Gundumbali, Damasak and Garshigar towns which have been troubled by insurgency in recent times are now under the full control of the Nigerian army, a fact finding report has authoritatively confirmed.
A visitation team which assessed the progress of military operations in North East Nigeria comprising of international journalists, humatarian workers and a coalition of civil society organizations have confirmed that the towns of Gundumbali, Damasak and Garshigar in Borno State are now under the firm grip of the Nigerian military.
The team which was led by Daniel Furnard toured the three towns for ten days follwing widespread conflicting reports emanating from north east of Nigerian on the counter-terrorism fight by the Nigerian military.
“The overarching objective of the tour was to put paid to speculations about Boko Haram occupying territories in some communities in North East Nigeria after some attempts by the terrorists to invade Nigerian communities under the control of the Nigerian Army. Consequently, the team decided that there would be no military escort for the duration of the project. It should be noted that the coalition of CSOs that participated in the tour have been actively involved in humanitarian activities in the region and also conversant with the terrain and guided by locals selected on the spot.
“From 25th September to October 4th, 2018, the visitation team were divided into clusters and each with a local tour guide that assisted with language barrier challenge. Each cluster visited communities and observed their daily activities whilst all the activities were videoed and pictures collected .
“The team discovered that there is no territory under the control of Boko Haram terrorists anywhere within the geographical entity called Nigeria. Using the case of Garshigar as an example, the town enjoys relative peace. Also, indigenes went about their regular businesses, but for the presence of military personnel in strategic locations” The report said
The report also disclosed that soldiers from Nigeria Army’s 145 battalion on the ground revealed that Boko Haram terrorists have made several attempts to gain entry into the town, but were repelled by the Nigeria Army.
One of the commanders of the 145 Battalion also hinted that some years back, Garshigar used to serve as “one of the training bases of the Boko Haram terrorists until the Nigeria Army dislodged them” adding that indigenes of Damasak went about their regular businesses without fear.
Also, the report confirmed that farming and fishing activities are ongoing in large scale in the towns in question with Damasak is bustling with economic activities, as people from neighbouring communities of Dogomolu, Douro, and Chemba frequent Damasak to trade.
“There was also a strong military presence in the town at strategic places. Upon interacting with the indigenes’, they heaped praises on the efforts of soldiers in the military base stationed in Damasak.
“The team also observed a high return rate of people that were once displaced by Boko Haram terrorist in times past. Also, there are lots of construction works ongoing in homes and schools.
“There was also a high presence of humanitarian workers providing health services in the rebuilt general hospital.
In Gudumbali, the story is also the same as that of Garshigar, where Boko Haram terrorists have made several attempts to gain entry into the town.
“There was also a heightened security presence in the community which is as a result of the constant attempts by dissident Boko Haram terrorist to launch an attack in the town” the report disclosed
Successes recorded in repelling the attack by Boko Haram was attributed to the constant payment of soldiers allowances and their welfare packages which they soldiers confirmed was adequate.
“Chief of Army Staff is to be praised as he has been consistent in matching his words with action. he takes the issues of welfare and military hardware seriously, hence why the soldiers have been able to repeal several Boko Haram attacks in these communities.
Submissions of the report suggested that more people are still returning to these communities, urging the government to continue providing essential amenities by rebuilding schools and hospitals.
The report also recommended that humanitarian aid be provided for affected persons to continue with farming activities and other sources of their livelihood.
The team observed that most of the news emanating from the North East is fake news and a direct opposite of the actual situation on the ground which could send a wrong signal to the United Nations, affect humanitarian works in the area and also send a wrong message on the effort of the Nigerian government in combating insurgency in the north east.
It also advised Nigerians to interrogate news on Insurgency deeply before spreading
“Citizens must, therefore, interrogate news content before circulating some as the terrorists thrive on the gullibility of reasonable persons who do not cross-check their facts to reach out to the rest of the world with their falsehood” the report said.