Buratai says 'defeated' Boko Haram nothing but 'a band of criminals'
He believes Boko Haram is only using propaganda to paint a picture of strength and invincibility.
In a Christmas and New Year goodwill message directed at officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army on Tuesday, December 25, 2018, the Army chief urged troops in the counter-insurgency operations in the northeast region to be wary of misinformation and propaganda being spread by the terrorist group.
Buratai assured that the group has been defeated by troops and is only using propaganda to paint a picture of strength and invincibility with the aim of demoralising the military.
He said, "It is evident that you have defeated the Boko Haram terrorists. Thus, they have now resorted to employing propaganda in order to demoralise you by spreading false messages of strength and invincibility.
"It is pertinent for troops to understand that Boko Haram terrorists are nothing but a band of criminals. Therefore, you must all brace up to clear and flush out their remnants.
"We have superior training, fire power and experience. We have a history of successes on the battlefield both at home and abroad. This must be reflected in all our operations."
Buratai's defiant message comes in the wake of several attacks waged by Boko Haram terrorists on military bases in 2018.
The most devastating of the attacks recently took place on November 18 when terrorists overran the 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele village in Guzamala local government area of Borno State.
Even though many reports indicated that over 100 soldiers were killed in the Metele attack, with many others missing, the Army disclosed in a statement that 23 soldiers were killed with 31 others injured. 19 of them were recently buried in a military ceremony.
Around the time of the Metele attack, terrorists also staged a series of attacks on Nigerian Army troops between November 2 and November 17 with 16 soldiers killed and 12 injured.
The attacks took place in Kukawa, Ngoshe, Kareto and Gajiram, all in Borno, but were 'successfully repelled' by troops who killed 'several members' of the terrorist group.
Many of the attacks were credited to Boko Haram faction, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), which has renewed assaults on military bases in 2018.
Even though President Muhammadu Buhari and the military have claimed in the past that the group has been technically defeated, the president charged troops again after the Metele attack to remain committed to defeating Boko Haram.
"I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted by whatever speculations but remain focused and committed to the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the face of the earth," he said.
Since the group's insurgency escalated in 2009, it has killed over 27,000 people and displaced millions in the northeast region, with its operations also extending to border countries like Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
Buratai commends Army's sacrifice
In his Christmas message, Buratai also commended the efforts and sacrifices of members of the Army in combating terrorism in Nigeria as well as other operations across the country and abroad.
"I congratulate you for your bravery, doggedness and loyalty in these endeavours. I want to urge you all to maintain the momentum and remain steadfast as we continue to professionally and responsively carry out our constitutional roles," he said.
He said he'll continue to ensure that the welfare of troops and that of their families are well-catered to, as promised by President Buhari who has also vowed his total support towards bringing all ongoing operations to logical conclusion.
He also cautioned troops to "remain apolitical" as the 2019 general elections approach and urged them to be dedicated to their assigned roles.
He called for prayers for the souls of comrades who were killed in the line of duty protecting the country from criminal elements.
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