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NAF jets bomb Boko Haram commanders during meeting in Sambisa

 

The Nigerian Air Force fighter jets have blown up a building in Boboshe area of the Sambisa Forest in Borno State, where some Boko Haram terrorists’ commanders were holding a meeting.

The NAF aircraft conducted the air interdiction on Sunday after successive days of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance missions confirmed that the building was used as an operational base of the insurgents.

According to a release by the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the Boko Haram commanders were believed to be planning an attack on troops’ location.

The NAF spokesman said, “The Air Task Force of Operation Lafiya Dole decimated the location at Boboshe on the fringes of the Sambisa Forest, being used by Boko Haram terrorists as a meeting venue.

“The attack was conducted following successive days of ISR missions, coupled with human intelligence reports, which established that a building within the settlement was being used as a rendezvous by Boko Haram where their commanders assembled to take instructions before launching attacks against our troops and innocent civilians.

“Accordingly, the ATF detailed its fighter aircraft to attack the hideout, scoring accurate hits within the designated area leading to the decimation of the target structure. Several terrorists were killed as a result of the strikes.

“The NAF, operating in concert with surface forces, will sustain its efforts to completely destroy all remnants of the terrorists in the North-East.”

Mixed reactions trail Army chief’s call for spiritual warfare against Boko Haram

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said terrorism and terrorist groups could not be eliminated alone by the military unless religious bodies and organisations in the country come to the ‘forefront of the spiritual battle.’

The army chief noted that the focus must be religious groups addressing the ideologies which fuelled the Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists activities.

Buratai stated these on Monday in Abuja at a spiritual warfare seminar at the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, with the theme, ‘Countering insurgency and violent extremism in Nigeria through spiritual warfare.’

The army chief, who was represented by the Chief of Administration, Maj. Gen. Sani Yusuf, urged Islamic and Christian clerics to join the fight against terrorism and reorient the people against negative ideologies.

Buratai said, “It is easier to defeat Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorists than their ideology because while we degrade the terrorists and their havens, the narrative of the ideology grows the group.

“Therefore, communities, families and groups should join in the fight and narratives to reject and prevent the ideologies of the terrorists and extremist groups.

“Religious bodies and organisations in particular, which interface regularly with the grass roots, should be in the forefront of this spiritual battle and fashion out ways of stepping up their roles.

“It is a well-known fact that terrorism and terrorist groups cannot be totally eliminated by mainly military actions. This means focusing our efforts on the underlying narratives through ideologies employed by these terrorists to lure innocent citizens into their fold.

“The need to defeat the ideologies of Boko Haram and ISWAP is based on the awareness that it is the ideologies that enhance their resources and help to recruit new fighters to their fold and as such, kill their ideology and the terrorist movement withers and dies.”

But the Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr Debo Adeniran, flayed Buratai for “recommending a fetish approach to prosecuting a physical war.”

Adeniran said Buratai’s statement was an admission that he no longer had anything to offer and should be replaced by the President.

He said, “I think that this Buratai of a soldier does not know his onions; he had made a couple of laughable recommendations in the past and all he is doing is like groping in the dark. He doesn’t seem to know the technicalities of prosecuting such a war by the sheer ignorance he has been displaying and the trial-and-error strategy that he is adopting has led to Nigeria losing many brilliant and agile soldiers who could have otherwise been very useful in prosecuting sensible wars. But because of the carelessness of the leaders, we have lost many of them; as well as the fact that several trillions of naira has been pumped into prosecuting that war.

“I will join the school of thought that has asked the President and the Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces to waste no further time in looking for a more brilliant and technically-savvy warrior that can prosecute the war that is going on in the North-East; otherwise, we will be losing our future to carelessness and that will not do Nigeria any good.”

Also, Adebayo Oladeji, the Special Assistant (Media and Communications) to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle, urged Buhari to sack the army chief.

He said, “CAN has been consistently calling on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Commander-in-Chief, to overhaul the security system and replace the service chiefs.

“As far as we are concerned, the handling of the security challenges in the country has been everything, but satisfactory. We have also told the President to overhaul the National Security Council with a view to injecting new blood with a new vision and to address the lopsided appointments of the NSC.”

However, Ustaz Christian Okonkwo, the Director of Islamic Centre, Afikpo, an affiliate of the International Islamic Relief Organisation based in Saudi Arabia, said Buratai was right.

The former Director of Administration, Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, said, “People get indoctrinated by the preaching and teaching of a set of religion or the other or by their attachment to their particular tribe or race. So, if we have to change the narrative, it just has to come from the same source to which these people have been indoctrinated because they have a very serious sentiment to that religion or ethnic group.”

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad lll-led Jam’atu Nasril Islam also backed the Chief of Army Staff.

