By Francis Okoye and Tunde Oguntola

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai has disclosed that Sambisa Forest, which was recently recovered from insurgents, will now serve as training centre for the army.

He said already, he had directed that the Nigerian Army small arms championship for 2017 should hold in the forest.

This is just as former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has hailed the successful recovery of Sambisa Forest by the Nigeria Military, saying it has further confirmed his confidence that President Muhammadu Buhari will crush Boko Haram.

Speaking at a camp fire ceremony with troops of 145 Battalion Damasak, Borno State, to mark Christmas celebration, Buratai said: “We are opening up roads in Sambisa Forest to site a base. It is going to be one of our training centres in the country as well as ground for testing acquired equipment before putting them into operation. A similar thing will be established at Alagarno, the former acclaimed spiritual base of Boko Haram before their defeat there.

“We want to thank you, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army, especially the theatre commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, the GOCs and all the soldiers fighting insurgency in Borno and Northeast for bringing Boko Haram terrorists to their knees. My gratitude also goes to the officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Air Force and Nigerian Navy whose collaboration has made the work fruitful.”

Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff reopened the Maiduguri-Gubio-Kareto-Damasak and Maiduguri-Monguno-Baga highways for commercial activities, following the emerging peace in Borno, with a strong warning to the personnel and members of National Union of Road Transport workers and National Union of Road Transport Employees to desist from any sort of extortion on the highways.

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