Insecurity : The Face Of The Jihadists Giving Buhari Worries

By Suleiman Umaru

 Muhammadu Buhari, of the s ruling  All  Progressive Congress, APC, is not  a happy man. The Katsina state born Nigerian President source of   unhappiness    was based on the fact   that despite   huge budgetary  allocations  on the counter –insurgency operations in   the north eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe over the last four years, there appears to be a reversal of the gains that had been made over the last four years.

The Katsina state born Nigerian President  may have taken it upon himself to make  adequate budgetary  provisions  to the military in order  to  execute the counter-insurgency war in the north east  because  of the oath of office  which he took  on May 29, 2015, and May 29, 2019, which marked the beginning of his second term in office to protect lives and property in the country.

 Abubakar Shekau, led Islamic Fundamentalist Group, popular, Boko Haram  and  Abu Musab   al-Barnawi,   led Islamic state of West African Province, ISWAP,  have shown that they are well groomed in art of terrorist attack that they could easily recover lost ground in the north east, particular, Borno state.  

 An aggrieved Ahmad Lawan, a  Borno  state born politician and   Senate President, has said that  ‘’this is not time  for  talks but action by the government  as people want to see result’’. He is right. He may have been encouraged to speak out because of the attack on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at  Kwarangilim,  village in Chibok local government Area of the  state. Suspected BokoHaram fighters armed with sophisticated weapons had invade the villaged , forcing the residents  to escape to the bush for their  own safety since  the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Commander and his soldiers were  nowhere around to defend them.  The Insurgents were said to have operated in the village for hours shooting and burning houswas before leaving.

At the onset of the counter-insurgency war in 2009, the Multi-national Joint Task Force, MNJTF, set up by  the West African countries of Nigeria, Niger  and Chad including the Central African country of Cameroon to compliment the efforts of the operation Lafiya Dole in the counter-insurgency war, had only  Boko Haram  to contend with.

It was  not  surprising that within the  first six months of  his assumption of office in 2015, as President and Commander –In-Chief of the Armed Forces, the  soldiers under the close watch of    Tukur  Buratai  a Lt. General,   and the Chief of Army Staff,   liberated virtually all the local government Areas occupied by the Insurgents in Borno, which remains their major target.

Many  had expected Buratai and his Commanders in the  super military Camps created  in the state, to sustain  the tempo of the anti-smuggling war   in order to finally  drive the Insurgents away but they they were said to have   relaxed  , forcing the Insurgents  and their foreign sponsors to re-group  and dared the MNJTF  and the Nigerian soldiers stationed in the state.

Boko Haram Fighters

There was  news making the rounds in security circles was  that  Shekau has been killed in one of the battle fields and subsequently  replaced  by , al-Barnawi, which  may have given the soldiers the impression that the counter-insurgency war was  as  good as having been  won. There   was   also  another flier  that there was a crack in the leadership of ISWAP, and  that  al-Barnawi had been  deposed.

Unknown  to the General Officer Commanding, GOC, the MNJTF, and his Commanders  as well as  the Theatre  Commander  of Operation   Lafiya Dole,  and his Commanders  , it was a ploy by the Insurgents , who are well groomed in terrorists operations to divert attention of the soldiers  from their  activities. They got it right as  al-Barnawi, emerged  as the leader of  the Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, a splinter group of BokoHaram, which became more  deadly  because of its link with ISIS of Syria, Iraq and Libya terrorists who supplies arms to them through Mauritania and Niger. The two groups which   had   a common objective:  to conqur and Islamise the country had been pushing hard over the last five years to take over Borno and turn it into  a Caliphate state, governed by Islamic Laws, as obtained in Syria, Indosia , Iran and Iraq .

The takeover of some of   the  local  government  Councils  earlier  liberated by the Katsina state born politician and President of Nigeria speaks volume. The situation in the state is so worrisome that Babagana  Zulum, the  governor  had cried out to the  President to come to the rescue of the state before it falls in to the waiting  hands of the Insurgents. He  was  said to have also   mobilised some of the elders  of the state   to accompany him to the Presidential Vila , last Year to see the President over  the renewed activities of the Insurgency  .

Political analysts  had expected  the emotional   outburst  of the governor before the President to make the difference  in the state by  forcing  the MNJTF and Operation Lafiya Dole  soldiers  to intensify  the counter –Insurgency  war to fully  liberate the  state and give the people a lease of life.

Between last year and now, that the  Borno  governor and the elders  visited Buhari  at the Presidential villa to seek for his intervention to restore normalcy in the state  may have  have strengthened    the resolve of the   two terrorist groups, BokoHaram and ISWAP, to intensify their  Campaign to take over  the  entire state as some local governments had already fallen into their hands.

 These may have informed  why the Insurgents  could easily attack military bases and  successfully cart  away military hardware’s. The most recent of such   attacks that had drawn the attention of the public and  the international Community was the mindless   killing of 30 Civilians  in Auno village  gate leading  into Maiduguri. at  Konduga, local government Area. 

