CHADIAN troops have won another major victory in the ongoing battle against Boko Haram by recapturing the town of Dikwa in Borno State from the terrorists after a major battle during which hundreds of insurgents were killed.
Over recent weeks, Chad has come to Nigeria’s aid by providing 2,500 troops as part of a Multi National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) put together to flush out the insurgents. Made up of troops from Chad, Cameroon, Niger Republic and Nigeria, the MNJTF is being deployed in Nigeria to take on the terrorists.
By far the most efficient of all the armies, the Chadian troops have already taken the towns of Malam Fatori and Gamboru from the terrorists and in another incursion into Nigerian territory, they secured a major victory yesterday. About 50km south of the border, Dikwa, a historic town, which was once the capital of the old Kanem Bornu Empire, was a Boko Haram stronghold from where it launched attacks across the area.
Local resident Bababura Diwa, said: “Chadian soldiers took over Dikwa from Boko Haram after heavy fighting on Tuesday. When they came into Dikwa there was intense fighting but at last they subdued the Boko Haram fighters.
“They killed many of them, including Abu Ashshe, their commander who was notorious for seizing cattle in the area. I used the opportunity provided by the presence of the Chadian troops to leave the town as I was afraid to leave when Boko Haram took over the town for fear of being branded a traitor and killed.”
He added that the Chadians came from Gamboru, which they previously recaptured, with heavy artillery power and overpowered a group of militants at Lomani village, 15 km from Dikwa. Jidda Saleh, another local resident, said Chadian troops launched heavy aerial and ground attacks on the Kala-Balge area, particularly Nduwu village, which he said was a major Boko Haram stronghold.
Mr Saleh said: “The whole village was bombarded and it is obvious Boko Haram suffered heavy casualties from the aerial attack. Ground troops moved in later.”
According to Mr Saleh, Meleri, which has a huge Boko Haram concentration camp, was also bombed by Chadian military jets and then taken over by ground troops. He pointed out that by the time he left, he learnt the Chadian soldiers were on their way to Kushimori village where Boko Haram keep the livestock they seize from people.
“They have kept thousands of livestock there and have sunk boreholes and recruited people to rear the animals for them,” Mr Saleh said. Algoni Wal-Amire, another Kala-Balge resident, welcomed the offensive.
“Living under Boko Haram was like living in a minefield. You are always afraid your next step could be your last, so I thank God I’m now safe from them,” he added.
Unlike Nigerian troops who are afraid to take on Boko Haram and abandon their weapons and flee when the terrorists attack, Chadian troops are said to be fiercely brave. Chad’s army is also free from infiltration by Boko Haram whereas in Nigeria, Boko Haram has a lot of sympathisers in the military.