Nigerian troops have retaken Gwoza, the last stronghold of Boko Haram in Borno state, pushing the militants to the fringes of the country. According to Chris Olukolade, a major-general and director of defence information, who disclosed the latest feat of the Nigerian military to journalists in Abuja on Friday, Gwoza was freed of the militants this morning.
Olukolade further disclosed that Nigerian troops had engaged the militants in a fierce fight running them out of the town they had declared “darul hikima” (Islamic headquarters). “Several terrorists died while many are captured,” he said. “Mopping up of entire #Gwoza and her suburbs is ongoing.” While speaking with a group of international election observers on Wednesday, President Goodluck Jonathan had assured Nigerians that Gwoza would be re-taken from Boko Haram “latest on Friday”. ““We believe that by Thursday, or latest Friday, we will be able to take over Gwoza. If we take over Gwoza, it will not take us more than one week to clean up,” he had said. The Gwoza capture is expected to help in clarifying the whereabouts of the Chibok girls abducted in April 2014, considering that on Tuesday, Mbutu Papka, a woman who was recently freed after eight months in Boko Haram captivity, said the girls were in the town. “In the camp at Gwoza, there were clear demarcations between where people were kept…. No one was allowed anywhere near the specific location of the girls, which was being guarded round the clock,” Papka had said. “The Chibok girls, other captives and Boko Haram members and their family members all had their separate areas secured, though the security in the area where the girls are kept is visibly different and much tighter.”