Boko Haram fracturing over Islamic State ties —US General •As multinational forces launch operation Gama Aiki to flush out terrorists

A senior US military general, on Wednesday, said the terror group in Nigeria, Boko Haram, had been fractured internally.

Lieutenant-General Thomas Waldhauser, the nominee to lead US military’s Africa Command, disclosed this in Washington during his nomination hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

He said the problem in the group resulted from some members splitting from shadowy leader, Abubakar Shekau, over his failure to adhere to guidance from the Iraq and Syria-based Islamic State.

Waldhauser said the internal division was illustrative of limits of Islamic State’s influence over Boko Haram so far, in spite of the West African group’s pledge of allegiance to it last year.

“Several months ago, about half of Boko Haram broke off to a separate group because they were not happy with the amount of buy-in, if you will, from Boko Haram into the ISIL brand,’’ he explained.

Meanwhile, the headquarters, Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), has launched Op Gama Aiki to clear remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in its general area of responsibility.

This step, according to MNJTF, is aimed at preventing the terrorists from establishing new sanctuaries and hideouts in the Lake Chad region.

The Op Gama Aiki involved the MNJTF troops and the National Air and ground forces from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroun and Niger Republics.

The Nigerian Tribune gathered that since the launch of the Op GAMA AIKI, appreciable operational successes  had been recorded in the frontlines. Also, some fierce encounters with the terrorists such as Doran Nairi, Faide-Jimba, Yebi-Tasugia, Yebi-Jemi, Alli Kanori, Yebi Tumanba and Alagarno villages, including Doron Naira along Sector 3 (Nigeria) axis had been cleared.

During the encounters, MNJTF troops neutralised 31 terrorists, seized and destroyed large quantity of equipment and cache of arms and ammunition.

Among the equipment captured were 1 x Hilux mounted with Shilka gun with 97 rounds of 21mm (AA), 14 AK 47 rifles, 4 RPG Bombs, 6 x Mortar Bombs, 2 GPMG rifles, 1 HK 24 MG, 1 AKM MG and 8 Bandoliers, among other equipment destroyed in suit.

The MNJTF lost two soldiers while 12 others wounded are currently receiving medical attention.

In a related development, troops of the 81 Battalion and 251 Task Force Battalion deployed in an observation post have intercepted 69 fleeing family members of Boko Haram  from Sambisa, comprising seven men, 18 women, seven grown -up boys and 37 children.

The rescued persons were sighted while approaching a checkpoint at Liwanti Village located on Damboa-Bulabulin Road  in Borno State.

The Nigerian Tribune learnt that at the initial state of interrogation, the intercepted terrorists’ families claimed   they had escaped from the captivity of Boko Haram terrorists at Ngwalimari Village in Sambisa forest but further interrogation revealed otherwise.