…As Vietnam receives first 16 bodies found in British truck***
Nigerian Army says its troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE has continued to exert superiority against remnants of Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province elements, thereby neutralising a number of them in recent encounter.
The Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja.
Iliyasu said that the troops came in contact with elements of Boko Haram terrorists on Tuesday at Sabon Gari, a known Boko Haram criminals’ crossing point into Sambisa Forest.
He explained that the troops responded and neutralised three of the Boko Haram criminals’ logistics couriers while others escaped into the forest.
According to him, 81 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, food items and 7 bicycles belonging to the criminals were recovered in the aftermath of the encounter.
Iliyasu also disclosed that troops of 29 Task Force Brigade of Operation LAFIYA DOLE deployed at Borgozo in Kaga Local Government Area overwhelmed some terrorists killing three of them with several others escaped with gunshot wounds.
He added that one AK47 Rifle, seven AK47 Rifle magazines, 86 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, 300 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition, three camel bags and one black Boko Haram flag were recovered by the troops.
Iliyasu said one officer and two soldiers that were wounded in action are in stable condition and responding to treatment in a military medical facility.
“In a similar encounter, troops of 21 Special Armoured Brigade at Banki Junction in Bama neutralised one Boko Haram criminal and captured 2 AK 47 Rifles and 60 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition on Nov. 21.
“Relatedly, on Nov. 22, troops of 25 Task Force Brigade deployed at Damboa swiftly responded to a distress call by some residents of Grijan Village along Damboa – Chibok road.
“The Boko Haram criminals who were sighted massing up to attack the Village were pursued by troops.
“During the pursuit, two Boko Haram criminals were neutralized and four AK 47 Rifle magazines, 32 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition, one bandolier, one military jungle hat and one locally made bomb were captured from the insurgents.
“Similarly, troops of 26 Task Force Brigade deployed at Pulka sprung a successful ambush at a known Boko Haram criminals’ crossing point along Banki Junction – Pulka road.
“During the ambush, three Boko Haram criminals believed to be logistics suppliers were neutralised while conveying various food items to the desperate insurgents in Sambisa Forest,” he said.
Iliyasu further disclosed that troops of 152 Battalion deployed at Firgi in Bama, arrested a suspected Boko Haram member at a check point.
He said that the suspect was apprehended in possession of one empty case of Anti-Aircraft Gun ammunition (used for making suicide vest), one tap head and some electronic devices for making explosive devices.
The spokesman added that troops of 25 Task Force Brigade also arrested a high profile Boko Haram criminal informant and logistics supplier at Shuwari Village on Nov. 22.
According to him, preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect recently supplied cows to Boko Haram insurgents.
“Also, on Nov. 23, troops of 27 Task Force Brigade while on a Stop and Search Operation at Balbaya Village in Bayo, arrested four Boko Haram criminals’ fuel suppliers conveying 90 jerry cans of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) to Tetteba, a border town in Yobe.
“Preliminary investigation also revealed that the suspects regularly supply fuel to Boko Haram criminals hibernating around Gorgore Camp,” he said.
In the meantime, after an agonising wait, the bodies of some of the 39 migrants found dead in a lorry in England last month were repatriated to Vietnam on Wednesday.
Vietnam’s foreign ministry said that 16 bodies were repatriated on Wednesday morning.
The rest will reportedly be brought back imminently, although the timeline remains unclear.
“My daughter’s body is on the way back home from (Hanoi) airport.
“Her body will arrive home at about 1 or 2 pm today (0600-0700 GMT).
“We will organise the funeral today and then a burial for her at 3 pm on Thursday,” Pham Van Thin, the father of 26-year-old victim Pham Thi Tra My, said.
Pham added that local authorities would not allow the family to go to the airport to escort the coffin back.
“They may be afraid our weeping will interrupt their work,’’ she said.
My’s text message to her mother saying “I’m sorry mum … I’m dying because I can’t breathe” first alerted the world of the possibility that Vietnamese nationals could be among the dead after British police initially said that all 39 victims were Chinese.
Shortly after the aircraft landed, representatives of victims’ families from Nghe An, Ha Tinh, and Quang Binh provinces received the bodies of 16 victims and began the process of transporting them to the families, the statement said.
“Our district arranged and sent eight ambulances to (Hanoi) airport on Tuesday evening in order to carry eight bodies back home and hand them over to their families,” said Bui Huy Cuong, Deputy Chairman of Can Loc District in Ha Tinh province, where ten of the victims were from.
The bodies of the Vietnamese migrants were first discovered in the back of a refrigerated lorry on Oct. 23 in Essex, in south-east England.
The long delay and confusion over costs of repatriation have caused extra grief for families desperate to bring their loved ones home.
The families will have to pay for the repatriations themselves, with the Vietnamese government offering to pay upfront and giving relatives 30 days to pay the money back interest-free, the Vietnamese state announced.
The relatives were offered two choices: either the family has to pay almost 1,800 dollars to receive their loved ones cremated as ashes or more than 2,800 dollars for the body to be sent to Hanoi airport.
The news led to philanthropic responses from both concerned individuals and companies.
A page on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe has raised more than 27,000 dollars, while Vingroup, a Vietnamese conglomerate, has pledged to donate 800 dollars to each of the victims’ families in Nghe An and Ha Tinh.
Do Thi Kim Lien, a Vietnamese businesswoman has also been donating funds to the families to allow them to repatriate the bodies of their loved ones.
Hundreds of Vietnamese are trafficked to Britain each year, according to the charity Ecpat.