The gallant troops of Nigerian Army, Nigeria Airforce and the Security Services have undoubtedly decimated and dispersed the insurgents from their strongholds in the North-east. Our gratitude is to Mr. President and the gallant troops, who made it possible for some of our people to return home. We particularly wish to commend the Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Lucky Irabor, under the able leadership of Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai, for the successes in the ongoing counter terrorism operations. The people of some parts of Borno State are, however, alarmed by what evidently is a resurgence of the insurgents.
Intermittent suicide attacks recently at the University of Maiduguri, where a respected professor was killed and suicide attacks on a market in Madagali in Northern Adamawa State, bordering southern state are examples. There was also, the bloody attack on a convoy of army recruits along the Ajiri-Dikwa Road in Mafa Local Government. Seven soldiers were reportedly killed and nineteen others were fatally wounded. The spokesman of 7 Division Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, Lt. Col. Kingsley Samuel, reportedly said the troops fought their way through the ambush. This gives a picture of the magnitude of the emerging threat. The other not well publicised terrorist attacks were the several attempts by suicide bombers to infiltrate Maiduguri Metropolitan and the attack on Kaumutayahi in Chibok town and the razing down of Mussa Village in Askira Uba Local Government Area in Borno State some three days ago. There have also been reports of ambush of travellers on the Damboa-Biu Road where commuters are usually escorted by soldiers. Towns and villages on the shore of the Lake Chad have also not been spared attacks by remnants of the insurgents. It is against this background we are alerting on what definitely is a resurgence of the Boko Haram in parts of Borno State.
What the situation in Borno State at the moment portends is the dislodged insurgents and indoctrinated sympathisers are regrouping. The scenario as we pointed out earlier is not unexpected in an insurgency situation like the one being experienced. What is required is the gallant soldiers and security agents, who decimated the insurgents must not allow the gains made in the counter insurgency war to be lost. The insurgents are definitely defeated but many of them have relocated to new hideouts.
There have been unconfirmed reports that many of the hardened insurgents escaped from Sambisa Forest to the Nigeria Cameroon hills between Bakin Dutse in Madagali in Adamawa State and Paulka in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State. There are also reports that substantial parts of Gwoza and environs remain inaccessible and dangerous due to the presence of the dispersed insurgents. There are also reports that many insurgents are holed up between Madagali, Gwoza and Damboa. Credible information also claim ongoing attacks in Damboa, Chibok and parts of Askira Uba Local Government Area are by insurgents from the Nigeria-Cameroon borders. These areas must, therefore, be combed if the activities of the insurgents is to be checked.
The current situation also requires the civil populace should complement the very hard earned success by the gallant soldiers who have liberated our communities. The communities must be sensitised and be on heightened lookout for infiltrators. The civil populace most also be educated on the rudimentaries of basic intelligence gathering. Nigeria Police and Civil Defence should also step up liaison with the civil populace so that the soldiers are relieved for more essential duties. Above all, the deradicalisation of the unemployed youths must start in earnest.
We want to emphasise that communities in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states remain very appreciative of the successes of Mr. President and the Service Chiefs in liberating our communities. We are drawing attention so that the successes recorded are not reversed hence this advice for restrategising and sustaining of the ongoing counter insurgency operations.
Why military must spare nobody
By Kashim Shettima
In recent days and weeks, we have come under renewed attacks, which horribly remind us that our security challenges are still longing. It is regrettable that this upsurge in cowardly suicide attacks came not long after the patriotic military forces of this country recaptured Sambisa Forest, which used to be the operational zone of the Boko Haram terrorists.
It was from Sambisa that these mass murderers used to train, prepare and launch bold attacks on our communities. Our gallant military and other security agencies have now denied them the use of their former high command.
However, we must remind ourselves that the recapture of Sambisa Forest and the flushing out of the terrorists from most of their former enclaves does not mean that our struggle is over. Instead, the terrorists have resorted, in their usual cowardly fashion, to stepping up attacks on soft targets. Cowardly and vile attacks, such as these on schools, places of worship, markets and other soft targets are signs of the terrorists’ weakness and of their desperation to tell their terror co-travellers around the world, that they are not yet finished.
In this criminal endeavour, they resort to the use of teenagers and children as young as seven years.
More recently, they even strap babies on the back of their recruits in order to slip through our security dragnets. They also use hard drugs on these innocent children, who do not know what they are doing when they kill their own parents, relations, and fellow countrymen and women. Many precious lives have been lost, hundreds of citizens, including school girls were abducted; many more people have suffered serious injuries as a result of these senseless acts of bloodthirsty enemies of peace.
In the midst of our pain in these trying times, we must acknowledge the support of international and local humanitarian agencies, development partners and credible NGOs for standing by the good people of Borno State through thick and thin. Even though we are all saddened by episodes of attacks, I assure you that I serve with a constant reminder that the number one basis of government is the protection of innocent life and property.
I know the weight of my duties and the oath I took before you and God.
With your mandate, I have the privilege of first hand security reports and I can share with you, that for every vile attack that the terrorists were able to carry out on innocent lives, many more were stopped by our gallant security agencies, our Civilian JTF, vigilantes and hunters. As we know, the intention of terrorists is to demoralise us, make us to live in fear and prevent us from going about our normal lives and worshipping our God in ways that differ from their ungodly violence. We will not allow them to succeed in their wish to make us live in the permanent slavery of fear. In fact, they have failed in their mission because together, we have said no to them. And in saying NO, we must not let them cause us any more harm.
The Government of Borno State will continue to provide the necessary support to our gallant military and security agencies and volunteers in their patriotic effort to restore peace and security in our ancestral land. We will continue to take preventive measures by working with community leaders across ethnic and religious divides in all our 27 local government areas to increase community policing. We all have roles to play.
To be continued tomorrow