Terrorism: BokoHaram, IWAP, Bandits’ Group Wings Clipped

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By Our Reporter

 When President Muhammadu Buhari, declared in 2015, that members of the Islamic Fundamentalist  Group, BokoHaram, who  want to carve out an’’ Islamic Caliphate’’ in the north eastern state of Borno,   will soon  know ‘’the strength of the country’s collective will and commitment  to rid  the nation  of terror and bring back peace’’. Not many people took him serious, despite his military background.

 They have  every reason to accept his promise with a pinch of salt in his first term of office as President and Commander –In-Chef , C-In-C of the Nigerian Armed Forces,. Instead of crushing the Boko Haram Insurgents, in six months as promised, more deadly terrorist groups which were operating under ground during former President Goodluck’s Administration emerged between 2016 and now, causing havoc in different parts of the country.

BokoHaram Insurgents

 One of such groups is the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, a breakaway faction of BokoHaram in 2016.The ISWAP Group, appear to have become significantly stronger than BokoHaram as it continues to expand its area of activity in the north eastern states of Borno, Yobe and the Lake Chad region, thus forcing the Nigerian Army, under the close watch of Lt.Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and Multi-National Joint Task Force, MNTF, set up by the West African countries of Nigeria, Tchad, Niger and the Central African country of Cameroun, with additional military support from Benin Republic.

The Nigeria Army and MNJTF, may have got it right over the last three and half years.  The mass defections of Operatives of the ISWAP group, as well as the   counter-terrorism efforts by the Nigerian government and the Economic of West African States, ECOWAS, established MNJTF, commanded by Lucky Irabor, an Army General and Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, appear to have completely clipped the wings of  BokoHaram and ISWAP, Groups, making their impact in Nigeria, in the recent time less feasible. Security experts  believe  that the decline of  BokoHaram’s  activities has  resulted  in substantial improvements in curtailing terrorist activities  in the two north easten states of Borno and Yobe.   

 Another terrorsist Group, that was said to have emerged during the over seven years of the Katsina state born Nigerian President’s Administration were   the Bandits Group, operating in the north western states of Zamfara, Kaduna,  Sokoto, and  Katsina, Buhar home state, including  Niger, the home state of a former military President, retired General Ibrahim Babangida , in north central Nigeria.

 Notwithstanding the emergence of the various terrorist Groups , the Nigerian President and C-In-C, of the Nigerian Armed Forces,  and the service Chiefs were  still determined to checkmate the activities of  the Criminal elements  in the different parts of the country.  

Indeed, the recent arrest of the mastermind of  the  March 28, 2022,  attack  on the Abuja-Kaduna  scheduled Passenger train  at Damba Community  in Chikun Local government Area of Kaduna state, which had been under the siege of the Bandits over the last seven years  by troops  of Operation Whirl Punch, bear eloquent testimony to the fact that the groups are losing the battle .

Musa Danmadami, an Army, Major General  and Director , Defence Media Operations,  could beat his chest  that the military  activities  and operational successes being recorded  in different parts of the country, has sent  in the recent a message to BokoHaram Insurgents, IWAP and the Bandits Group, including the Indienous Poples ofBiafra, IPOD, that the game is up. The Defence spokesperson, had attributed the military success in the counter-terrorism war, to the use of both kinetic and non-kinetic operation methods.

Troops Of Operation Whirl Punch In KadunaSstate

  Note that in Kaduna and other flash point north western states, the Operation Whirl Punch troops were put on the red alert when information filteredout   that some strange movements, suspected to be members  of BokoHaram  and IWAP,  Commanders were at Damba Community, awaiting to strike , again in Kaduna state.

 The Operation Whirl Punch troops, may have shown that they are in total control of the state ,described as a haven  for the bandits as they were said to have  arrested the three BokoHaram and ISWAP, Commanders and their  Bandits Collaborators, , who weresaid have come into the Damba village for an operation.

It was a sweet victory for the Nigerian troops   and which after investigations and questioning of the suspects found out that one of them was the mastermind of the Abuja-Kaduna train attack. Following were said to be haven been recovered from their Damba Community hideout: two motorcycles, two mobile phones, $5,000 as well as some other foreign currencies and other sundry items.

Recall that on February 20, 2023, two days to the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections, troops of Operation Operation Whirl Punch on fighting Patrol to Gada-Oli, recovered some offensive weapons from the criminal elements.    

There is no gain saying the fact that the  sorry state of the  insecurity situation   in the country  which appears to have improved  over the last three years  may have encouraged  the    Global Terrorism Index, GTI, to take another look at the Nigerian terrorism index  record , which shows that it  has  moved ‘’to the sixth position , moving two steps  from its, eighth place in 2022, an indications that the country’s insecurity challenges over the last seven years have improved tremendously.

Tukur Buratai, a retired Army Lt.Gen.and former Chief of Army Staff, who had handed over the baton to Lt. Gen. Yahaya, was said to have set the stage for Lt. Gen. Yahaya, the present CoAS, to succeed in turning the table against the north eastern geopolitical   region insurgents by winning the hearts and minds of the people during his time, thus blocking the Insurgents source of getting information on troops movement in the state.

Lt. Gen. Yahaya: CoAS

The current Army Chief may have cashed in on the good working relationship between the military and civilian population to improve on it, thus clipping the wings of the insurgents, the bandits and other Criminal gangs, across the country, which is evident with the successful conduct of the February 25, 2023, Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Many had expected the elections to be disrupted in the flash point states of Borno, Yobe, Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger, particular, but that was not to be as the battle-ready troops were in firm control of the states ready to crush any intruder.   

The  Insurgents and Bandits Group fighters may have known that any attempt to dare the Nigeria Army during the election period would be a fruitless effort that they were forced to go underground to allow the process go on undisturbed.

 Although, there may have been pockets of disturbances in  in some parts of Borno state and the Shiroro Local government   Area of Niger state during the elections but it was said to have been  quickly put under control by the agile soldiers, as both the BokoHaram, IWAP and the Bandits  were forced to take to their heels.

Going by  the  GTI report, which is published annually  by the Institute  for Economics  and Peace, IEP,   which provides  a comprehensive  summary  of the global trends  and patterns  in terrorism  activities  since 2000,, it has  confirmed that there have been a continuous decline  in the number  of deaths  from  terrorism attacks   in Nigeria in the last three years.

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