The JNI’s Secretary – General, Dr. Abubakar Khalid-Aliyu, said, “My understanding is that the military chief has so many dimensions, including the military and spiritual dimensions, because they are based on religious ideology and this religious ideology has been the fuel. The terrorists need a superior religious ideology which teaches that life is sacrosanct and must be protected at all costs, and that taking a life as viewed by the Qur’an by injustice is like taking the whole human race. I think using higher ideology of Islam to compliment other aspect of it to fight the terrorists is apt.

 

Army organises spiritual warfare against Boko Haram

The Nigerian Army, on Monday, took the battle against insurgency to a spiritual realm.

A seminar themed: “Countering Insurgency and Violent Extremism in Nigeria through Spiritual Warfare”, was organised at the Nigeria Army Resource Centre in Abuja.

The seminar was organised by the army’s directorate of chaplain services Roman Catholic, Protestant and directorate of Islamic affairs.

Tukur Buratai, army’s chief of staff, who was represented by Mohammed Yusuf, chief of administration, declared the seminar open.

Buratai said the need to defeat the ideologies of the insurgents was based on the awareness that it was their ideologies that had enhanced their resources and how to recruit new fighters to their folds.

Spiritual controls the physical

According to him, terrorism will wither and die if the ideology is killed.

“By its nature, ideologies have the power to manipulate what people think, inform their opinion and direct their attitude. It is a well known fact that terrorism and terrorist groups will not be totally eliminated by mainly military actions,” he said.

“This means focusing our effort on the under laying narratives through ideologies that are employed by these terrorist groups to lure innocent citizens into their fold.

“Communities and the states need to be joined with the common purpose of rejecting the ideology of this group and those who exposed them. This can be better achieved through the provision of appropriate counter narratives targeted at the ideology of the terrorist group.”

Buhari: Boko Haram acquires sophisticated weapons with ease

President Muhammadu Buhari has told West African leaders that the ease with which terrorist groups, including Boko Haram access funds and acquire sophisticated weapons is a serious concern.

Buhari said this during the extraordinary summit of ECOWAS heads of state and government on counter-terrorism, taking place in Burkina Faso.

The president said though West African countries have made significant progress in combating terrorism, regional integration is still being threatened.

He also said Nigeria has been a “major victim of Boko Haram terrorist activities”, but that the country remains resolute in the efforts to eradicate them in all forms.

“’The frequency of attacks, the determination and resilience of the terrorist groups as well as the ease with which they raise funds and acquire sophisticated weapons are matters of serious concern which should engage our attention as a Community,” he said in a statement issued by Femi Adesina, his spokesman.

”Equally worrisome, is the continuing spread of the menace of terrorism in the region and the growing link between terrorism and organised crime.

“And the best way to achieve this objective is through coordinated regional actions and responses against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, inter-communal disputes while we also put in place policies and measures that will address their root causes including the re-establishment and protection of livelihoods.”

Buhari lamented the impact of terrorism on the Lake Chad Basin, which he said used to serve as “an area abundant in natural resources providing livelihoods to tens of millions of people”.

“The area has become an abode for terrorist groups and extremists,” he said, while calling on West African countries to “galvanise international support and solidarity to combat and defeat this menace in our region”.

The president’s comment comes shortly after the New York Times reported how Boko Haram insurgents are upgrading their operations with improved weapons and drones, while the Nigerian military is fighting the insurgents with inefficient tactics and obsolete weapons.

INEC office burnt, houses destroyed as Boko Haram strikes in Borno town

Thousands of people have been displaced in Gubio, a town in Borno state, following an attack by suspected Boko Haram insurgents.

Sources said the insurgents invaded the town around 5pm on Wednesday. They were said to have shot sporadically and set many houses on fire.

A soldier from the army’s 5 brigade stationed in Damasak told TheCable that the insurgents have been around Gubio communities for at least three months as a result of the relocation of the brigade headquarters from the town.

“There is no soldier in Gubio, and that is why those guys moved in. They burnt the INEC office and some other houses,” he said.

“As I am speaking, troops have been reinforced from the brigade and now in face-off with the insurgents.”

Jack Vince, a journalist resident in Maiduguri, corroborated the account of the soldier.

He said that the area had been without military presence and that was why it made easy for the insurgents to storm without any resistance.

“For about two weeks now no military post from Damasak on the border with Niger Republic to my community in Maiduguri, Magumeri, Kareto, Gubio and so on,” he said.

“Gubio was dislodged, soldiers ran to Damasak and Maiduguri leaving that wide expanse of land unguarded.”

A source claimed  that soldiers pulled out because the locals were not cooperating with them in fighting the insurgents.

“Thousands of people dislodged from Gubio have ran to the bush, trying to find their way to Maiduguri,” he said.

In May, the insurgents shot 11 villagers during an attack on Gundi village in Gubio.

Col Sagir Musa, army’s spokesman, did not immediately respond to a message seeking development on the attack.

