Troops in the north east

A team of international observers has lauded the Nigerian army for making recovered territories of the northeast impenetrable for Boko Haram.

The team consists of journalists, civil society organisations and social media influencers.

At a press conference yesterday in Abuja after a report on the activities of Boko Haram in Gundunbali, Damask and Garshigar areas of Borno State, the leader, Daniel Furnard, said his team decided to embark on a 10-day tour of the areas following the avalanche of conflicting reports from the North East.

Furnard, who had worked with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for over 20 years, said the tour put paid to speculations about developments in the area.

His words: “A team of international journalists, including Francois Deburo, local journalists, humanitarian workers and a coalition of civil society organisations undertook a tour of some communities in Borno State for an independent assessment of the operations of the Nigerian military, the current state of the war against insurgency and conflicting reports in the media.”

Organisations such as, Victims and Disaster Management Initiative (VDMI), Peace Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Initiative (PRRI), Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency (CESJET), as well as participants drawn from various media houses in Nigeria and select social media influencers in the country joined the team.

“It suffices to state that the over-arching objective of the tour was to put paid to speculations about Boko Haram occupying territories in some communities in northeast Nigeria after some attempts by the terrorists to invade Nigerian communities under the control of the Nigerian army.

“Consequently, the team decided that there would be no military escort for the duration of the project,” he added.

The CSOs that participated in the tour have been actively involved in humanitarian activities in the region and so are conversant with the terrain. A local guide selected on the spot also helped their work.

He said the team was on the ground for one week, from September 25 to October 4, 2018.

“In the course of the trip, members of the group were divided into clusters and each with a local tour guide that assisted with language barrier. Each cluster visited communities and observed their daily activities, which were recorded in video and still photograph,” he added.

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