THE RETURN of insurgency in the North Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe, after military claim of defeating Boko Haram technically is coming to many with a bit of shock. There have been signs showing that insursurgents are back fully prepared to engage the soldiers in the battle field. This became more pronounced with the attack on military bases, particularly, those located in Borno State.
Indeed, over the last two weeks, Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), had invaded some communities in these flash point states, thus sending out a message to Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Amy Staff (CAS), and Operation Lafiya Dole, OLD, Theatre Commander, that they have come back to the region fully prepared to recover their lost grounds in Borno during President Muhammadu Buhari’s first term in office.
Killing of 30 harmless civilians who had arrived the Auno Village Gate leading to Maiduguri, the state Capital, after the soldiers had been withdrawn by 5Pm and subsequently, relocated to the city speaks volume. The attack at the Auno Village Gate was said to have been quickly followed by the attack at Chibok, Headquarters of Chibok Local Government Area.
While the Theatre Commander of OLD Sector and the super Comp Commanders in the Chibok axis were still reviewing the security situation of the area in order to stop the Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters within the Lake Chad basis from infiltrating into the town to carry out future attacks, on Friday, February 21, 2020, the Abubakar Shekau led terrorist group attacked Lantaiwa, about 70 Km from Damaturu, the Yobe State Capital and about 30 Km to Dapchi community, where 10 school girls were kidnapped in 2018, three years after Buhari assumed office.
Prior to the Lantaiwa motorists attack, the Islamic fundamentalists had on Monday, February 17, 2020, attacked Gulak in Madgali Local Government Area of Adamawa State. Security watchers believe that both for the quick intervention of troops of 28 Task Force Brigade of OLD, the Insurgents could have overrun the town.
Sani Usman, a Brigadier General, and the Army spokesperson, who had issued a statement about the terrorists attack at Gulak town said the ”troops successfully repelled them”. The bad news was that a soldier was killed and three others critically injured. The Army spokesperson disclosed that the fallen soldier and the three others injured were not as a result of the terrorists’ fire power.
He noted that the 28 Task Force Troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole, in their bid to forestall the insurgents from gaining entry into Gulak town by neutralising their operational vehicle loaded with IED, trying to ram into a stationery gun truck in order to gain access to their camp facilitated the release of Shaprel which hit the soldiers.
The Army Brigadier General believes that the Islamic fundamentalists had become more desperate as they have resorted to the use of female suicide bombers and vehicle borne IEDS to carry out their attack on soft targets and vulnerable members of the public.
Recall that the aggrieved Katsina born Nigerian President could not understand how the insurgents and the bandits operating in the North East and North west respectively, who had been neutralised going by security reports could find their way back to the regions to disrupt economic activities. He lamented that many have been kept away from their means of livelihood because of heightened insecurity in the region. The President had expressed his anger over Abubakar Sani Bello, governor of Niger, home state of a former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida rtd and General Abdulsalami Abubakar rtd, another former Head of State.
Femi Adesina, a Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media and Publicity, had said that the President told the Niger State Governor that he was ”taken aback by what is happening in the North West ,particularly, and other parts of the country. It is not surprising why he has said that harder times await the Insurgents operating in the North East and the bandits in the North West and the North Central for bringing sorrow to Nigerians.
Security watchers had attributed the renewed insurgency in the North East and the activities of the bandits in the North West and North Central to the poor performance of the service chiefs. The President has told those that care to listen that the performance of the service chiefs may be disappointing but he will accept full responsibility for not changing them.
He appeared to have justified the reason for keeping the service chiefs. According to him, ”Removing the service chiefs in the middle of the fight against Insurgency in the North East may not be the right thing to do now, stressing that the decisions to keep them was based on his experience as a former military administrator, Federal Commissioner and a one –time Head of State where decisions are not hastily taken on some issues
He has said in an interview conducted by Arise Television, that there are ambitious Generals waiting in the wings to be appointed CDS, CAS, CNS and Chief of Air Staff but only a person each in the Army , Air Force or Navy could make it to the enviable rank of a Service Chief either in the Army, Air Force or the Navy.
The President may have learnt from his mistakes in appointing the old service chiefs. ”I didn’t know them personally, noting that he followed their track records believing that he has picked the best. This may have informed why he is taking his time to ensure that the right choice are made to deliver on the security mandate of the gate.
The service chiefs may have known that their days are numbered that they have become more alert to their duties to justify the confidence reposed on them by the President, particularly, Buratai, the CAS. He had repeatedly said that Boko Haram had been defeated but the Islamic fundamentalists had come up stronger than ever, attacking military bases and carting away weapons.
The CAS, who is not ready to apportion any blame to the soldiers for the renewed Insurgency in the North East has sent a message of solidarity and appreciation to the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole as a way encouraging the soldiers to put in more effort to win the counter-insurgency war.
The Borno State born Army Lt. General, who is never tired of making promises to win the ear of the President has said again that ”it is just a matter of days to end the menace of Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists”. Sagir Musa, a Brigadier General and acting Director of Army Public Relations in a statement disclosed that the CAS sent the message to the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Sector Commanders, Super Camp Commanders, Commanding officers of Task Force Brigades as well as soldiers serving in Operation Lafiya Dole. But critics described the promises as a huge joke as there is nothing on ground to show that this could be possible, even in months ahead.
Babagana Muguno, a Major General retired and National Security Adviser (NSA) to the President , who incidentally is also from Borno State, believes that there was no basis for the counter- insurgency war in the North East to have dragged on this long both for the meddlesomeness of Abba Kyari, the Chief of Staff to the President on security matters.
The NSA had said that Kyari, gives orders to the service chiefs on security matters without the knowledge and approval of the President who is the Commander –In-Chief of the Armed Forces and Chairman, National Security Council (NSC).
This may have informed why Mustapha Jokolo, a Major, rtd, and ADC to Buhari as a former Head of State and now Emir of Gwandu, Kebbi State , has called for the sacking of either Munguno or Kyarai including the service chiefs by the President.
Reno Omokiri, a one –time aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan , who could not understand the dance of shame between the two key members of the Buhari Kitchen Cabinet has challenged him to sack the duo if he is ”truly in-charge of his government”’.
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