 

65 mourners shot dead in Borno as Boko Haram revenges loss of 11 fighters

Suspected members of the Boko Haram sect killed at least 65 persons at a village near Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, on Saturday, according to BBC.

The insurgents reportedly attacked the mourners on their way from a funeral in Nganzai district near the state capital.

BBC quoted Muhammed Bulama, a local government official, as saying the attack could be a revenge for the killing of 11 Boko Haram fighters by the villagers two weeks ago.

Reacting to the attack, Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman, said President Muhammadu Buhari has received assurances from the armed forces that “those who committed these killings will pay a big price for their action”.

“The federal government is firmly and resolutely committed to taking all necessary measures to safeguard the nation’s security. This administration is determined to end the menace of terrorism,” he quoted Buhari as saying.

Boko Haram has continued to inflict harm in the north-eastern part of the country despite government’s effort to keep the group in check.

In recent times, the group has become deadlier, invading military formation while killing and capturing security forces.

Arrested B’Haram commander: My first assignment was to kill a teacher and three friends

Umar Abatcha, a Boko Haram commander who was arrested in Borno state last month, has reportedly opened up on some of the atrocities he committed when he was under the control of the sect.

Better known as “Skely” in Gwange Sabon Layi in Maiduguri, Borno capital, he was said to have escaped to Lagos after leaving the camp of the insurgents but he was arrested when he returned to the state on May 13.

Mohammed Aliyu, police commissioner of Borno, said the suspect confessed to being a member of Boko Haram sect when he was grilled by detectives.

He disclosed that Abacha claimed he returned to Maiduguri, thinking that nobody will recognise him.

He was quoted as saying he was forced to pick arm to fight with the military, adding that his first assignment was killing a teacher and three of his close friends.

Aliyu said the suspect confessed to have been part of many attacks on security locations in which military weapons were carted away.

Another suspect identified as Ali Ibrahim was arrested on January 6, 2019, by the federal special anti-robbery squad (FSARS) at Dikwa low-cost estate in Maiduguri.

Ibrahim said he spent four years with the group and that he carried out attacks in the shores of Lake Chad and Cameroon.

He claimed to have escaped from one of the group’s camps in Cameroon after denouncing membership of the sect.

“I beg for forgiveness for all the crimes and atrocities I was forced to commit while I was with Boko Haram,” he said.

Army confirms killing 9 key Boko Haram social media ‘personalities’

The Nigerian Army on Monday said it killed nine ”social media personalities” of  the Islamic State for West African Province(ISWAP)

Col. Sagir Musa, Army Director Public Relations, who disclosed this in a statement, said the annihilation of members of the Boko Haram media team further confirmed that the Nigerian Army has decimated the group and they no longer have freedom of action.

He gave the names as: ”Abu Hurayra al-Barnawi, Ali al-Ghalam al-Kajiri, Abu Musab Muhammed Mustafa al-Maiduguri, Abu Abdullah Ali al-Barnawi, and Abu Musa al-Camerooni.
”Others are Ahmed al-Muhajir, Abu Ali al-Bamawi, Abu Khubayb bin Ahmed al-Barnawi, Abu al-Qa’qa’ al-Maiduguri.
“The terrorist group is known for its online media propaganda and quest to maintain a virtual caliphate,”he said.
NAN reports that Boko Haram launched using the media in 2009, starting with a very traditional media approach through propaganda films, many of them aimed at recruiting new fighters from Nigeria and neighbouring countries including Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
NAN reports that from 2014, their p0strategy changed into more use of social media platforms, videos, and creating multiple accounts like Facebook and Twitter platforms, mostly as a way to communicate with individuals.

Lt.-Col, two soldiers killed as vehicle runs over IED planted by Boko Haram

Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said the death of three military personnel on Monday in Borno was “wake-up call’’ for the army to further strategise to defeat terrorists.

He stated this at the burial of Lt.-Col. Ibrahim Aminu, Cpl. Jibril Ahmadu and Lance Cpl. Tijjani Mohammed, at the Maimalari Cantonment Cemetery in Maiduguri on Tuesday.

Aminu, the Commanding Officer, 145 Task Force Battalion and the two soldiers died on Monday when, during patrol, their vehicle ran over an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) planted by Boko Haram insurgents. The device exploded.

The incident occurred at Mauli-Borgozo axis in Kaga Local Government Area of Borno.

Buratai said “this threat, IEDs, is real but we are taking all measures to ensure that we counter it.

“The challenge that we are having in the North-East has always been the enemy action, either through encounter or Improvised Explosive Device being exploded on our troops, and today’s burial is one of those incidents that involve IED.

“This is a situation that will require us to be vigilant at all times and to ensure that we protect ourselves from this menace of the IEDs.’’

He described the death of the officer and soldiers as “highly unfortunate and regrettable’’.

