How Nigerien Soldiers Exposed Rann Border Community To Boko haram Attacks


By Stephen Ubanna

Barely one month after Kashim Ibrahim, the  governor of Borno  state  led elders  to the Presidential Villa to seek President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC,  intervention over  the devastating activities of Boko Haram, in the state, the insurgents struck at Rann, a Border Community between Nigeria and Cameroun  and Headquarters of Kalabalge local government.

 It was the second attack on the Community in two weeks. The first attack was said to have taken place on January 14, 2019. The Islamic Fundamentals may have  considered the Border Community for its operations that it had plotted to sack the Nigerian soldiers and take over the Community for its military operations in the state. It was learnt that the insurgents always send word to the Community to prepare the people’s mind for the attack.

The insurgents may have considered Rann and Baga, fishing Communities, very strategic for their  military base to launch attacks in the state they were determined  to recover it from the Multinational Joint Task Force, MNJTF, soldiers.

 The withdrawal of the Nigerien  soldiers attached to the MNJTF and the movement with their equipment  from the Community, according to Amnesty International, a Human Rights Organisation,  may have provided  opportunity for them to launch the deadly attacks within an interval of two weeks, as many residents were forced to relocate to Cameroun for protection.

Recall that the people had raised alarm when they noticed that the alleged mass withdrawal of the Niger soldiers from the Border Community that they cried out to the Nigerian soldiers for help.  The assurance given by the soldiers may have gladdened their mind to be calm .

Note that the Border Community have been in the news in the recent times  because of the kidnap of some Staff of the International  Red Cross Society  last year by the insurgents. Two of the kidnapped officials  were confirmed killed by the Islamic Fundamentalists as their financial demands which run into millions of naira could not be met.

Many had expected  that the Nigerian soldiers  would effectively  fill the  vacuum created with the alleged withdrawal of the Nigerien soldiers as promised, instead the security situation  in the town was said to have worsened fueling speculation that there may be a mole  within the rank of the Nigerian soldiers who is feeding the insurgents with information about the movement of soldiers.

 the security situation in the town was so bad that Ibrahim, the state governor was said to have  pleaded with the Katsina state born Nigerian President  on the need to reinforce  the town against  further attacks by the insurgents who promised to reach out to Tukur Buratai, a Lt . General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, to deploy more Combatant soldiers to police  the town. But  that was how far he could go.

On Monday, January 28, the insurgents were said to have carried out the deadliest  attack on the Border Community in the recent time which further exposed the weakness of the Nigerian soldiers on field operations.

Lt.General Tukur Buratai: Chief Of Army Staff

Amnesty International  confirmed that at least 60 people were killed  in the attack, forcing residents to relocate in their hundreds to the neighbouring  Central African country of Cameroun villages along the Border to seek protection.  It was reported  that some 30,000  civilians  may have fled the Border town to Cameroun, thus  joining an earlier  9,000  who had fled the insurgents previous attack on the town on January 14, 2018.  

It is not surprising why Amnesty International has called  on buhari, the Nigerian President   to investigate  the alleged withdrawal  of Nigeruien soldiers attached to the MNJTF from Rann , which may have left thousands  of civilians exposed  to the Boko Haram insurgents latest attacks .

The Value News findings show that the Camerounian Authorities  may not have  helped matters as they were said to have  forced the people back to Rann despite the poor security situation .  Amnesty International would want the central African country  to desist from forcing people to return to the war thorn Border Community  until normalcy returns to avoid falling into the waiting hands of the insurgents.

  Osai Ojigho, the Amnesty boss in Nigeria  disclosed that the insurgents  has ”consistently and deliberately  targeted civilian populations  in Rann, which exposes the Nigerian soldiers failure to protect  the people.

The situation in Rann Border Community was so worrisome that Amnesty International was forced to issue a Statement on Friday, February 2, 2019, stating that it has analysed Satellite imagery which also  showed that  hundreds of houses were destroyed by the insurgents during  the attack.

”Using  Sattelite imagery,” we have also been able confirm that the mass destruction  of shelters as BokoHaram  unleashed  massive assault  on the Border Community”. Many of the destroyed  structures, according to  the Organistion  date back to 2017, suggesting that they were shelters for Internally Displaced people, IDP, who may have relocated to the town seeking protection.

The criticism that trailed the Boko Haram fighters  attack on Rann town , which was  blamed on the Nigerian soldiers who abandoned their duty posts may have forced Buratai to  read the riot act to soldiers never  to abandon their duty posts  defending any town attacked by the insurgents, until they are completely wiped out.  Buratai has every reason to advice the soldiers to sit up because of  what Abubakar El-kanemi , shehu of Borno  had complained to the President last year that the ”state is under siege of Boko Haram”.

The activities of the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno,Yobe and Adamawa, the three north eastern region  states , is so devastating that Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice President reveled that they  have killed  over 20,000 people and destroyed infrastructure worth $9 billion over the last 10 years. Osinbajo disclosed that  two million Nigerians have also been displaced from their Communities. ”There is no doubt the havoc that the Boko Haram insurgency has wreaked  on the region is unprecedented in the recent Nigeria’s history”, he had said.

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