Friday, May 2, 2014

Military mobilises 4 battalions to search for abducted schoolgirls in Sambisa forest

17 days after the abduction of 234 students of the Government Girls Secondary School Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists and following public outcry and protest for the release of this schoolgirls, a major military operation is set to commence as four different battalions, a little more than a Brigade of the Nigerian Army, have been mobilised.

The battalions comprised all formations of the Army, including those from Signals Corps, Armoured Corps, Ordinance Corps, Intelligence Corps, Infantry Corps, Artillery Corps, Military Police Corps and the Medical Corps.

Also, fighter jets of the Nigerian Air Force and Police surveillance helicopters have been mobilised and are waiting for the command to begin the joint security operations for rescue efforts of the girls.

The battalions are said to have been positioned in the North, South, East and West of the Sambisa forest so that when the troops move in from all the angles, there will be no escape route for the terrorists.

Owing to the possibily of
encountering bobby traps, land mines, ambush and other unknown traps, it was gathered that Air Force fighter aircraft, helicopter gunships and Police surveillance helicopters would carry out round-the-clock missions.

Aircraft and land equipment including air ambulances, vehicles with mobile medical facilities and a considerable number of medical personnel, are said to have been deployed for the operation to ensure that casualties, if any, are quickly attended to when necessary.

It was gathered that since the forest shares borders with towns in Adamawa, Yobe, Borno and Cameroon, the different battalions would each launch their offensive from these locations.

Vanguard was further told under condition of anonymity, that because of the high caliber nature of the arms and explosives in the hands of the terrorists, the Federal Government had made available to the security forces night vision equipment.

In this regards, specially trained counter terrorist units, anti bomb discovery units, the K 9 Dog units of the Army and the Police, the landmines unit of the army and other specialised units of other security agencies are all involved in this operation, Vanguard was told.

Speaking on insinuations that most of the girls may have been moved to Chad, Cameroon or abroad by the terrorists, the security source said: "Let us wait and see.

"All I can tell you is that since the incident happened, the borders close to Sambisa have been fortified and a lot of cordon and search operation has been going on. How they would have moved the girls abroad will be a mystery."

When Vanguard expressed apprehension that a major military intervention involving air bombardments will lead to killing of the girls, the source said: "It doesn't necessarily follow.

"On the contrary, the terrorists are afraid. They will be fighting to save their own lives. Many of them are cowards who cannot stand the army, that's why they look for soft targets.

"They know they won't achieve anything injuring the girls. We feel they just wanted to get attention with the girls in their possession. We have strategies in place to get the girls and ensure their safety if indeed they are in the forest. The plan is to rescue them alive."

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