“Today, it is with heavy heart that we bury our colleagues who paid the supreme sacrifice in course of duty.

“It is a great loss; we will miss them.

“Let me pay my condolences to the families of the late lieutenant-colonel and two soldiers, and indeed all of us – officers and men of Operation Lafiya Dole and Nigerian army,’’ Buratai lamented.

Meanwhile, the Control and Command Centre of the Operation Lafiya Dole, on Monday unveiled a device to counter IEDs, as part of the measures to tackle the challenge.

The device, a padded roller supported by plate, weighing about 280 kilogrammes and attached to heavy duty truck, is capable of detecting and safely detonating IED.

And, in case the device goes off, the plate protects the vehicle and troops.

At the unveiling in Maiduguri, Buratai assured that apart from the roller, Nigerian Army Manufacturing Company was developing a similar device which would be mass produced “as soon as we get it correct.’’

He said that the device, when produced, would be used to counter the threat of IED.

On general security in the North-East, the army chief said that the situation was improving, but expressed worry about the terrorists’ resilience.

According to him they still move around causing havoc and sometimes attacking military locations.

He charged troops to sit up and deal with the terrorists, who he described as “criminal elements bent on destabilising the country and make life difficult for the citizens’’.

“We should not allow them to triumph over us.

“This should never be allowed to happen and therefore, we must make sure that we deal with them decisively and to do that, we must remain alert, conscious of our environment and must be vigilant all times.

“What is required now is just vigilance.

“We must ensure that all suspicious movements in and around locations are reported or actions are taken and arrest made. This will help us in this operation,’’ he said.

Buratai said that efforts were being made to procure required equipment and platforms for the ongoing operations, adding very soon, the first set of consignment would be delivered to the army.

He said that the equipment would greatly help to address some of the gaps observed in operations.

He disclosed that the military was taking “some strong and decisive measures’’ to checkmate the activities of the “Boko Haram jihadists’’.

The COAS urged citizens, especially Borno and Yobe states people, to be patient with whatever steps being taken to contain the terrorists.

“There may be some inconveniences; it is for the good of all of us, people of Borno and Yobe, and indeed, all Nigerians,’’ he said.

Boko Haram: Over 90,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon – UN officials

Officials from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and those from Adamawa and Borno states on Monday said about 90,000 Nigerian refugees in Cameroon ”are safe’’ and will soon return.

The officials brainstormed on Monday over plans to repatriate the refugees.

The refugees, mostly from Borno, were displaced by the unending Boko Haram insurgency.

At the meeting in Yola on Monday, the Adamawa State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Ahmad Sajoh, said plans for their evacuation had reached an advanced stage.

”Necessary arrangements have been made by the Adamawa State Government to receive the refugees, who would pass through Adamawa transit camp from Minawawo camp in Cameroon.

‘’About  4,000 of the refugees are from Adamawa, and already agreement had been reached with some communities here in Adamawa to host about 1,500 refugees from Borno, who have indicated that they would want to remain in Adamawa,’’ he said.

The commissioner, who did not give the date for the commencement of the evacuation, said the refugees would be airlifted by the Nigerian Air Force.

Also speaking, the Borno delegation team leader, Kullima Kachalla, commended the government and people of Adamawa, ”for the hospitality to the displaced persons from Borno since the insurgency started.

”Borno government is committed to ensuring the success of the evacuation exercise,’’ Mr Kachalla said.

In her remarks, at the meeting,  head of UNHCR sub-office in Marwa, Cameroon, Mylene Ahounou, said: “the commission is waiting for final authorisation from the central government of Cameroon to embark on the exercise.

“We urge the Nigerian Government to also reach out to Cameroon to facilitate action.”

A representative of the refugees, Ashigar Mohammed, said ”We are eager to return home.” He thanked Nigeria, Cameroon and UNHCR for coming to their aid.

The UNHCR is a United Nations programme with the mandate to protect refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people, and assist in their voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement to a third country.

The Boko Haram insurgency in Northern Nigeria has led to about 100,000 deaths since 2009, according to the Borno State Government. The terror group, which has been largely decimated since 2015, seeks to impose strict Islamic law in Northern Nigeria.

Army rescues 29 women, 25 children

Troops of the Nigerian Army have rescued 54 Boko Haram kidnapped persons in Borno, including 29 women and 25 children.

In a statement, Col. Sagir Musa, the Acting Director Army Public Relations, said the victims were freed after troops cleared Ma’allasuwa and Yaa-Munye villages in the state.

Musa explained that the terrorists fled from the troops’ onslaught and abandoned their victims.

He also said that troops on clearance operation in Damasak general area of Mobbar Local Government Area of Borno, destroyed two Boko Haram logistics vehicles and make shift camp.

