Fresh Anxiety Over Boko Haram •Report Says Sect Regrouping •COAS Affirms Army Readiness

By on May 21, 2017


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The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, last Saturday, restated the  commitment of the Nigerian Army to secure the country, pledging, also, the determination of  officers and men in the discharge of their duties.

Buratai was in Kano, to round off a special military exercise ‘Operation Scorpion Sting (Harbin Kunama II’) in Falgore forest of Doguwa Local Government area and as courtesy demands, paid a call on the governor of the state, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje. 

There, Buratai said, “Insurgents and other criminals have been seriously degraded and the army would not relent until it ensures peace and stability in all parts of the country.” He said that the operation was launched in Southern Kaduna to address the problem of clashes between farmers and herdsmen, as well as ethno-religious crises in the area.

The Army Chief said that the first phase of the operation was conducted in parts of Kaduna, Zamfara, Bauchi and Niger Delta.

Earlier, Ganduje had attributed the positive changes witnessed in the military, to the support and leadership of President Buhari.

The governor also commended the resilience and sacrifice of soldiers in the field.

“I urge you to keep it up and sustain the tempo as you carry on with the efforts to rid our country of criminal elements.

“I must also commend your efforts in ensuring the fulfillment of this administration’s pledge to secure lives and property; because of  your contributions, the situation has greatly improved.” 

But emerging facts have shown that corruption in the military may hamper the fight against insurgents.

The International anti-corruption body, Transparency International in a report, said the military graft is weakening Nigeria’s efforts to effectively battle the terrorist group, Boko Haram.

The anti-corruption body (Transparency International) states that President Muhammadu Buhari’s promise to tackle corruption and terrorism is being hampered by the lack of transparency in military contract awards.

“Corrupt military officials have been able to benefit from the conflict through the creation of fake defence contracts, the proceeds of which are often laundered abroad in the UK, US and elsewhere.”

This it says makes it difficult for the military to acquire the required equipment and training to take on the militants who are armed with sophisticated weapons.

The group calls on the government to make its defence budget and procurement systems more transparent.

In 2016, the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo said around $15 billion had been stolen from the public purse under the previous government through fraudulent arms procurement deals.

According to Transparency International, this had left the military “without vital equipment, insufficiently trained, low in morale and under-resourced.”

“This has crippled the Nigerian military in fighting an aggressive ideologically inspired enemy such as Boko Haram,” the watchdog said, pointing to cases of soldiers taking on the militants without ammunition or fuel.

In a swift reaction, the military denied the allegations by the Transparency International, describing it as false.

According to the spokesman of Defence, Major General John Enenche, the issue of corruption cannot be traced to the current crop of military officers.

“A lot has been done to train, boost troops’ morale and procure vital equipment through due process.”

The military “will continue to get better with the right kind of leadership that we have today.

The military says it has recaptured much of the territory claimed by Boko Haram since the conflict began in 2009. But the reclaimed areas are often razed towns or islands of relative safety and highways connecting them to larger cities.

He adds that under the Buhari administration, the troops are getting the required training and equipment and will get better.

If that is the case, the military then should be in a good position to counter the re-emergence of Boko Haram.

The Ona of Abaji and Chairman FCT Council of Traditional rulers, Alhaji Adamu Yunusa last Friday raised the alarm of threats by Boko Haram to attack the Federal Capital Territory through Abaji and neighbouring communities. 

Yunusa made the disclosure just as the Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Shuaibu Gambo assured that security would be beefed up while intelligence platforms will be deployed to Abaji and its environs. 

Speaking when Gambo, who is in charge of North Central Zone of the country visited Abaji as part of his tour of states in the zone, the traditional ruler said: “We have been hearing that Boko Haram are planning to attack the FCT and the plan is to infiltrate and carry out the attack from Abaji. We will be the first casualty. We need the police now more than ever.” 

Also, a report by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned that members of a faction of Boko Haram are regrouping, re-arming and returning to the Sambisa Forest area.

The regrouping and returning of insurgents to the Sambisa forest may rubbish the successes recorded so far by the Federal Government in the anti-terrorism fight and worsen the security situation in the affected parts of the country.

The commission, also, expressed worry about the increase in the number of children used as suicide bombers from nine in 2016 to 27 in the first quarter of the year.

UNHCR said the increase in the number of IED attacks around Maiduguri and Southern Borno had raised concern over the safety of the IDPs in the camps.

According to the report, the security situation is also the same with Cameroon, as there has been an increase in the number of incursions with deadly attacks, suicide bombings and kidnappings occurring on a regular basis. It added that the security situation in Niger Republic had deteriorated as Boko Haram insurgents carried out a major attack on Niger Security and Defence Force position near Gueskerou and allegedly stole food stocks, medication and cattle from various locations.

The Nigeria Northeast Humanitarian Emergency situation report reveals that currently, over 4.7 million people are estimated to be faced with insecurity in the most crisis-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, maintaining that the number could rise to 5.2 million between June and August if adequate measures were not put in place to address the situation. It further revealed that additional 2500people had been displaced from Dikwa, Gwoza and Bama Local government areas during the reporting period.

As at April, UNHCR and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) had registered a total of 260,000 people who returned from Cameroon, Niger Republic and Chad, out of who only three per cent were recorded as refugees in the countries of asylum, while 86 per cent were not registered, the report revealed.

According to the UN agency, the main reasons given by the refugee returnees are the need to participate in upcoming local elections, return to stability in areas of origin, resume economic activities as well as lack of food and water in their hosting areas.

There is the fear that recently released Boko Haram suspects may have been regrouping in the forest. Some human rights organisations and indeed Nigerians had criticised the swapping of Boko Haram suspects for abducted Chibok girls.

Early this month, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau released a new video in which he threatened to resume fresh killings in Nigeria.

Boasting that he is still alive and cannot be killed until his mission is completed, the Boko Haram leader said his men are all alive and have not been killed.

The 14-minute video followed the reports that he had been injured, and that some of his key were men killed in an air strike at a location where they gathered for prayers in Borno State, North-East Nigeria.

The video was the second the terrorist leader will be releasing in 2017, after a 27-minute video in which he criticised countries in the Lake Chad area fighting the terrorists under the Multinational Joint Task Force.

Also in December 2016, Shekau faulted claims by the Nigerian Army that Boko Haram insurgents had been chased out of the Sambisa forest.

Source cattnews

Posted 21/05/2017 8:24:35 PM




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