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Boko Haram Terrorism And The Nigerian Military: Current Situation in the Battle Field


By EL – HAROON KAMILU ZARIA 


Between the 27th of March –  10th of May 2020, there are credible signs and several reports backed with relevant photographs depicting obvious achievements made by the Armed Forces of Nigeria, other security agencies, Civilian Joint Task Force and vigilantes in the North East Geo-political zone. 


The war on terror in Nigeria, as tedious, hazardous and time consuming as it is, is now being prosecuted with sheer professionalism, dedication and commitment by the military and other security organizations with noticeable successes being achieved on a sustained regular basis.


The current remarkable achievements made so far may not be unconnected with the commitment, resilience, courage and selfless disposition of the Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen TY Buratai who has since early April relocated to the battlefield with some of his selected principal staff officers including chief of training and operations of the Nigerian Army, chief of military intelligence, theatre commander operation Lafiya Dole and other field/sector commanders to personally coordinate and oversee the operation against the insurgents. 


The gains made against the terrorists are so overwhelming that they are now in disarray and in pitiable state crouching to safety. 


Accordingly, as  was exclusively reported by HumAngle’s Ahmed Salkida that on March 27, 2020, the Nigerian military has eliminated 18 Boko Haram commanders in a series of ground and air raids in Lake Chad between January and March.


According to Salkida that – “in April, HumAngle’s independent assessment of the war at the Lake Chad Basin and Sambisa Forest revealed major gains at the war front by Nigerian led Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).


Although the Nigerian military declared that the army killed 343 insurgents in recent combat operations, investigations have established that there were probably heavier casualties suffered by the insurgents between March 18 and May 5 particularly when casualty figures from Buni-Gari and Geidam encounters are included. 


Reporting the military operations to the media the Coordinator of Defence Military Operations, Maj Gen John Enenche said that – “a number of air interdictions were conducted, which led to the destruction of several BHT logistics facilities and compounds housing some of their leaders, including Abu Usamah, and a number of their fighters who were eliminated.”


Also in an article recently published in HumAngle, mr Salkida, (an ardent critique of the Nigerian Military) further exposed the successes of the military operations against Boko Haram Terrorists. 


According to him – “impeccable sources knowledgeable about the conflict in the Northeast have revealed the exact locations of the MNJTF and the Nigerian military bombardments of the operational camps in Kwalaram, Ngilewa, Sabon Tumbu, Bukarmairam, Wulgo all in the Marte and Gamboru Ngala axis of Borno State”.


Similarly, there are many media reports indicating that – “Boko haram/ISWAP fighters fleeing the recent military offensive were about settling down in choice locations in Alargo and the Marte flank when the Nigerian Military and the MNJTF located, fixed, targeted and bombarded scores of the fighters in air and ground operations”.


Local sources and media reports put the casualty figures that from the raids above 500, an indication that the figure earlier given by the military was probably understated”. 


“Analysts who follow the insurgency in the Lake Chad Basin tend to place the recent audio message released by Abubakar Shekau which was exclusively reported by HumAngle in context and conclude that the message mirrors the bloody nose the insurgents are receiving currently in the war fronts”. 


At the moment, there are clear signs the terrorists are in utter confusion accentuated by the lack of food, logistics and other necessities of life. 


The criminals are now effectively blockaded by the military making Abubakar Shekau to cry out and appeal to his remaining fighters in the audio message to be extra patient and resilient. Shekau alluded to the period of “trial” that his fighters were going through and urged them “not to relent in prayer.”


HumAngle has earlier reported that – “sources have highlighted the loss of no fewer than 60 war commanders” between March and May, in both the Chadian and Nigerian military operations, an indication that military’s earlier reported elimination of 18 commanders across Boko Haram/ISWAP factions was lower than the actual numbers.


Similarly, there are reports from the locals within the camps of the insurgents that  the Boko Haram fighters could no longer freely move in large groups in daylight because 28 of their foreign informants and local collaborators were arrested. 


Also the ground troops deployed on carefully selected ambush sites have so far been eliminating the insurgents on a periodic basis. 


Equally, the Air Force, according to the sources, is likely to pick out two out of three large vehicular movements in the day.


Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province convoys have been reportedly severally intercepted by both the ground troops on ambush sites and the Nigerian Air Force in recent times. 


Terrorists now move from one location to another in the night to avoid detection and elimination by the troops”. 


Also credible reports from the military and local sources, hinted that ground troops have also intensified artillery fire, further employing multi barrel launchers, motar bombs and rocket propelled grenades with several new gun trucks which effectively  saturate parts of Alagarno and Sambisa forests as well as the tumbun jaki, tumbun Rago and tumbun gini in mallam Fatori local government area of Borno State. 


Salkida further stated that – “The military operations in the territories have also resulted in overrunning insurgents’ camps in Durfada, Allafha, Timbuktu, Bulajibi and Gonikurmi in and around Sambisa, sources said, adding that “hundreds” of insurgent fighters died in battles in these camps”.


With the level of successes achieved so far, the Nigerian military has to sustain the gains by engaging in a more vigorous robust offensive operations to avoid terrorists regrouping and gradually recovering lost grounds which will be a disastrous drawback to the current tempo of counter terrorism operations.


To ensure final defeat of the Insurgents, the battle must be taken to their door steps on a sustained basis. How our military carries on with the operations in the coming days or weeks will determine the final defeat or otherwise of terrorism in Nigeria.


 END

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