In another development, Musa disclosed that a Mobile policeman, Sgt. Markus John, with number PNo 383106 was arrested at Njimtilo check point along Maiduguri-Damaturu road, while on transit to Lagos.

He said that at the time of arrest, John was in possession of two magazines, 146 rounds of 7.62 mm Special ammunition and one round of anti aircraft gun concealed in his bag.

On May 10, Musa said the army in conjunction with the police, arrested Pte Paul Ojochegbe (14NA7113208) and Lance Cpl. Oko Eke (12NA672586), also at the Njimtilo check point.

He alleged that they were in possession of one disassembled AK 47 Rifle.

Musa restated the army’s appeal to the public to continue to provide useful information about suspicious movement of terrorists and criminals.

NYSC confirms kidnap of corps member by Boko Haram

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has confirmed abduction of Abraham Amuta, a corps member, by suspected Boko Haram insurgents along Chibok road in Borno state.

Amuta was abducted alongside a pastor of the Living Faith Church Worldwide better known as Winners Chapel simply identified as Oyeleke.

Muhammed Sada, an NYSC information officer in Borno, said that Amuta travelled without permission.

He said it was through the church that NYSC learnt of Amuta’s abduction.

“Living faith Church wrote to us one week ago informing us about how one of our corps members named Abraham Amuta, Batch B, Stream 1, was abducted by members of Boko Haram,” he said.

“In the letter addressed to our state coordinator, they said a committee, led by Pastor Oyekele, was set up by the church to distribute relief items to internally displaced persons in Chibok.

“According to them, the abducted corps member was not part of the of the committee set up by the church for the programme, but he insisted on going with them.

“The corper went on his own under his church without the consent of the NYSC Borno secretariat. As you are aware, due to the volatile nature of Borno state, corps members are usually given the option to ask for redeployment.

“Also, no corp member is posted or sent on any assignment that can expose him to danger. NYSC will never deploy any corp member to a place where his life is exposed to danger.”

He added that security agencies had been informed of Amuta’s plight “for necessary action”.

Boko Haram launches fresh attack in Yobe

Boko Haram launched a fresh attack on Damaturu, the Yobe State capital, on Tuesday. The attack made soldiers to turn back vehicles, as no movement was allowed in the area.

Many of the residents were forced to stay indoors as the military engaged the insurgents, who were said to have tried to enter Damaturu through Maisandari, a settlement on the outskirts of the town.

Some of the residents of Maisandari, who spoke to our correspondent, said the attackers came through the eastern part of the town and started shooting sporadically.

One of them, Yusuf Maina, said he saw the assailants coming into the area in Hilux vans, which had anti-aircraft guns.

“Immediately we saw them, we had to scamper for safety. We can still hear an exchange of gunfire and we surely need your prayers.”

Some of the residents of Damaturu, confirmed on the telephone that they saw heavily armed soldiers in four armoured personnel carriers and many Hilux vans advancing towards Maisandari, from where the insurgents were said to have entered the town.

One of the residents, Bukar Alamin, said the shooting was first heard at about 5pm. He said some suspected Boko Haram members attempted to invade the Red Bricks Housing Estate along Maiduguri Road.

He said there were heavy sounds of gunshots and explosions and that a fighter jet was seen hovering over Damaturu around 5.30pm.

Boko Haram burns Chibok village in fresh attack

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents have again attacked a community in Chibok local government area of Borno state.

The attack comes three days after the insurgents burnt houses in Gatamwarwaward, Chibok.

“They came in through Sambisa forest at about 7pm and they have been setting the village on fire,” a Chibok resident told TheCable.

Kaumutiyahi is at least 13 kilometres away from Chibok.

A military source affirned that the Nigeria’s army 117 battalion stationed in Chibok were getting set to move into Kaumutiyahi.

“There is actually a company of army about 6 kilometres from the village under attack, but they would need the support of the larger battalion,” the source said.

In December, the insurgents attacked Makalama, a village in Gatamawarwa ward. Bwalakia villagers were also attacked three days after the Makalama attack, burning houses and leaving villagers stranded.

“They looted and burnt everything we have. We don’t have what to eat and we don’t have where to sleep,” one of the victims had said.

In November, Abubakar Elkanemi, shehu of Borno, had said the people of the state were still under Boko Haram siege.

As of the time this report was filed, Sagir Musa, army spokesman, had not responded to text  messages seeking information on the recent attack.

BREAKING: Boko Haram burning houses in Chibok

Suspected Boko Haram insurgents are currently burning houses in Gatamwarwa ward, Chibok local government area of Borno state.

The insurgents came in around 5pm through Askira, shooting sporadically leaving many villagers running for safety.

“They came in tens of motorcycles,” a resident said.

“They started shooting and setting houses ablaze.”

Gatamwarwa is about 19 kilometres away from Chibok town.

