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Insecurity amid surge of counter-insurgency attacks

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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civilians who had arrived the Auno Village Gate leading to Maiduguri, the state Capital,   after the soldiers had been withdrawn by 5Pm and subsequently, relocated to the city speaks volume.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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