From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri and Molly Kilete, Abuja
Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru has said renewed attacks by Boko Haram in Borno State are not unusual.
Attahiru insisted that the attacks do not suggest increase in activities of insurgents.
“The empirical analysis of Boko Haram attacks in recent time does not, in any way, suggest increase in attacks.
“The terrorists were only out to hit soft targets, including the June 8, 2017 attack in Jiddari Polo, Maiduguri,” General Attahiru said, in response to a question by Daily Sun at a media briefing held at the Military Command and Control Centre (MCCC) Maimalari Cantonement in Maiduguri, yesterday.
He had earlier said at the briefing that 97 suicide bomb attacks were recorded in the state, including six explosions at the University of Maiduguri.
“A total of 97 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) incident were recorded during the period under review,” he said, the highest in two months since 2015.
He also said a wanted Boko Haram commander, Abu Fatima, was killed in a gun dwell with insurgents at Ajigin, a remote area in Damboa Local Government, south of Maiduguri.
Abu Fatima was number 230 on the list of Boko Haram fighters declared wanted by the military, since 2014.
He said 810 Boko Haram suspects have been arrested bewteen March and June and also disclosed that five soldiers were killed and nine wounded in a “fierced battle” with the insurgents at Sabon Gari, south of Maiduguri.
Meanwhile, former Chief Of Army Staff, General Martin-Luther Agwai, has warned that terrorists are after the political class and other high net-worth Nigerians.
He stressed that contrary to widespread belief that the insurgents are only targeting military personnel, they are also after the political class.
Agwai, a formerchief of army staff, stated this at the 2017 Nigerian Army Day Celebrations (NADCEL), which held in Abuja, where he also urged the army to train personnel as infantry soldiers if the war against Boko Haram must be won. The event was packaged to mark 154, years of the army.
Agwai also called for adequate funding, modern equipment and training for the armed forces.
He urged Nigerians to key into the war on insurgency. “If people believe that it is only the military that can bring an end to Boko Haram, they are making a mistake because those who are involved in the fourth generation warfare are after political and not military targets, military power and military achievement.
“It is important to note that this type of warfare is difficult to defeat.
“Strategically, fourth generation warfare remains focused on changing the minds of decision makers, politically; it involves transitional and national networks. Operationally it uses different messages to different audiences and which focus on breaking the opponent political will; tactically, using simple materials to create all the havoc…”
“It is on this I come out with my suggestions and many of you would be surprised. My suggestion is that the Nigerian Army must be infantry dominated to fight the next war that we are fighting. They must be infantry dominated.
“They must work from the way to combat Boko Haram and to gain power in the fourth generation warfare, from the obvious to the compelling which is to return us from a dominated infantry force with a strong special force skills.
“With every army personnel should be in one degree or the other be either infantry or have the skills to perform infantry like functions whether you are in the engineer or the armoured Corps or any Corps you should be able to perform in any of the infantry because everywhere is a battle field you don’t know where the fourth generation warfare will start.
“The clear message is that the infantry dominated at the tactical level and that is where the enemy fights more. With all the strategic Forces you have if you do not have tactical capabilities you will be defeated.
To achieve this, Agwai, said this “can be done through capable competent leadership. The Chief of Army staff is a section commander and if he is not a good leader he’s going to command all into hell.
“The command starts from the bottom up and if you can’t do your job as a section commander don’t go and start blaming the platoon commander