Nigerian soldiers participate in an operation in Nigeria's northeastern state of Borno, March 16, 2016. (Xinhua/Wale Salau)
LAGOS, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Nigerian Army has completely defeated the Boko Haram insurgents in the restive northeast parts of the country, Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, head of a military operation, said late on Saturday.
Nicholas, the Theater Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, spoke this during the inauguration of the Nigeria-Cameroon Military Joint Mission in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State.
He said the collaboration between the two militaries was critical to the successful completion of the counter-insurgency campaign.
"We share information and intelligence to enable us map out strategies to fight Boko Haram insurgents in our common borders," he said.
Troops under the operation DEEP PUNCH II had on Friday dislodged and occupied the insurgents' tactical ground "Camp Zairo," the military chief told his audience, adding that hundreds of insurgents had surrendered and several others fled their enclave while over 100 civilians were rescued.
"My soldiers are in the heart of Boko Haram enclave that is 'Camp Zairo,' the gallant troops have taken total control of Sambisa Forest," he added.
"We have broken the heart and soul of Shekau's group, taking over the camp and its environs," he said.
"They are on the run and we are pursuing them to wherever they go. This time around there is no place for escape anywhere," Nicholas added.
"We had earlier asked those of them that want to surrender to do so and we are still asking them to come out and surrender otherwise they are going to meet it the hard way," the commander said.
The military chief called on the insurgents and abducted persons in the bush to come out and surrender to the troops, stressing that they would not be harmed or killed.
He revealed that the troops had destroyed insurgents' hideouts, vehicles and ammunition, while hundreds of insurgents surrendered and over 100 civilians were rescued.
According to him, the command would profile the rescued persons for rehabilitation and de-radicalization for reintegration into the society.
While handing over 82 rescued persons to the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) in Maiduguri, the military chief called on persons in Boko Haram insurgents' captivity to submit themselves to the troops.
"This is the last phase of the operation; we are asking everybody in Borno State to give cooperation in terms of giving information about fleeing Boko Haram members," he added.
"People need to be vigilant in their localities, if you see any suspected persons, report to the military or security agents," he said.
"As I speak to you now many of them have surrendered and many more will surrender to the troops. The most important thing is that we are treating this people very humane because they are Nigerians," the military chief told his audience.
Nicholas added that the rescued persons including women, children and the aged would undergo medical examinations, rehabilitation and de-radicalization process.
Meanwhile, Rabi Abu-Yasir, wife of Boko Haram's chief physician on Saturday surrendered to the troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, in the ongoing clearance operation to rout out remnants of the insurgents.
Rabi told newsmen that her husband was the medical doctor to the insurgents' leader, Abubakar Shekau.
She said she was rescued on Friday after the troops dislodged the insurgents' enclaves in Sambisa Forest.
Recounting her ordeal, Rabi said unlike her peers, she enjoyed preferential treatment and privileges in view of her position as a wife to the physician.
Rabi lauded the military for the rescue operation and called on the abducted persons still in the bush to come out and surrender to the troops.