Troops operating in the troubled north-eastern part of the country have cleared and taken over Balmo forest, in a military operation that lasted throughout the weekend.
Prior to the operation, Balmo forest, stretching from Bauchi through Jigawa states, with links to the fringes of Sambisa forest was used by terrorists as bases and hideouts for launching attacks.
A statement, signed by the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukoade said terrorist and armed gangs operating in the forests were completely rooted out while some were captured during the operation adding that among those captured were two foreigners who are suspected to be mercenaries including several weapons and equipment like power generating sets, communication equipment, vehicles, motorcycles, foodstuff and kitchen utensils.
The statement also said over 44 terrorists died in Kerenoa and adjoining communities in another development, following an encounter with troops who repelled their attack on the communities.
The Director said, armed with IEDs and other high-caliber weapons, a large number of terrorists had carried out a pre-dawn attack on the communities but met with stiff resistance of the troops.
“During the operation, several of them were captured as well as weapons and ammunitions of various calibre”, the statement added.
He said troops on routine patrol around Banki and Miyanti in Borno state, at the weekend, fought through an ambush laid by terrorists, resulting in casualties on both sides.
Olukolade further said a total of six soldiers were lost in the various encounters with the terrorists, while those wounded are receiving treatment.
Peoples Daily could not independently verify the said claims, as at the time of going to press.