The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai today disclosed majority of Boko Haram members are not Nigerians.
Buratai, who made this assertion due to the current activities and identity of surrendered members of the sect, said 60 per cent of them are not Nigerians.
The Lt-Gen made this percentage in Maiduguri when he received the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, at the headquarters of the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole at the Maimalari Cantonment.
“Your Excellency, I want to bring to your attention that while the Boko Haram (insurgency) can be said to have started in Nigeria, by and large as at today, I can say that almost 60 per cent of the insurgents are from our neighbouring countries.
“You can see that almost all of the recently surrendered insurgents are not Nigerians.
“This is a challenge that impacts more on the Nigerian side than the other countries. But by and large, our military is up to the task and we will continue to do our best to ensure that our country is secured,’’ Buratai said.
He said that there was no doubt that the terrorists had been defeated but added that troops would continue with their operations until the insurgents finally surrender.
The army chief thanked the UN for identifying with Nigeria in its efforts to rout-out the terrorists and solicited additional support from the world body.
Speaking earlier, Dr Chambas said that his visit was an expression of the UN’s identification with Nigeria in the fight against Boko Haram and efforts to restore peace to the North-East region.
He restated the UN’s condemnation of the terrorists’ group, adding “we are behind the Federal Government’’ in its efforts to defeat the terrorists.
Chambas noted that the immediate consequence of the insurgency was the “huge humanitarian crisis’’ in the North-East and assured him that the UN had stepped up efforts to address it.
He called on the international community and donor agencies to come to the aid of Nigeria in addressing the crisis.
He said that Nigeria had always been involved in the UN peacekeeping missions across the world.
The UN representative used the occasion to commiserate with the Federal Government, the Nigerian Army and families of late Lt. Col. Muhammad Abu-Ali, who along with six other soldiers were killed by the insurgents on Nov. 4.
He said that their sacrifices and those of others who had died in the course of the war would not be in vain as Nigeria would be supported to win the war.