Sixty per cent of Boko Haram insurgents are not Nigerians, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai has said.
The Army chief spoke in Maiduguri when he received the Special Representative of the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, at the headquarters of the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole at the Maimalari Cantonment.
According to him, it’s easy to conclude the insurgents were not Nigerians judging by their current activities.
“… I want to tell you that while the insurgency can be said to have started in Nigeria, by and large as at today, I can say that almost 60 per cent of the insurgents are from neighbouring countries.
“Almost all those who surrendered recently are not Nigerians. This is a challenge that impacts more on the Nigerian side than other countries. But by and large, our military is up to the task and we will continue to do our best to ensure that our country is secured,” Buratai said.
He reiterated that the terrorists had been defeated, adding that troops will continue with their operations until the insurgents surrender.
Lt.-Gen. Buratai thanked the UN for identifying with Nigeria in its efforts to defeat the terrorists and solicited more support.
Dr. Chambas said his visit was an expression of the UN’s identification with Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram and efforts to restore peace in the Northeast.
He restated the UN’s condemnation of the terrorists’ group, adding that “we are behind the Federal Government in its efforts to defeat the terrorists”.
Chambas, who noted that the immediate consequence of the insurgency was the “huge humanitarian crisis” in the Northeast, assured Buratai that the UN had increaed efforts to address it.
He called on the international community and donor agencies to come to Nigeria’s aid in addressing the crisis.
Chambas commiserated with the Federal Government, the Army and families of the late Lt. Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, who, with six soldiers were killed by the insurgents on November 4.
He said their sacrifices would not be in vain.