More to follow…

Boko Haram seizes Baga, five other towns in Borno

Boko Haram now controls Nigerian land space as the military has been pushed back from Baga and neighboring villages in the Lake Chad axis of Northern Borno State, North East Nigeria, multiple sources and fleeing residents say.

Sources said there were no more military presence in Baga as they were forced to retreat by the rampaging Boko Haram insurgents who attacked their bases on Wednesday, December 26.

Some of the residents of Baga who fled to Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, after last Wednesday’s attack told our correspondents that the insurgents drove into the area in a large convoy and after several hours of gunfire drove the military away.

Abba Masta, one of the fleeing residents of Baga said: “The insurgents, driving in a convoy of more than ten fighter vehicles, used the main road from Kros Kawwa to launch coordinated attacks on the military on Wednesday, December 26.

“They overran the Multinational Joint Task Force ‎Headquarters at the outskirts of Baga, a naval fighting base and a Marine Police base in the area.”

According to him, the first point of call of the insurgents was the heavily fortified base of the multinational forces located at Mile Four (an area outside Baga town). The attack was in the early evening.

He said they met a stiff opposition as the exchange of fire lasted until midnight when the military retreated and the insurgents moved into the base which was in ruins.

Buba Ibrahim, another fleeing resident, said the military returned the next day, Thursday, with fighter jets which bombed the multinational force’s base and killed many insurgents who were still celebrating their perceived victory.

A Nigerian soldier who is with the multinational force, said the bombardment of the Base was to destroy the ammunition so that they won’t be of use to the insurgents.

He confirmed on Monday that the base and the rest of Baga is still in the hands (control) of the insurgents.

The insurgents on Thursday according to the fleeing residents, turned their searchlight on Mile Three, where the Navy had a fighting base, close to the military. They attacked the Navy who put up a stiff resistance but eventually lost control after hours of gun fight. They (Naval officers) were said to have escaped to Monguno.

The insurgents were said to have continued to maraud the area and on Friday, moved to another naval base located about three kilometres north of Baga, an area called Fish Dam on shores of the Lake Chad.

They took over the base after a fierce battle with about 40 naval men fleeing to Kaiga, a riverine community in the Republic of Chad.

The insurgents finally entered Baga town and attacked a marine police station, which fell easily.

Abba Mohammed said they told the already fear-stricken residents of the town that they were not after them but rather the military, security, and members of the armed civilian JTF.

They told us that: “You have a choice to stay or to freely leave the town,” but the majority of us sensing that the military may come back to engage them took the option of leaving.

He said about 2,000 residents trekked 60 kilometres to Monguno through a bush path.

He said some soldiers including the Commander of the Multinational force, some of his troops, and members of the civilian JTF joined them in the journey to Monguno.

He said, “Our knowledge of the terrain was useful to the military to get safe to Monguno.”

He lamented, “As I am talking to you, Boko Haram has seized Baga, Doron-Baga, Kross Kawwa, Bunduran, Kekeno and Kukawa towns of Borno State.”

The attack and perhaps takeover of the town was confirmed in a statement by the military.

The military had in a statement on Sunday said there was an ongoing plan to relocate the residents of Baga.

The military said the planned relocation is to give room for a massive bombardment of the terrorist group and to prevent civilian casualties.

The military revealed the plan in a signed statement by the Deputy Director of Public Relations in charge of the counter-insurgency operations in the North East ( Operation Lafiya Dole), Col. Onyema Nwachukwu.

The statement said: “Operation LAFIYA DOLE troops in conjunction with Borno State Government are working towards relocating the residents of Baga, to safer locations in view of the ongoing military operations in the area.”

The statement, however, said that there was no basis for the people of Bama, Dikwa, and Monguno to vacate their respective communities as there was no immediate threat to them.

It said: It has been observed that some unscrupulous individuals with likely sinister motives within and outside Borno State are trying to create panic and unnecessary humanitarian problems for undisclosed reasons.

“It has come to our attention that these people are plotting to instigate the inhabitants of Bama, Dikwa and Monguno communities to abandon their communities and relocate to Internally Displaced Persons Camps for undisclosed reasons.”

The statement advised: The inhabitants of these towns and the general public to discountenance such calls and remain calm.

It promised that: “Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE and other Security Agencies will shed more light on the issue in a Security Council meeting with the Borno State Government, scheduled to hold on Monday 31st December 2018.”

It urged the members of the public to remain calm, stating that “the military is in firm control to guarantee their safety and security.”

The statement, however, warned that any attempt to cause further panic through this false alarm would be viewed very seriously.

The military further revealed on Monday that though there is ongoing military operation in Baga, the Maiduguri-Monguno road remains opened.

Corruption in Military responsible for faltering B’Haram war — Report

Massive corruption among top military chiefs appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari is the reason Nigeria is losing the war against Boko Haram, the Defense and Foreign Affairs has revealed in its Special Analysis released on December 28.

