By Stephen Ubanna
With barely two months that President Muhammadu Buhari, a retired army General, gave a matching order to General Lucky Irabor, Chief of Denfence Staff, CDS, and the service Chiefs that they have only a few months to liberate all the areas in the north east under the control of the Islamic Fundamentalist group, BokoHaram, and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, Insurgents, and other parts of the country controlled by Bandits, appears to have put them on a high jump.
The renewed fighting spirit of the Ibrahim Attahiru, a Lt. General and Chief of Army Staff, CAS, soldiers in Borno, described as home state of the Insurgents may have forced the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, fighters which had entrenched itself in the Lake Chad area, to resort fully now into laying of ambush on Nigerian soldiers as a way of frustrating them to back out in their attacks.
Many had expected that with the Liberation of many towns and villages around the Lake Chad areas, particular, the Communities in the Guzamala and Kukawa areas almost about a year ago, would have forced the insurgents to relocate but this is not the case. The vulnerability of the area may have exposed the Communities around it to danger that the Insurgents could come in at any time , attack, kidnap and escape into their hideout in the forest.
In acting out the script of the Katsina state born Nigerian President to put an end to the Counter –Insurgency war in the north east, may have informed why the soldiers fighting the Counter-terrorism war had intensified the war in the region.General Irabor, the CDS, had confirmed that ‘’there was an ambush against the troops who were on their way to Gudumbali from the town of Kukawa on a military operation against the Insurgents with their ten gun fitted trucks on Friday, March 13, 2021.
The General had said that some of the suspected Insurgents had emerged from the bush and attacked the troops. Ado Isa, An army Colonel and Media Coordinator of Operation Lafiya Dole, was silent on a number of soldiers killed in the ambush but m news making the rounds after the Insurgents attack and based on the number of bodies that were said to have been recovered shows that no fewer than 15 soldiers were killed and ten others injured in the Gdumbali ambush by the ISWAP fighters.. Some members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, CJTF, who were said to have accompanied the troops for the operation were also killed.
A security source told The Value News that the Insurgents who may have lost the fire power to confront the Nigeria military personnel and the Multi-national JointTaskForce, MNJTF, could easily ambush soldiers carrying out their legitimate duties in the north east state of Borno because they are still controlling some areas in the Lake Chad region including the Timbus Community.
There is no gain saying the fact that the ISWAP group, which had fully entrenched itself in the Lake Chad area, which is a strategic border region on the borders of Nigeria, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon and Niger Republic have been wrecking – havoc in the region in the region over the last five years.
In the recent ISWAP, fightesr ambush at Gudumbali Community in Borno state The Magazine learnt that but for the support and the information extracted from the members of the Civilian JTF, volunteers in the Lake Chad area who were said to have leveraged on their knowledge of the terrain to direct the soldier’s movement, the casualty figure on the side of army could have much been much as the ambush was on a close range.
It was gathered that that one Yusuf Baba, the Civilian JTF Commander in the Kukawa Local government area was killed by the attackers while some of his members were believed to have been kidnapped as they have not been sighted two days after the Friday ambush. Although the army search party, have intensified their efforts in combing the nooks and crannies of the forest in search of those allegedly kidnapped by the Insurgents after the ambush but that was how far they could go.
While Commending the efforts put up the gallant soldiers by the CDS, to chase the Insurgents away from the scene, he had declared that , ‘’peace is a work in progress and not an end state in itself’’, noting that ‘’the end state is peace and not the product’’.
Recall that last January at the same notorious Lake Chad region, the Machine gun-wielding ISWAP fighters had attacked a military base in the town of Marte, forcing hundreds of soldiers to flee for their safety to avoid being killed.
The soldiers were said to have regrouped and after an intense fighting with the ISWAP fighters, were able to regain control of the military base by dislodging the Insurgents. The troops from Tura Taka Bango, in Coordination with the air Force Wing of Operation Lafiya Dole, in Maiduguri, the Borno state Capital, were said to have helped out by destroying seven of the group’s militarized trucks and killed several of them , thus forcing them to flee the Marte military base.
They had occupied the base two days and carted away many weapons, ammunitions including gun fitted vehicles from the base. They were said to have also inflicted damage on the military base. The ISWAP fighters were said to have killed seven soldiers.
In subsequent month of February, the ISWAP, fighters, on board several trucks fitted with machine guns, were said to have raided Dikwa town, in Dikwa Local government area of the war- thorn Borno state , where the Nigerian Army has one of its ‘’super camp’’ military bases.
The ISWAP , group were said to have attacked the military camp from the northern and eastern flanks, because of their knowledge of the terrain after years of operating in the area to launch their different attacks against the Nigeria soldiers in Communities around the region.. They were said to have been forced to withdraw from the Dikwa military camp and forced out of the town when the Air force Wing of Operation Lafiya Dole sent fighter Jets, which were said to have crushed the IWAP, fighters.
General Irabor and the service Chiefs who are under severe pressure to restore normalcy in the country had told the soldiers during a recent visit to Maiduguri had urged the soldiers ‘’to remain resilient and show more Commitment to win the Counter-terrorism war’’. Hear him winning the war is a work in progress, noting that ‘’it is not an end state itself as the end state is peace and not the product’’ He has made it clear to those that cares to listen that the Military Authorities would never rest on their oars until every space of Nigerian Land including Tibus in the Lake Chad area of Borno state are liberated and controlled by the Civil Authorities both at the Local government, state and Federal levels.
While the BokoHaram and IWAP Inurgents are terrorising the people of Borno state, particular in the Lake Chad aarea and occasional attacks in Yobe state, the Bandits, in the north west, who many believe are offshoot of the ISWAP, group, whose major assignment is to attack Communities and kidnap students in the north western states of Zamfara, described as the home state of the bandits, Kaduna and Katsina, a neighbouring Nigeria state to Niger Republic are doing exactly that as they demand for ramsom from Individuals or state governments informed sources said are channeled to buying of arms and ammunitions from the gun runners in the Sub-saharan Africa, in order to sustain the Insurgency in the north east and Banditry in the north west.
Only recently 39 students of College of Forestry, a few Kilometers away from the Nigerian Defence Academy , NDA , were Kidnapped but they were said to have been released. The quick intervention of the soldiers in the school were said to have prevented the kidnap of another 180 students and Staff of the school.
On Saturday, March 14, 2021, the soldiers were said to foiled another attempt by the notorious Bandits to abduct students of Government Science Secondary School in the Ikara Local government area of the state. That much was confirmed by Samuel Aruwan, the state Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs.
The question on the lips of most people was why the UAE government is still keeping the Nigerian procured arms in its custody while the Insurgents and Bandits are killing the soldiers with their modern weapons. Bashir Salihi Magashi, a retired Major General,and minister of Defence, may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians when he said that he has taken up the matter with Fahad Al- Tafaq, the UAE, Ambassador to Nigeria to facilitate the release of the military weapons.
Security analysts had said that Mohammed bin Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirate, UAE, could help the Nigerian government to crush the BokoHaram and ISWAP Insurgents in the north east and the Bandits in the north west, by the releasing the arms and ammunition procured with part of the $1 billion arms fund which had been in its custody over the last two years.