Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, says 60 percent of Boko Haram terrorists are from neighbouring countries.
Lt General Buratai said this on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 when he played host to Mohammed Ibn Chambas, special representative of the UN secretary-general, at the headquarters of the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole at the Maimalari Cantonment, Maiduguri, Borno state.
“Your Excellency, I want to bring to your attention that while the Boko Haram insurgency can be said to have started in Nigeria, by and large as at today, I can say that almost 60 percent of the insurgents are from our neighbouring countries,” he said.
“You can see that almost all of the recently surrendered insurgents are not Nigerians.
“This is a challenge that impacts more on the Nigerian side than the 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.”
He said that there was no doubt that the insurgents had been defeated but added that troops would continue with their operations until they all surrender.
The army chief thanked the UN for identifying with Nigeria in its efforts to rout-out members of the sect and solicited additional support from the world body.
Earlier, Chambas said his visit was an expression of the UN’s identification with Nigeria and efforts to restore peace to the north-east region.
He restated the UN’s condemnation of the violent group, saying “we are behind the federal government in its efforts to defeat the terrorists”.
Chambas noted that the immediate consequence of the insurgency was the “huge” humanitarian crisis in the north-east, and assured Buratai that the UN had stepped up efforts to address it.
He called on the international community and donor agencies to come to the aid of Nigeria in addressing the crisis.
He said that Nigeria had always been involved in the UN peacekeeping missions across the world.
The UN representative used the occasion to commiserate with the federal government, the Nigerian Army and families of late Muhammad Abu-Ali, a lieutenant colonel, who along with six other soldiers, was killed by the insurgents on November 4.
He said their sacrifices and those of others who had died in the course of the war would not be in vain. (NAN)