The Defense and Foreign Affairs reports are published by the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) based in the United States of America. ISSA is a Washington-based non-governmental organisation with a worldwide membership of professionals involved in national and international security and strategic policy.

The association, in 1998, took over publication of the Defense and Foreign Affairs publishing and information group, which began in 1972, providing strategic information and analysis to governments worldwide. It also incorporates the Global Information System (GIS), an encrypted on-line intelligence service for governments.

President of ISSA, Gregory Copley, told THISDAY yesterday night that their analyses were not released to the public but to governments the organisation had affiliation with. Investigation shows that not less than 160 countries have some form of affiliation to the organisation’s reports.

Asked specifically if the organisation had any affiliation with Nigeria, Coley, replied, “All I can say is that our report go to all countries we have some form of affiliation with. I will not comment on specific cases.”

The report obtained by THISDAY is damning and blames corruption among higher ups in the military high command for the faltering war against Boko Haram. Extracts from the analysis stated that at present, the Nigerian government had completely and comprehensively lost control of the engagement with Boko Haram and could show no instance when the government presently had tactical, theater, strategic, or information dominance of any aspect of the conflict.
According to the report, the insurgent groups grow stronger, and the government forces grow weaker and more beset by morale collapse.

It said, “It is fair to say that the Nigerian intelligence community itself is no longer sure what groups even comprise ‘Boko Haram’, nor has it addressed the international logistical, ideological, and support aspects contributing to the ongoing viability of the groups.”

The report stated that the leadership of the military, rather than concentrating on how to defeat the insurgents, were preoccupied with how to stop the leakage of information about massive corruption that had taken place on the pretext of fighting Boko Haram.

Excerpts from the report states as follows, “The conflict will almost certainly prove the undoing of the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari at the February 16, 2019, presidential elections.

“Despite this, the only significant engagement which the Nigerian military leadership — up to and including the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. (rtd.) Mohammed Babagana Monguno – seems to prioritise is the fight to stop the leakage of information about massive corruption, running into the equivalent of several billions of dollars, in the purchase by senior military officers of major military capital goods and military consumables, including the troops’ own food.

“The conduct of the war in the North is tied to the corruption in the military, and Buhari — ring-fenced by his own team — is unable to tackle the issue.

“His poor health does not help, but he had always (even as a military president, taking office on December 31, 1983) been indecisive and vindictive.

“This ongoing set of characteristics mean that the coming months will be dramatic, even more than the dying days of the preceding administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

“It is significant that Buhari, who received the findings of the commission as much as a year ago, has refused to allow it to be made public and he, through National Security Adviser Monguno, has attempted to have the commission disband.

“However, it is believed that Monguno and Buhari are aware that copies of the report are beyond their reach and could be released unofficially if further attempts are made to assassinate commission members.

“The commission, investigating defense procurement from 2007 onwards, made significant strides which were initially accepted by the Buhari government, until the scope of the inquiry went beyond the period relating to the former government of Pres. Goodluck Jonathan, and began to show corruption patterns extending into officers still serving under President Buhari.”

The report stated that the death of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal (rtd.) Alex Sabundu Badeh (who became Chief of Defence Staff), and that of a former Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, Major General Idris Alkali, on September 3, 2018 were not a mere coincidence .

It said, “Given the upsurge in momentum by ‘the highest levels of government’ to stop the findings becoming public from the corruption commission on defense procurement, it is plausible that the attribution of a criminal ‘kidnapping-attempt-gone-wrong’ against the Air Chief Marshal was a convenient excuse to ensure that the victim — Badeh — could not divulge in court the pattern and details of corruption which has grown even more rampant in the current generation of defense leadership.

“On September 3, 2018, the retired Chief of Administration of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. Idris Alkali, was also killed, ostensibly by a gang of youthful protestors who set up a roadblock near Jos, the capital of Plateau State. His body was discovered on October 31, 2018. And his death was blamed on ‘an irate mob’, who were protesting in the Du-ra-Du community against the September 2, 2018, killing of 11 members of their own community.”

The report further stated, “No significant economic or political progress can be achieved in Nigeria until the issue of the Boko Haram insurgency is resolved. Other insurgencies are also expected to emerge, or re-emerge, particularly in the Niger Delta. And while other pending internal security issues are important, it is on the BH issue that the prestige, credibility, and reliability of Nigeria is assessed by the international community. Thus, all questions of the viability of Nigeria as a candidate for inward foreign direct investment (FDI) and international cooperation are dependent on a resolution of the BH issues.

“Domestically, resolution of the BH issue is a pre-requisite to enabling issues of intra-Nigerian regional equity imbalances to be addressed. Moreover, the credibility of the Federal Government as an arbiter of justice is assessed by the domestic electorate and the world community.

