The Centre for Conflict Resolution and Management (CCRM) has said that no Nigerian territory is currently under the control of Boko Haram
CCRM made the revelation in a report released on Wednesday in the wake of the rumoured takeover of Baga town in Kukuwa Local Government Area of Borno State and others parts of North East by the Boko Haram insurgents. The centre after an on-the-spot assessment dispelled the rumour.
While presenting the report, the Executive Director of the centre, Mrs. Betty Aku, said contrary to media report, no town in the country was being controlled by the violent group.
According to the report, Baga’s reputation and volume of economic activity, is a major economic hub in Borno State. The town is also located within the epicentre of the insurgency. In 2009, Doron Baga had become significantly affected by the activities of the insurgents, with the community experiencing frequent, violent attacks and even long periods of territorial occupation by the insurgents.
“The palpable insecurity in the Lake Chad region occasioned by armed banditry, arms trafficking and border intrusion along Nigeria’s border with Chad, Cameroon, and Niger necessitated the establishment of a Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) in 1998, with Baga town in Kukawa Local Government Area of Borno State as the headquarters.
“The initial mandate of the task force was to conduct military operations in the Lake Chad region, checkmate banditry activities and to facilitate free movement of the member states of the Lake Chad Basin Commission across their shared border. The actions of Boko Haram in Baga as the epicentre of strategic activities in terms of arms procurement, planning for attacks and reception centre for foreign insurgents or mercenaries, due to its proximity to porous borders, obligated and justified the expansion of the task force’s mandate in April, 2012 to include the fight against terrorism.
“The MNJTF in Baga is in charge of Lake Chad region and is administratively and operationally independent.
“As in this case, it is evident that Baga has remained a battleground between the Nigerian military and the Boko Haram insurgents for factors such as its proximity to the neighbouring francophone countries, its economic potentials, and activities evident in farming, livestock rearing, and fishing. Even before the Boko Haram conflict in the area, phenomena such as ambush, human trafficking, kidnapping, and robbery had been prevalent in the Lake Chad basin and specifically near the borders.”
The centre further stated that data analysis and interviews were used to answer critical research questions of the report.
“Primary source materials constituted a significant aspect of the research work. The strength of this report was in the extensive use of such sources, including oral interviews with residents of the communities.”
CCRM said after an analysis of the findings of the researchers, it found out that Baga town and its environs were not under the control of Boko Haram insurgents. But it rather witnessed an attempted takeover by heavily- armed Boko Haram insurgents, but the attack was successfully repelled by the combined ground and air forces.
“Baga and its environs are accessible to all commuters. The rumoured takeover of Baga and other communities are aspects of propaganda in warfare.
“The resurgence of attacks by Boko Haram insurgents has not decimated the claims that the sect has been technically defeated.
“The Nigerian troops were in high spirits throughout the festive season. The neighbouring communities in Baga are safe and well.
“There is no section of the state under the control of Boko Haram insurgents.
“The second attempt lasted several hours until the military deployed air support to the ground troops.
“Our researchers gathered that there was no attempt by the insurgents to inflict harm on the locals. They were strictly out to take control of the military base and possibly gain access to the armoury. This much was also gathered for other communities included in the rumoured takeover by Boko Haram insurgents.
“It was also gathered that Cross Kauwa town was briefly occupied by the Boko Haram insurgents after the first attempt at the military base in Baga. The insurgents launched the second attack from Cross Kauwa before dispersing using the Lake Chad route into the fringes of Chad and Niger.”
The centre said the resurgence of Boko Haram attacks might be connected to the forthcoming general elections.