Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The military has explained its new counter-insurgency concept tagged ‘Super Camps,’ saying the new approach was designed to give the operation against Boko Haram in the North East a lift.
Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj Gen Olusegun Adeniyi, during a meeting with Borno elders, a forum of notable citizens of Borno in Maiduguri on Tuesday at Maimalari Cantonment, said the military withdrew its troops from some locations to newly-created super camps for quick responses and troops’ mobility.
“We have adopted the Nigerian Army Super camps to ensure fast mobility, quick reactions, and longer reach and tactical level combined with the striking aid of the Air Task Force,” Adeniyi told the 16-member delegation of the Elders Forum.
The creation of super camps which led to the withdrawal of soldiers by the theatre, has generated sharp reactions from Borno people particularly after Boko Haram attacks on Gubio and Magumeri, Borno northern towns last week. Some residents said they fled the area because they were afraid they could be vulnerable to Boko Haram attack again without military protection.
But the commander said the super camps were created to ensure soldiers were not stationed in many locations and be repeatedly attacked by Boko Haram. He said the new camp would rather allow them to move around on surveillance. He said the concept was still in its formative stage even as he pleaded with the people to be patient with the military.
“We strongly believe the days of Boko Haram moving freely and passing in between static defensive locations, is over. We’ve just adopted it. It is being fine-tuned and when it is fully implemented, there will be no town or village in Borno State that we won’t have a presence. You should also exercise more patience because everything that will turn excellent has a difficult beginning,” he said.
He said he called a round-table with the elders to interact, explain military action and also take suggestions from them.
Former governor of Borno, Alhaji Asheik Jar’ma, who led the 16-members delegation to the theatre, said they were at the meeting to give suggestion for the return of peace.
“Almost all of us are in our 80s and some also approaching 80 years. So nothing is in our interest other than peace in our land. The only thing we can do now at our age is to pray for the return of peace and offer suggestions,” Jar’ma who was the governor between September and December 1983, said.
Spokesman of Borno Elders Forum, Dr Bulama Mali Gubio, while addressing journalists after a closed-door meeting with the military commanders, said the theatre commander and his team had shown passion to step up the counter-insurgency operation. He assured that the elders would collaborate with the military to ensure the success of the new strategy.
Among the elders was the former vice-chancellor of the University of Maiduguri and professor of Community Health, Prof Emeritus Umaru Shehu, retired bureaucrats and educationists.