The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, in message to troops fighting Boko Haram in the North East, declared that “the next few days will be crucial to Operation Lafiya Dole. It is also crucial to our country Nigeria. Our sovereignty as a nation is threatened.”
The full text of Lt-Gen Buratai’s statement reads:
“The next few days will be crucial to Op Lafiya Dole. It is also crucial to our country Nigeria. Our sovereignty as a nation is threatened. The Nigerian Army and indeed the military as the symbol of our nationhood is being challenged.
“Our ability to stand and defeat the Boko Haram terrorists in the next few weeks will determine the future of our country. We cannot afford to lose the fight.
“We are better trained and better equipped. The whole nation is behind us. Mr President is with us. Let us remain steadfast in this noble cause.
“Be courageous. We must degrade and defeat the terrorists. This job must be done. We must make our country men and women proud.”
Blasts: Dozens dead as Maiduguri mosque targeted
And also on Friday, at least 39 people died after multiple explosions in Maiduguri, an emergency official said.
Three female suicide bombers, thought to be aged between 11 and 15, struck on Friday morning, an official with the National Emergency Management Agency told BBC Hausa.
The blasts followed bomb attacks on a mosque on Thursday which killed at least 32.
No group has yet said it was behind the attack during Thursday’s evening prayers that also left many people injured.
The explosions caused parts of the mosque to collapse, leading to further injuries.
Military spokesman Sani Kukasheka Usman told the BBC’s Newsday programme that Boko Haram was resorting to suicide attacks because “they have been degraded to the extent that they can no longer fight collectively”.