause for alarm as the report is not true. Efforts have been made to ensure security in Maiduguri. All the alert systems in Maiduguri and its environs have been activated. “They have been activated to ensure that any attempt to attack Maiduguri will be decisively resisted and defeated.”

20 Sect Members Killed in Borno

Olukolade’s statement on Maiduguri seemed to be given some substance with reports from Borno State that over 20 suspected members of the deadly sect were killed in Buratai town on Sunday morning during a siege to the residence of the former Commander, Niger Delta Special Task Force, Major General Tukur Buratai, in the southern part of the state.

It was gathered that the insurgents also attacked a primary school in the town, Buratai Central Primary School. Buratai is a remote town in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State, and is 200 kilometres from Maiduguri.

A resident of the area, Mallam Idi Buratai, told journalists that over 50 gunmen stormed the town on motorcycles and Toyota Hilux trucks, and attacked the residence of Buratai and Buratai Primary School which they succeeded in razing.

But during their onslaught, the terrorists met their match as they were killed by the troops, while the few who were lucky to remain alive were forced to flee in different directions.

Buratac said: “The soldiers guarding the residence of the former Task Force Commander, in collaboration with their colleagues from Biu military barracks and some members of vigilante group, repelled the attackers killing over 20 members of the sect.”

He also revealed that the terrorists succeeded in burning all mobile network masts in the town, adding that the terrorists who stormed the town at about 9.30 am on Sunday came through Buni-Yadi, a Yobe town that is firmly in their control.

A resident of the town who fled to Biu, Bukar Buba, also told that the troops guarding the residence of the general were gallant and were able to successfully repel the attackers.

Though unconfirmed, Buba said it was not entirely a walkover for the military as they lost a military vehicle to the insurgents. He said the three soldiers who sustained injuries later died. Confirming the incident, the District Head of Buratai, Alhaji Maina Garga, said scores of Boko Haram members were killed as the soldiers successfully repelled the attack. He further revealed that three soldiers were injured in the crossfire.

Cameroun Kills over 100 Insurgents

The Camerounian government yesterday also said its soldiers had killed “more than 100” Boko Haram fighters during an attempted incursion by the Islamist insurgents into its territory, reported AFP. The Camerounian army has dealt “a severe setback” to Boko Haram, government spokesman Issa Tchiroma Bakary, said in a statement read out on state radio, adding that the clashes took place in the north of the country on Saturday.

Boko Haram Claims It’s Still in Control of Bama

Meanwhile, a self-acclaimed spokesman of the outlawed Boko Haram sect, Abu Zinnira, monday claimed that Bama has not been recaptured by the Nigerian military, as it still remains under the annexation of the terrorist sect. Zinnira equally said the sect had captured Michika and parts of Mubi in Adamawa State.

He promised that the sect would continue to attack more towns and villages in their current expansion drive. The spokesman of the terrorists which has gradually annexed parts of North-eastern Nigeria, in a telephone call to journalists in Maiduguri from a number that was withheld, said: “This is a rebuttal from the information dissemination and sensitisation unit of the Jama’atul Ahlil Sunna Lidawati Wal Jihad (Boko Haram) on the series of lies that the Nigeria military has been feeding the World on our recent conquests.

“Let the whole World know that we are on the path of victory because up to this minute, the town of Bama is under our control, the whole of Michika is now in our hands, as well as Manalapan (Junction of) Mubi is now fully under our control. “We are assuring the World that this would be continuous and there will be no going back by God’s grace.”

Source: All Africa

 

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