Eyewitness Account disclosed that that gate is usually locked once it is  5.00Pm, for fear of attack by BokoHaram or ISWAP  fighters.    Commercial buses and their passengers including other motorists who had arrived after the gate had been locked  from Damaturu, were forced to stay at the City gate in the village. They may have been exposed to any Inurgents attack as the soldiers after locking the gate relocates to Maiduguri to have their Comfort with no soldier to man the gate.

The motorist and passengers numbering about 30 at the City gate  were  exposed to  the  Insurgents who  emerged from nowhere and unleashed mayhem on them. Some of them were said to have been roasted alive while those who  were said to have   attempted to escape were gunned down.  A man with his two wives and six children were said to have been killed by the heartless Insurgents.

Security watchers believe that if soldiers had been stationed at the Auno  Village gate, the Insurgents cold not have had the courage to  dare the Civilians as they would have met a stiff resistance.  On Monday, February 10, 2020, Zulum had visited the village to seething himself  but was  disappointment  at  the inability  of the soldiers who are   sustained   with  the tax payers money  to protect the harmless civilians.  Last Even the governor  was said to have    escaped  death   as the   BokoHaram terrorists had trailed his movement  rom Bama  to Konduga  local government Area on a familiarity visit to assess things penultimate Thurasday  opened fire on his convoy.

ISWAP Jihadists

The attack  had  occurred  after he had visited  Bayo, Kwaya kusar, Askira Uba and Gwoza  at about 9.00 PM. The attack on the governor was a clear indication of the loose security situation in the state and that the Insurgents  appear to be everywhere in Konduga local government, which is a threat to Maiduguri.  

The governor had said that etween May 29, 2020 and now, Auno village, described as   one of the flashpoint Areas  of the notorious Boko Haram and ISWAP groups who  are , desperate  to enter into Maiduguri  City , had been attacked six times.

Given an insight of the efforts that had been made   his government to  contain the activities of the terrorists in the Auno village, he disclosed  that several appeals  were  made to the Military High Command to re-establish a military  base in the  village  but nothing  has come out of it.  An aggrieved Zulum   had Collaborated critic’s claim   that there were no soldiers on ground  as  the time of the attack at Auno village gate,  fueling speculations  that  that the killing of the 30 Civilians by the suspected BokoHaram fighters was a planned Conspiracy.

The governor may had alluded to this when he said, ‘’ the soldiers on guard at the gate  had been withdrawn as at the time the terrorists attacked the harmless civilians’’.The governor who had  painted a gory situation of  the Damaturu- Maiduguri Highway averred that travellers on that  Expressway are  on their own  once  it is 5 PM as the soldiers in-charge of the Auno  gate  will abandon it and  move over  to Maiduguri till the next day.

The killing of the 30 Civilians at Auno village by suspected Boko Haram fighters  may have forced  the governor to throw a challenge to  the Operation Lafiya Dole  Theatre  Commander  in Maiduguri  to  establish a new  military  Camp  at  the  village   which is very strategic to Maiduguri  if he really wants   to encourage the people to return to their homes and live their normal lives again. 

Zulum, the Borno state  governor who  may have assessed  fighting  strength of both BokoHaram and ISWAP ,  had said  that   the government will need  an additional 100,000 soldiers to be deployed to the north  east to be able to end the long standing insurgency in the region.  The governor who could not hide his feelings noted that at present  the Army  does not have  the manpower and  the equipment to effectively  to deal decisively with the insurgents.  

Political Observers  believe that the insurgents may be  having their way  in the recent months  in reversing some of the gains  that had been made by the Buhari Administration over the last couple of years  because  of the steady flow of arms  from Libya across the Sahara  Desert and an alliance  with the Islamic state of Syria.  The situation is made worse because of the  Complaint of poor equipment  and low morale by the soldiers, fueling speculations making the rounds why there  is  sabotage in the Counter-Insurgency war.

Recall that the bottled anger of the people of Borno over the  killing at Auno village   may have forced  a crowd  of aggrieved residents in Maiduguri  to troop out in their hundreds penultimate  Monday, February 10,2020,  to boo and jeer at the President who was in the state to   Condole the  governor and Abubakar Ibn  Umar Garbai el-Kanemi, shehu of Borno   shehu of Borno over the Auno killings but his convoy were met by angry crowd who jeered and booed at him.. They   stopped shot at saying that  he has failed  the nation   over his inability to contain the  activities of the Insurgents.

 Garba  Shehu, senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, will not take it. He had appeared on Channels Television where he claimed  that t the protest was  master-minded by  the political  Class  and beneficiaries of the BokoHaram Insurgency in order to embarrass  the President because of his refusal  to sack the service Chiefs, believed to  have over stayed their   welcome. Note that Babagana Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA, is from the warn thorn Borno.

Giving an insider  information, he had said  that the aggrieved politicians had  hired  over 2,000 men and women to carry out the demonstration , stressing that the President is still ‘’very  popular and accepted in the state’’

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