From Punch online
Chadian soldiers have smoked out the Boko Haram insurgents out of Malumfatori town in north-eastern Nigeria, a top security source said.
One of our correspondents gathered on Thursday that the recapture of the town, which lies near the borders of Chad and Niger, followed two days of fighting between the insurgents and the soldiers.
Both ground and air forces are reported to have been used in the assault.
It was learnt that the Chadian soldiers moved into the town which was earlier seized by the Boko Haram sect after crossing Lake Chad. It is not known if the operation was approved by Nigeria.
However, the Nigerian military confirmed that the town had been recaptured but said that the feat was performed by soldiers from the Multinational Task involved in the ongoing operation against the insurgents in the North-East.
The Multi-National Joint Task Force comprises military personnel from Nigeria, Chad and Niger. Although Cameroon was supposed to be one of the troops contributing nation to the force, its troops had yet to participate in the activities of the force.
It was added that the area had always been the focus of the activities of the Nigeria military especially the aerial surveillance and patrol activities of the Nigerian Force.
On Thursday, the Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, said in a text message sent to one of our correspondents that Malafatori fall within the area covered by the operations of the Multi National Joint Task Force.
Olukolade said that the Nigeria Air Force had been involved in aerial operations in the Malumfatori axis for two days as part of the ongoing effort against terrorism.
He said, “Malumfatori is within the area of operation covered by the Multi National Joint Task Force of which Chad has always been a part.
“The Nigerian Air Force has also been conducting air mission there for two days now, it is all part of the ongoing efforts against terrorism.”
However, people who fled the area were reported to have said they had seen military planes bombing the town.
Some of those who left the town during the fighting were reported to have crossed into Niger.
Meanwhile, reports from the area said fighting had now spread to a nearby town, Abadam.
Meanwhile, the African Union heads of state are due to discuss the crisis over Boko Haram at their summit beginning on Friday (today).
Ghanaian President John Mahama had said the leaders must produce a “specific plan of action” to “deal permanently” with Boko Haram.