Following the attacks on troops that led to the death of two Colonels and 26 soldiers in Yobe and Borno States last week, the Nigerian Army at the weekend warned Boko Haram fighters to surrender their arms or be crushed.
It said the army was ready to dislodge them if they continued their offensive.
It also warned them to take advantage of the amnesty offered by the federal government in order to rejoin the society or be ready to face the dire consequences.
The army confirmed that insurgents killed a Colonel, captain and three soldiers during an attack on troops between Mainok and Jakana on the Damaturu-Maiduguri highway, Borno State although other military sources said the casualty figure was higher.
The call came as special forces, comprising intelligence operatives located missing humanitarian workers of a non-governmental organisation, Action Against Hunger (AAH), who were declared missing after insurgents ambushed their vehicles in Borno State and arrested some Boko Haram informants.
The Country Director of the organization, Shashwat Saraf, had said in a statement that the attack on the convoy of the aid workers, which occurred last Thursday on the road to Damasak, Borno State, resulted in the death of one official while two of the drivers and three health workers were abducted.
Speaking in Maiduguri at a reception organised in his honour, following his recent promotion, the General Officer Commanding 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Bulama Biu, said the insurgents still had the opportunity to lay down their arms.
Biu said the 10-year long insurgency had inflicted colossal damage on lives and property and therefore urged the insurgents to avail themselves of the opportunity of the amnesty programme initiated by the federal government under “Operation Safe Corridor.”
“You still have the opportunity to lay down your arms; the time to surrender is now, to enable you to rejoin the society,” he said.
Biu commended the troops for their gallantry and sacrifice, saying the military is committed to ending the insurgency and restoring peace to the North-east.
He thanked President Muhammad Buhari for his elevation to the rank of a Major General, as well as Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, over the conferment of Chief of Army Staff Award of Excellence on him.
The commander also lauded the Borno State Government, security agencies and other stakeholders for supporting the army in counterinsurgency operations.