The Defence Headquarters on Tuesday denied media reports that troops from foreign countries operating in the ongoing campaign against the insurgency in the North-East were violating the nation’s territorial integrity.
The Defence authorities stated in a statement posted on the official web site of the military that the involvement of troops from Chad, Niger and Cameroon had not in any way compromised the territorial integrity of the country.
It was stated that contrary to insinuations in some quarters that the foreign forces were moving into parts of the North-East without authorisation from the Defence Headquarters, Nigerian Forces were in charge of the planning and prosecution of the campaign within the country.
It was added that while Chadian Forces had been deployed in Baga Sola, a Chadian territory, there had been a joint deployment of troops from the participating countries in Kirawa, Ashgashiya and other areas along the borders of Nigeria Chad and Cameroon.
“The Multinational Joint Task Force in which Nigeria, Niger, Cameroon, and Chad have contingents that are part of the ongoing onslaught against terrorists in this region.
“The countries that make up the Lake Chad Basin Commission also had some understanding, which now enables a massive move against terrorists from all angles.
“Contrary to the impression being pushed in some quarters, it is the Nigerian forces that planned and are driving the present onslaught against terrorists from all fronts in Nigeria; not the Chadian Forces as is being propagated by some media.
“For instance, Chadian forces have been deployed in Baga Sola, which is a Chadian territory.
“There have been some joint deployments and patrols around Kirawa, Ashgashiya and other locations in borders of Cameroon, Nigeria and Chad as part of these operations.
“Chadians and others are however keying into and working in concert with the overall plan for an all-round move against the terrorists as agreed.
“Nigeria’s territorial integrity remains intact,” the statement read.
Although, the military authorities have been quiet about the intensified military operations in the North-East, investigations revealed that troops had commenced invading the Sambisa Forest locations of the insurgents.
It was learnt that the soldiers started the invasion of the Sambisa Forest in the early hours of Monday and had been in pursuit of feeing insurgents.
A security source said that the military operation involved massive deployment of Air Force personnel and platforms and ground forces who were said to have dislodged the insurgents from their location.
It was learnt that many of the insurgents had been dislodged from their Sambisa strongholds into the Michika, Madagali and Gulak and other areas of Adamawa State.
It was said that the troops and forces from the collaborating countries had been engaging the insurgents in several fronts in the North-East.
Our correspondent contacted the Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, on the telephone for his comment on the ongoing invasion of Sambisa Forest by troops, but he declined to speak on any specific battle.
He said that the military was carrying out a lot of operations in the area.
Chad’s military had four days ago captured the border town of Gamboru from Boko Haram.
The capture of the town is the latest in a series of the Chadian’s soldiers incursions into Nigerian territory as it battles the Islamist insurgent group.
According to report, Chadian forces have also liberated Baga, Dikwa, Malam Fatori, Damasak, Ngala and parts of Bama in the past four days, Jubrin Gunda, a spokesman for a Nigerian militia group, said.