By Johnson Eyiangho
Nigerian troops have commenced advancing into Sambisa Forest, one of the major enclaves of Boko Haram terrorists.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said in Abuja on Tuesday the advancement was an onslaught to finally flush out remnants of insurgents from the forest and rescue all those abducted in that area.
Buratai unveiled the operation at the launch of packs of bottle water provided through private initiative in appreciation of troops fighting the terrorists in the region.
“This year (2016), the whole Army Headquarters will be moving into the North East to celebrate Christmas and New Year with our troops, ’’ he said.
Buratai described the bottle water initiative for free distribution to troops as “quite historic and the first of its kind.’’
“The scheme involves branding 50cl bottle water with the image of the Nigerian soldier.
“It has the Nigerian army logo and that of stakeholders and partners from the private sector with the words: Thank you for your service.’’
According to him, the initiative seeks to appreciate the efforts of Nigerian troops actively engaged in the defence of our dear nation.
“This will no doubt go a long way in boosting the morale of the troops to show that their labour is being recognized and applauded by Nigerians.
“This initiative is quite timely, coming at a critical stage of the operations, when the troops have embarked on `Operation Rescue Finale.’
“It will surely add vigour, impetus and stimulate the troops in this phase of the operation,’’ Buratai said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that several corporate and public sector organisations, as well as state governments graced the unveiling of the troops’ bottle water.
NAN also reports that the troops’ bottle water initiative was supported by Enugu State Government (N10 million), Ebonyi Government (N5 million) and the Nigeria Customs Service(N1.5 million), among others.