TROOPS of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) neutralised many terrorists and recovered heavy weapons during an operation on the fringes of Lake Chad.
The MNJTF spokesman, Kamarudeen Adegoke, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday, May 14.
Adegoke described the operation as the latest success recorded by the troops of Operation Harbin Kunama (Scorpion Sting), operating in the Lake Chad region.
He said the operation was carried out last week after an attack by members of Boko Haram and the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) on troops positioned in the general area of Arege, a village in the northeast of Borno state.
“The ongoing operation by troops of the MNJTF has further diminished the capacity of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists to carry out their activities in the Lake Chad Basin region.
“The offensive posture and doggedness of troops of the MNJTF has continued to yield remarkable results.
“Following an attack by BH/ISWAP terrorists on troops’ position in the general area of Arege, which was effectively repelled, exploitation was conducted by soldiers of the Force on May 11 in the general area.
“Several items were recovered, including one Dushka gun, Dushka Turrell and a burnt gun truck, while many terrorists were neutralised during the encounter,” Adegoke said.
The troops recovered two gun trucks, two anti–aircraft guns, one RPG tube, two AK 47 rifles, one RPG bomb and three Toyota buffalo gun truck tyres.
Others are 387 rounds of 12.7mm, 440 rounds of 7.62mm x 54mm, and 364 rounds of 7.62mm x 50mm ammunition.
Since 2009, over 350,000 people have died due to the armed conflict as insecurity continues to ravage the country. While the actors responsible for armed conflict differ across the country, they are all aided by access to ammunition.
In Borno state, the epicentre of the Boko Haram conflict, an estimated 35,646 people on both sides had been violently killed since 2009. The Boko Haram terrorist has also been blamed for the 5,747 killings in Zamfara; 5,462 in Kaduna; 4,097 in Adamawa, 3,774 in Benue; 3,359 in Plateau, and 3,176 in Yobe.
The bulk of small weapons in Nigeria is illegally possessed.
A report by SMB Intelligence puts small arms in the hands of civilian non-state actors at 6,145,000. This number represents 8.71 per cent of the total small arms and firearms in circulation.
Another research by the National Center for Control of Small and Light Weapons (NCCSALW), a regulatory body established in May 2021 by the Nigerian government, showed that terrorists and insurgent groups in Nigeria hold one out of every hundred illegal firearms in West Africa. There are, at least, seven million illegally held assault rifles and other small arms in the region.
In the Lake Chad area, Boko Haram and ISWAP are in possession of about one per cent of that total. This amounts to, at least, 77,000 small arms and light weapons in the hands of organised terrorist groups in the northeast.