The Nigerian Army has recaptured Marte, an area in Borno State, from the hold of Boko Haram and members of the Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP).
Army spokesman, Brigadier-General Mohammed Yerima, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
Other communities reclaimed by the troop include Kirta, Wulgo, Chikingudo, and Kirenowa and the location of the South Chad Irrigation Project (SCIP).
“The troops, backed by air cover from the Nigerian Air Force, successfully charged through Marte town, destroying several Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and landmines laced across their routes and killing scores of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and successfully recovered the town.
“The gallant troops are currently in total control of the general area,” Yerima said.
The development comes after Ibrahim Attahiru, the Chief of Army Staff, gave the soldiers 48 hours to recapture the town and other enclaves held by the insurgents.
He said, “Areas around Marte, Chikingudu, Wulgo, Kirenowa, and Kirta must be cleared in the next 48 hours. You must not let this nation down. Go back and do the needful and I will be right behind you.
“You should rest assured of all the support you require in this very onerous task. You are aware of the recent attack on Dikwa and Marte, you should not allow this to happen again; go after them and clear these bastards.”
Earlier on Tuesday, SaharaReporters had reported how some towns and villages in Marte and Dikwa LGAs were still under the control of the terrorists three days after Attahiru’s 48 hours ultimatum.
The villagers were also held as human shields by the gunmen to avoid airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force, a military source said.
“Dikwa is no more under attack, just Marte and some few villages and we are going to retake it either today or tomorrow,” he said.
Though the military source said Dikwa was not under attack, the Director-General, Centre for Justice on Religion and Ethnicity in Nigeria, Pastor Kallamu Musa Ali Dikwa, who is from the local government area, said some villages had been under siege of Boko Haram terrorists for over six years and that nothing had changed since the ultimatum given by the Chief of Army Staff.
According to him, the military troops have overpowered Boko Haram terrorists in Dikwa town, especially at the local government headquarters but the villages are still under insurgents’ control.
The cleric said, “The Boko Haram had not been able to take over Dikwa town, they tried to enter but were countered by soldiers but the terrorists have taken over our villages. This happened six years ago and military personnel have not been able to penetrate our villages to recapture them from Boko Haram, they are sitting in the town. The soldiers are at the local government headquarters.
“There’s a place called Banki in Dikwa; the military personnel are staying there but there are no villagers there, they’ve all moved to internally displaced persons’ camps.
“These terrorists have also taken over Marte. As at this morning (Tuesday), Marte is still being overtaken by Boko Haram, no military intervention yet.”
The insurgents had on Monday, February 15 overran the communities, while most of the villagers ran away for safety, some were held by the insurgents.
SaharaReporters gathered that the gunmen came with heavy machine guns and trucks also took possession of the military formation in Marte, including high-profile fighting equipment and vehicles.
Boko Haram and its offshoot, Islamic State West Africa Province, have become more ferocious in recent times.
The Nigerian army has repeatedly claimed that the insurgency had been largely defeated and frequently underplays any losses.
The terror group has caused over 40,000 deaths and displaced millions of individuals mainly in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.