Nigeria strikes Boko Haram targets, casualties reported

LAGOS, Nigeria: One week after deadly Boko Haram attack on Nigerian troops in northeastern Borno State, the Nigerian fighter jet struck areas, believed to be Boko Haram positions, around Lake Chad, leaving dozens of militants dead, an official said on Tuesday.
“Beginning on Saturday and ongoing, we have struck several hideouts around Lake Chad. Dozens of terrorists have been targeted with precision to further degrade them,” said a defense ministry official requesting anonymity.
He said several border villages between Nigeria and Chad were targeted on an intelligence that they harbor militants and high-grade military weapons.
“We have targeted areas where weapons — stolen during the recent attacks on our troops, such as gun trucks and RPGs — were kept.
“The weapons were destroyed, several terrorists were killed,” he added.
Nigerian Air Force spokesman Ibikunle Daramola neither confirmed nor denied the airstrikes on the militants’ positions, telling Anadolu Agency: “We will do everything to continue to decimate the terrorists.”
However, Ahmad Salkida, a local journalist reputed for his knowledge on the crisis, confirmed the military bombardments on Boko Haram-held positions.
“Nigerian Air Force embarked on momentous earth-shattering airstrikes on ISWAP (Islamic State in West Africa Province), or Daesh, positions in the Lake Chad,” he tweeted on Tuesday.
The airstrikes come just a week after Abu Musab Al Barnawi’s Boko Haram militants launched a deadly raid on the Nigerian troops in Metele, a northeast Borno village, killing dozens of Nigerian soldiers and stealing army weapons.
The militants released a footage of a ruthless attack — later discovered to have been shot around July — in which several soldiers were killed and humiliated while Boko Haram seized their weapons.
The footage triggered outrage among Nigerians, including members of parliament and the opposition, who mocked and railed at government’s claim of having technically defeated the insurgents.
Analysts have long warned that Boko Haram, especially the Daesh-backed Al-Barnawi’s faction, remains a serious security threat to Nigeria.
Nigeria’s defense minister Monsur Dan-Ali is due in Chad later this week to discuss the resurgence in the Boko Haram violence.–AA

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