By Suleiman Umaru
Barely two weeks after Nuhu Angbazo, an army Major General, in-charge of army Training and Operations, Launched operation Tura Takai Bango at Bungar,i to deal with the recent upsurge of insurgency in the north east, particular, Borno and Yobe states, the insurgents struck in Gujba town, Headquarters of Gujba local government government Area of Yobe , a neighbouring state of Borno, home state of Babaga Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser, NSA, and Yusuf Tukur Buratai, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS.
Prior to the attack, on Gujba town, the Police in the recent times have discovered and difused some improvised Explosive devises in Damaturu, the state Capital and Buni Yadi local government areas in the state. The discovery of one of such exploded bombs by one Adamu Haruna, in his farm in Gujba local government on June 20,2020, may have sent a signal to the state police Command, that the insurgents may have buried bombs in Geidam, Damaturu, Tarmuwa, Dapchi, Kanamma, Gulani, Buni Yadi towns in readiness to attack. It was therefore not very surprising when the insurgents finally attacked Gujba town on Saturday, January 9, 2021.
It could not be ascertained whether the attack in the Yobe town was carried out by the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram or the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, as the people had maintained a closed lips. The worry of many was that where the attack took place is just about 30Kms , away from Damaturu, and 24 Kms south where the Tactical Headquarters of 27 Brigade of the Buratai led Nigeria Army, Bunigari is located, fueling speculations making the rounds that the insurgent Groups have sympathisers in the army who are giving them information of army Patrol movements in the state.
The recent attack in Geidam Community in the state speaks volume. The terrorists were said to have laid ambush to a military Patrol vehicle on the highway leading to Damaturu and later stormed the village where they burnt shops and carted away drugs in the General Hospital. The successful attack on the Geidam Community without any resistance from the army may have encouraged them to proceed later to the Gujba town.
Informed sources told The Value News Magazine that but for the quick intervention of troops from the 27 Tactical Brigade, the insurgents could have overrun Gujba town and the entire local government Area, an indication that Damaturu, the state Capital is not safe. Residents who fled the bush to avoid being caught in the cross-fire between the parties said’’there was smoke everywhere’’. But the soldiers superior fire power may have forced the insurgents to retreat.Mai Mala Buni, the Yobe state governor and acting National Caretaker Committee Chairman, APC, said but for ”the resilience and gallantry of the military ” it could have been a bad case, stressing that ”it has changed he narratives in the fight against insurgency with positive results” in the region.
The number of people killed killed during the attack remained a closely guided secret. However, Bun, the state governor ” has directed the state Emergency Management Agency to provide the needed assistance to the people and provide the government with the detail of the destructions suffered from the attack for necessary action”.
The attack in Gujba town by the insurgents may have informed why security has been tightened up in Damauru and its environs to prevent the insurgents from attacking the Yobe state Capital , which would further force the people to lose their confidence on the ability of the President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General’s, Administration to protect lives and property in the state and which may give them the opportunity to forcefully support the terrorists by giving them protection and shelter.
I The Magazine gathered that more troops have been deployed to the north east state to checkmate the activities of the insurgents from penetrating the major towns in the state and thus, make life uncomfortable for the people.
Security experts fear that with the successful penetration of Gujba town by the insurgents ,who were armed to the teeth, thy want to dare the army by springing a surprise in attacking Damaturu, having adopted guerrilla tactics in the insurgency war as they have succeeded in mixing up with the normal people and extracting information about the security operatives and their movement in the state and passing same to their members.
This is where the Directorate of Military Intelligence, DMI, under the close watch of S.A. Adebayo, a Major-General, Defence Intelligence Agency, DIA, and the Police Intelligence Unit, may have to prove to Nigerians that they are on top of the security situation in the north east states of Adamawa, Bormno and Yobe. They should be able to gather adequate information on the insurgents that would assist the troops in containing their activities, to forestall the upsurge in their attacks in the region. The governor was said to have urged the natives” to always provide useful and timely information on suspicious movements in their Communities to government Authorities and security forces for proactive measures”.
Many believe that the only way for the Katsina state born Nigerian President could restore the people’s Confidence on the military that are prosecuting the insurgency war in the north east and encourage them to work with them by giving out information on the insurgents is to sack Gabriel Olonisaki, an army General and Chief of Defense Staff, CDS, and the other service Chiefs.
The All Progressive Congress, APC, dominated Senate , which has Lawan Ahmad, as the President, has repeatedly called on the Nigerian President to phase out the current service Chiefs and replace them with new ones with fresh ideas and solutions to address the country’s insecurity situation. The killing of 44 rice farmers in Zabarmari Community in Mafa local government area of Borno state last November may have intensified the pressure by the Leadership of the National Assembly on the Nigerian President to rejig the country ‘s security architecture.
Given that the military are still finding it difficult to contain the insurgents who may have gained ground in the north east over the years by building bunkers in undisclosed locations in Borno, particular, to shield them from military attacks may have informed why, Babagana Zulum, a Professor, and governor of Borno state had suggested to Buhari the need to recruit Mercenaries to help in ending the insurgency in the north east geo-plitical region.
Zulum, who had been described as the weeping governor in political circles because of the activities of the insurgents in Borno, his home state , had said that since the military in Conjunction with other security agencies have not been able to quell the insurgency affecting state and the two other states in the region, Adamawa and Yobe, despite the government officials slogan that the insurgents have been technically defeated, the service Chiefs should be relieved of their appointment to give opportunity to fresh hands with fresh ideas to do the job. The governor has the backing of Kahim Shettima, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria and former governor of the state who had consistently said that ‘’the primary objective of the government is the protection of lives and property of citizens’’ and therefore must fail in its responsibility.
Given that the military had always claimed that their inability to deliver on their mandate in defeating the insurgents in the north east was due to poor funding may have informed why the Senate under the close watch of Lawan had asked the Nigerian President who is also the Commander In-Chief of the Armed Forces to increase the funding for the military to avoid giving them to complain of being financially handicapped.
Recall that Senator Ali Ndume, had said that ‘’if the Nigerian government is serious about ending insecurity in the country , it will end in six months’’. He had alluded to the involvement of Idris Derby, the Chadian President in the battle against insurgency in the country months ago, insisting that the current service Chiefs must get out since they have lost solution to quell insecurity in the country.
Aware that the Nigerian President is not ready to sack the service chiefs with the upsurge in the Insurgency in north east and Banditry in the north west, home region of the Buhari, the National Coalition of Interfaith Group of Nigeria, NCCIGN, had decried’’ the inaction as very disturbing and abnormal’’. The group had said that the issue of security of lives and property are deteriorating on a daily basis because of the Nigerian President deliberate refusal to sack the service Chiefs according to the demands of Nigerians.
Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahim, Coordinator of the Religious Group and Bishop John Adebayo fear that the no nonsense retired army General may have been ‘’hyponotised by strong forces who are benefitting from the current status quo of insecurity and the military lack of performance’’.