Agence France-Presse learned on Wednesday from official sources that last week the Nigerian army killed “about thirty terrorists” from the jihadist group Boko Haram and arrested 960 others, including women and children, who fled from neighboring Nigeria.
Military aerial reconnaissance made it possible to detect a “mass movement of people” on March 7 along the Komadogo Yobe River – which marks the border between Niger and Nigeria – towards Lake Chad, Tele Sahel public TV reported on Tuesday evening.
Aerial images of columns of people walking in the bush or swimming through a stream were captured on television and broadcast on Wednesday on the websites of Nigeria’s Ministry of Defense and Presidency.
According to the report, they were members of Boko Haram who had come from the Sambisa Forest in northeastern Nigeria and had traveled to the Nigerian Lake Islands to flee heavy fighting with their rivals the Islamic State in Africa (ISWAP).
According to Tele Sahel, “an operation was launched” and about thirty terrorists were neutralized “before the enemy could reach Lake Chad.”
Before launching the offensive on 11 March around 6 am (5 am GMT), the army tried “unsuccessfully” to “negotiate a bloodless surrender” via emissaries and dropping leaflets.
In addition, 960 people, “mostly women and children” were arrested between March 7 and March 11 and taken to Diffa, a major city in southeastern Niger, where they were taken care of before being handed over to the state’s Nigerian military authorities. TV said.
“A large number of Boko Haram members who fled from the Sambisa forest were intercepted by the army at the Nigerian border last week and then handed over to the Nigerian authorities,” an elected official from Tomor told AFP. Lake Chad.
Without specifying the number, another elected official asserted that “many” others were “going to the (islands of) the lake, especially groups of women and children in pitiful conditions.”
The Lake Chad Basin, which straddles its shores between Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon and Chad, is a vast expanse of water and swamps where jihadist groups Boko Haram and AESOP have built hideouts on countless Pot Islands.
Niger, Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon in July 2015 launched the Multinational Hybrid Force (MMF), consisting of 8,500 men, to fight armed jihadist groups.