Soldiers of the Nigerian Army have killed 20 terrorists and captured 17 others as part of Operation Deep Punch 2 which started over two weeks ago in the ongoing campaign against terrorist group, Boko Haram.

According to a statement released by Deputy Director Public Relations 8 Division Nigerian Army, Colonel Timothy Antigha, on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, the operation has resulted in the rescue of over 100 elderly men, women and children held captive by the terrorists.

He also revealed that vehicles, arms and ammunition, as well as assorted equipment were recovered from the terrorists after confrontations with soldiers.

According to him, only 6 soldiers have sustained various injuries in the confrontations with the group, with no casualties recorded.

The statement read, "In continuation of Operation DEEP PUNCH 2, designed to smoke out Boko Haram terrorists inhabiting remote islands in Lake Chad basin lying within Nigerian territory, troops of 8 Division, Nigerian Army, on Operation LAFIYA DOLE, supported by soldiers of the Armed Forces Strike Group have inflicted heavy casualty on Boko Haram terrorists.

"The operation which commenced about 2 weeks ago was proceeded by coordinated air and artillery bombardment of islands and localities occupied by terrorists, and from where they sneak into Magumeri, Kauram and other locations to loot property and attack security personnel and villagers.

"So far, 20 terrorists have been killed, captured 17 others, while over 100 elderly men, women and children have been rescued.

"Preliminary investigation has revealed that a large number of the rescued persons were held against their will and forced to work in farms under life threatening conditions and penurious wages.

"More investigation and interviews will be conducted before the rescued persons are handed over for further action.

"The operation which is ongoing has yielded handsomely as terrorists abandon vehicles, arms and ammunition, as well as assorted equipment when troops swooped on them.

"The troops also recovered 1 Mercedes Benz Truck, 3 Toyota Land Cruiser Gun Trucks, 5 AK-47 rifles, 3 Fabrique Nationals (FN) rifles, 2 G3 rifles and 1 Pump Action rifle.

"Other items include 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) tube, 2 Bombs, 2 Very High Frequency (VHF) Radios and 1 Night Vision Goggle.

"The troops also recovered 55 Rounds of 5.56 X 45mm ammunition, 5 Bangalore Torpedo, two 120mm Mortar Bombs, 1000 Rounds of 7.62mm Ball Metal Link Ammunition, 55 Rounds of 7.62mm Ammunition and 108 Rounds of 12.7mm Ammunition with links, as well as 2 memory cards, 2 Hydraulic Jacks and a 1.5 Amph Battery.

"It is heartwarming to note we have not lost any life among our troops so far. However, 6 soldiers sustained various injuries and have since been evacuated for prompt medical attention."

$1 billion fund to fight insurgency

The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF)approved the withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government to intensify the war against Boko Haram after a National Economic Council (NEC) meeting on December 14.

While speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, Edo State governor, Godwin Obaseki,said the approval was announced by Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, who's the chairman of the NGF.

He said, "Pleased with the achievements that have been made till date in the fight against insurgency, particularly in the North East, the governors of Nigeria through their chairman announced at the NEC meeting that the governors have given permission to the Federal Government to spend the sum of $1bn on the fight of insurgency.

"This money is supposed to be taken from the Excess Crude Account.

"As you know, the issue of security, particularly with regard to the North East, is a very comprehensive response by federal forces.

"So, we expect that the contribution of the states to these efforts will cover the whole array of activities required to secure the country and counter insurgency.

"We expect that the amount will include but not limited to purchase of equipment, procuring intelligence and logistics and all what is required to ensure that we finally put an end to the scourge of insurgence."

Boko Haram menace

Since the insurgency of the terrorist group escalated after a 2009 crackdown by the military, Boko Haram, chiefly under the leadership of Abubakar Shekau, has been responsible for the death of over 20,000 people and the displacement of more than 2.5 million scattered across Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps across the country and its neighbours.

After a massive military operation resulted in the displacement of the group from its primary base in the infamous Sambisa Forest, it has resorted to suicide bomb attacks on soft targets and carried out daring attacks on military bases, with hundreds of captives still unaccounted for.