By Aiyeku Timothy
Nigerian military have taken over the notorious Camp Dole from Boko Haram insurgents after raids on the camp and several others with air support.
The militants are believed to have taken over the area since 2013 when they seized it and established a strong presence. The same is said of the Talala area, which became the second largest ISWAP camp outside the group’s Lake Chad stronghold.
However, the insurgents have been dislodged leading to the death of some ranking militants while two top Commanders escaped from the area.
Other camps the Nigerian troops overran includes area straddling Yobe and Borno states in the northeast following a month-long military operation, a source said.
In the Wednesday operation, Nigerian military with aerial support secured the Dole camp which happens to be the last jihadist stronghold in the “Timbuktu triangle”.
“With the fall of Dole the whole area is now under the effective control of Nigerian troops,” said one of the officers.
This is another breakthrough for the troops as they took over Talala, last month, following a fierce battle where they lost six soldiers by a suicide bomber who detonated his explosive-laden vehicle among troops.
“It was a tough battle,” said the second source on the Dole raid.
“The route leading to Dole was mined by the terrorists and troops accessed it on foot, engaging the terrorists in fierce battle with air support,” a source said.
However, several hostages were rescued from the camps while dozens of vehicles seized from kidnapped hostages were recovered.
Reports claim that two high profile ISWAP commanders, Modu Sulum and Ameer Modu Borzogo, fled along with some fighters during intense fighting while other commanders were killed.
The troops also reclaimed five camps from the insurgents in Kidari, Argude, Takwala, Chowalta and Galdekore villages where they used suicide bombers to stave off troops advance.
“We lost some soldiers and several were injured in the suicide attack but the soldiers managed to subdue the terrorists,” said the second source, without giving details of the casualties.
It would be recalled that ISWAP split from Boko Haram in 2016 and became a dominant group, launching attacks on military bases and ambushing troops while abducting travellers at bogus checkpoints.
President Muhammadu Buhari is believed to have replaced his service chiefs while the operations were ongoing, amidst calls for their removal.
This raised hope of a change in military strategy to end the 12-year-old insurgency in the country that has led to the death of about 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes.
However, the insurgents made some statements as soon as the new Service Chiefs were appointed with some attacks in the north east.