By Suleiman Umaru
While President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired General, appears to be the Championing the cause of the Authority of the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, to find a lasting peace in the West African country of Mali the crisis situation in the north east geo-political region is heading from worse to worst.
Farouk Yahaya, a Lt. general and the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, at the instance of the Kastina state born Nigerian President and Commander-In-Chief, C-In C, of the of the Armed Forces, had deployed 62 special trained officers and soldiers in the Nigerian Army of Infantry , Jaji, Kaduna to join the United Nations Multi-dimensional standardisation peace Keeping Force in Mali.
The Islamic Fundamentalist Group BokoHaram and the Islamic Group of West African Province, ISWAP, insurgents, have no one in doubt of their determination to infiltrate Maiduguri, Capital of Borno state state and turn it as the battle ground, thus turn the region as another Mali. There have been rumour making the rounds that the terrorists in Mali, Cameroon, Niger, Mauritania and Libya are the one supporting the BokoHaram and ISWAP, Insurgents with Combat gun vehicle, AK. 47 and equipment to sustain the Insurgency in the north east states of Borno and Yobe states.
They were said to have been sabotage the Nigerian government efforts by sharing Intelligence Information with the Nigerian terrorists, which may have informed why security experts believe that that the Insurgency war in the north east states of Borno and Yobe, particular and the Banditry in north west states of Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina, Buhari home sstate, Soko and Kebbi, including the Niger state, have been Internatalised.
The BokoHaram and ISWAP, Insurgents who had in infiltrated the outskirts of Maiduguri, the Borno state Capital on Saturday, December 4, 2021, had successfully fire Rocket into the city that was said to have exploded at Gomari Community and the 1,000 Housing Estate , located along the Maiduguri –Damaturu, expressway. There are indications that the rocket propelled grenade explosion damaged twelve houses in 1,000 Estate.
The explosion was so devastating that Babagana Zulum, a Professor and governor of the north east state, was forced to cry out to the Nigerian President and urging the military ‘’to wake up and ensure adequate surveillance of Maiduguri’’ before the Insurgents overrun the city.
An aggrieved Zulum could not understand how the late Abubakar Shekau and Al-Barnawi loyalties and fighters could’’ come so close to Maiduguri, let alone fire rockets’’ into the City. ‘’ I think there is something wrong that the military Authorities need to check’’, the governor had said.
The fear that the Insurgents may fire rocket into the City again into the City having infiltrated the outskirts may have informed why Zulum as the Chief Security Officer of the state, has ‘’fortified the security of the city in the recent time by ensuring ‘’ adequate patrols on a daily basis’’.
The governor who have read the handwriting on the wall that the people have lost Confidence on the military to effectively defend the City that he has assured the residents that there was no need to panic alarm, promising that’’ the government will do everything within its powers to prevent further attacks on the City and its environs.
Notwithstanding the fears being expressed by the Borno state governor over the situation in Maiduguri and its environs, with the rockets fired into the City that that caused much damage, Lt. General Yahaya, led Nigerian Army Army u, may have gladdened Nigerians mind when he ‘’there was no need to panic as the situation was under control’’. He is right.
Christopher Musa, a Major General and the Operation Hadin Kai, OHK, Commander may have known that Maiduguri, was under threat that he had mobilised the ground troops and the air Component of the theatre to respond swiftly and took over control of the area. The OHK troops were said to have successfully neutralised the threats and infiltration attempt of Miduguri by the insurgents, thus restoring hope to the residents.
The two Insurgent Groups may have been encouraged to fire rocket propelled grenade into the City a second time because last February, they had infiltrated the outskirts of the Borno state Capital densely populated areas and fired rocket , described as ‘’the new trend’’ in the 12-year-old insurgency in the region by Locals. The Insurgents may not have found it difficult to infiltrated the Maiduguri outskirts because it is very close to Boboshe village, a known Boko Haram enclave in the north eastern state to fire the rocked into the city.
Prior to taking advantage of BobOshe village to the outskirts of Maiduguri, to fire the rocket propelled grenade into the City, the Insurgents had attempted to infiltrate Kala Balge town in the state, on Friday, December 3, 2021 but were stopped by OHK, troops, who were said to have engaged them in fierce battle for control of the town with casualties on both sides, fueling speculations making the rounds that the Insurgents were battle ready to infiltrate Maiduguri.
Onyema Nwachukwu, a Brigadier General and Director of Army Public Relations, had confirmed that two officers and five soldiers of the OHK, were killed on the Friday, December 3, 2021, battle in the Kala Balge town.
Note that in the battle of Kala Balge, town, the OHK troops who had engaged the Insurgents with their superior fire power had neutralized 26 of the terrorists, captured their Combat vehicles, 18 AK 47 rifles and one M-21 rifle with large quantity of ammunition. This is in addition to the several other equipment that were destroyed in the counter-attack to save the town from falling into the hands of the terrorists. The army spokesman had said also, that three other members of the Multi-national sector I, Joint Task Force, were injured in the attack and are currently receiving medical treatment.
The Insurgents who may had entered Rann border Community between Ngerianand Cameroon on gun trucks and motor cycles, with the intension to attack the military base may not forget their experience in a hurry in the hands of the OHK, troops. The Insurgents, who were said to have emerged from the neighbouring Central African country of Cameroon, according to an eyewitness account had started shooting sporadically at the border Community to draw the people out and attract the attention of the OHK troops to the scene. Indeed, the OHK troops responded to the Insurgents attack forcing them to abandon their mission of taking over the border Community, where they had attacked troops deployed at the Forward Operational Base, FOB.
The attack on Rann did not come to any as a surprise. The Department of State Security Services, DSS, had put the army and Custom operatives on the red alert over the planned attacks by the Insurgents on border Communities across the country. The government secret Intelligence agency Authority had said that ‘’the marauders had hatched their plot on the military on the border towns’’ and asked the Customs operatives and the military on November 25, 2021, ‘’ to put up Counter measures in place to frustrate the dark plot by the insurgents’’. This may have informed why the military had prepared for them at Rann border Community by not giving them a breather when they had entered the town.
Despite losing two officers and five soldiers in the Kala Balge town operation as well as getting three other soldiers wounded in nthe Rann border Community Counter-attack,, Lt. General Yahaya, the COAS, had commended the troops for their gallantry in Gajiram and Tumbus, for preventing the Insurgents from taking over the two Communities in Ngazai Local Government Area Borno state . Several Insurgents who had attempted to infiltrate the Communities were said to have neutralized and Combat weapons were said to have been recovered from them. The defeat of the Insurgents by the gallant OHK troops at the two Ngazai LGA, Communities, may have sent a message to the Terrorists that that it is no longer going to be business ass as usual ‘’to Launch attack, kill and go , without stiff resistance from the troops’’.