However, the Nigerian Armed Forces have consistently denied any allegation of corruption against the leadership. They have also stated and demonstrated the fact that they are capable of not only stopping the insurgents but rooting them out of the country.

Two days ago, army spokesman, Brig. General Sani Kukasheka Usman, said the nation’s military repelled an attack by the insurgents in Baga, Boro State. According to him, the insurgents on Wednesday, December 26 attacked the 7 Brigade of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), based in Baga, Borno State, about 7pm.

A statement issued by Usman read, “The troops along with their Nigerian Navy counterparts put up a very determined fight to repel the attack throughout the night, while Sector 3 Operation LAFIYA DOLE sent in reinforcement who are in hot pursuit of the terrorists.

“Similarly, a Search and Rescue team has been constituted.

“The Nigerian Air Force component has also been mobilised and are engaging the fleeing terrorists. Unfortunately, a naval personnel was killed in action. So far, no further details of casualties yet as efforts are ongoing to clear the terrorists hiding in Baga and environs.”

Air Force neutralises bandits’ hideout in Zamfara

The Nigerian Air Force said the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation DIRAN MIKIYA successfully neutralised bandits hideout at a compound West of Tsamari in Birnin Magaji Local Government Area of Zamfara State.
Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

He explained that the attack was conducted at dawn on December 28, following intelligence reports indicating that the compound was being used by the bandits as a camp from where they launch attacks on innocent civilians.

Accordingly, the ATF detailed a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, which confirmed the presence of bandits armed with high calibre weapons at the location.

“Consequently, an Alpha Jet aircraft was dispatched to strike the compound, recording direct hits on the target area and resulting in significant damage to the structures and neutralisation of some bandits.

“This was later confirmed by credible human intelligence sources,’’ he said.

Daramola said surface troops later invaded the compound and recovered some motorcycles abandoned by the fleeing criminals.

“The ATF working in concert with surface forces and other security agencies, will continue to conduct reconnaissance and air interdiction missions with a view to restoring normalcy to the affected states in the North-West”.

BREAKING: Local hunters ‘chase’ Boko Haram fighters from Yobe town

Suspected Boko Haram fighters who invaded Buni- Gari, a town in Yobe state, got more than they bargained for when some hunters engaged them in a fierce battle on Sunday.

A resident of the town who disclosed this to TheCable said the insurgents struck around 5pm.

He said though soldiers were not on ground when the attack was launched, the hunters succeeded in forcing the insurgents to beat a retreat.

Another source said though the insurgents have been sent out of the town, Buni-Gari has been deserted.

“Many have fled to nearby Buni-Yadi over the fear that Boko Haram members might regroup and launch a deadlier attack,” he said.

“Buni-Yadi is more secure than Buni-Gari. There are soldiers there.”

More to follow…

Boko Haram sacks military bases carts away guntrucks, ammunition

 

Boko Haram sacked two military bases in northeast Nigeria overnight as the jihadist fighters battle for control of a strategic town on Lake Chad, military sources said Thursday.

Jihadists from the IS-supported Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) overran a naval base and a multinational joint task force (MNJTF) post in the fishing town of Baga after a fierce battle, the sources told AFP.

Boko Haram has repeatedly struck military outposts in the region in recent months. Fighters in several vehicles stormed Baga and engaged troops in intense fighting at the MNJTF base which hosts units from Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

The insurgents also sacked a naval base in Mile 3 which lies five kilometres from Baga, a military source who asked not to be identified told AFP.

“The troops were overpowered and forced to withdraw,” the source, adding that “the terrorists carted away guntrucks, ammunition and multiple rocket launchers from the base.”

Troops from the two bases withdrew to another naval base at Fish Dam on the shores of Lake Chad, the military source said. That base was well secured, and resisted several attempts by Boko Haram fighters to overrun it, the source added.

The jihadists then retreated and the troops decided not to pursue them to avoid running into an ambush, a strategy Boko Haram often employs against the military, the officer said.

Nigerian army spokesman Sani Usman confirmed the attack in a statement which said the assault began at about 7:00 pm local time (1800 GMT).

“The troops along with their Nigerian Navy counterparts put up a very determined fight” all night, he said, adding that one navy personnel was killed.

Troop reinforcements were in pursuit of the Boko Haram fighters, he said.

Residents of the regional capital Maiduguri reported seeing six fighter jets flying towards Baga on Thursday.

In January 2015, Boko Haram overran the MNJTF base and took control of Baga after killing hundreds of residents and forcing thousands to flee to Maiduguri.

The town was later retaken, but jihadists continue to attack the military and civilians in the area, which is an ISWAP stronghold. Its fighters occupy camps on many islands in Lake Chad.

Boko Haram’s nine-year insurgency has killed 27,000 people and displaced two million others, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

The fighting has also spilled into Nigeria’s northern neighbours Chad, Niger and Cameroon.