Troops have cleared and taken over Balmo Forest in a military operation that lasted throughout the weekend, the Defence Headquarters has said.
Prior to the operation, Balmo Forest, which stretches from Bauchi through Jigawa states with links to the fringes of the Sambisa Forest, was used by terrorists as bases and hideouts for launching attacks.
A statement by the Director, Defence Information, Maj. Gen. Chris Olukolade, in Abuja on Monday, said terrorists and armed gangs operating in the forests were completely rooted out while some were captured during the operation.
It however did not specify the number of those arrested during the operation, but said that two foreigners, suspected to be mercenaries, were among those captured.
Also recovered were several weapons and equipment including generating sets, communication equipment, vehicles, motorcycles, foodstuffs and kitchen utensils.
In another development, the military said over 44 terrorists died in Kerenoa and adjoining communities, following an encounter with troops who repelled their attack on the communities.
The military said that members of the sect armed with Improvised Explosive Devices and other high calibre weapons, had carried out a predawn attack on the communities but were overpowered by the troops.
During the operation, several of them were captured as well as weapons and ammunition of various calibre, according to the Defence headquarters.
“Meanwhile, troops on routine patrol around Banki and Miyanti in Borno State during the weekend fought through an ambush laid by the terrorists resulting in casualties on both sides.
“Altogether, a total of six soldiers were lost in the various encounters with terrorists while those wounded are receiving treatment,” the statement added.