By Suleiman Umaru
Between 2015 and now, the Islamic State of West African Provice, ISWAP, a splinter Group of the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram, have been laying Ambush and killing Military personnel as well as attack military bases and getting away with it. They may have bitten more than what they can chew with the ambush that had led to the death of Dzarma Zirkusu, Brigadier General and Commander, 28, Battalion , of Task Force Team and three other officers of various ranks ranks on Saturday, November 13, 2021.
This is because the Operation Hadin Kai, OPHK, troops and the 28 Task Force Battalion, had heeded to the directives of Farouk Yahaya, a Lt.General and CoAs, to go after the ISWAP Insurgents who had laid the ambush that had resulted in the death of the Brigadier General with the intention of taking over control of Askira town, Headquarters of Askira-Uba , Local Government Area, of Borno state.
. Many believe that both not for the Ambush, on the 28 Task Batallion, the ISWAP terrorists could not have been able to stand the OPHK troops and the Special Force in the gun dual without counting their casualties and other loses.
With the directive of the CoAS,tohe OPKH troops, and the Special Force, to give a hot pursuit to the fleeing IWAP terrorists from the battle ground into the Lake Chad region forest may have encouraged the troops to come out smoking. According to informed security sources, the OPHK troops and the Special Forces, had demonstrated that they have the capability to deal decisively with the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and their rival Group , ISWAP, which has the backing of the Islamic State of Iraq that sprovides them with logistics support and resources using the north African country of Libya and the West African countries of Mali, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroon as bases in order to sustain the tempo of the war in the north east geo-political region.
Onyema Nwachukwu, a Brigadier General, and Director of Army Public Relations, mayhave broken a cheery news to Nigerians on Monday, November 15, 2021, when he disclosed that the heat had turned on the insurgents who are now scampering for safety.
Nwachukwu, the Army spokesman, had said that the Asikira town, battle, in Borno state, has shown that the ISWA, terrorists, who have been attacking military bases in the state cannot stand the OPHK troops, let alone, the Special Force, when they are fully determined to show their military might.
The OPHK troops were said to have destroyed several of the ISWAP combat equipment in a fierce counter-offensive in the Askira Uba Local government of the state. The ISWAP combat equipment that were said to have been destroyed by the OPHK troops include Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected, MRAP, vehicles and 11 gun trucks. They were said to have also killed 50 of the ISWAP foot fighters in the gun dual at Askira town, including some of their top Commanders.
Recall that in the gun dual between the 115 Task Force Battalion and the ISWAP terrorists for control of the military base in Askira town, Headquarters of Askira –Uba Local government Area on Saturday, November 13, 2021, the OPHK troops, were said to have shown their military strength as they had aggressively defended the military base which had almost fallen into the waiting hands of the terrorists as they were said to have followed it up with a ferocious counter-attack that saw the remnants of the ISWAP fighters fleeing into the LakeChad region forest.
The Brigadier General had said that the Askira town battle had exposed the weakness of the ISWAP terrorists as the OPHK troops and the Special trained Force,that had its Commander, Brig. General Zirkusu, killed in an Ambush, had recovered large cache of arms and ammunitions. The recovered ISWAP combat weapons include five gun trucks, two anti-aircraft guns, five AK47 rifles, one HK Machine Gun and one HK Machine Gun link.
Troops of 115 Battalion may have been encouraged by the action of OPHK and the 28 Task Force Batallion in Askira town to conduct down exploitation towards Leho village and its environs, where they were said to have discovered three corpses of the fleeing terrorists who may have gotten serious bullet wounds in the Askira battle ground that they could not survive it but died on the road.
The 115 Task Force Battalion were said to have recovere, 2560 rounds of 7.62 mm Special, and 29 rounds of 7.62 NATO ammunition . This is in addition to a one AK 47 and uncovered an Improvised Explosive Device, IED,, during a Patrol in Kawarawa village and Baga Fish Dam area. The ammunitions were said to have been abandoned by the fleeing terrorists from the Askira battle ground, which may have become too hot for them as they could not stand the special Force.
Given the successful defence of the Askira town from falling into the hands of the ISWAP terrorists, with the support of the people may informed why Lt. General Yahaya, the CoAS, as urged the people of north east ‘’to continue to support the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the region as the OPHK troops and the Special Force have renewed their operational readiness to aggressively crush the remnants of the BokoHaram and ISWAP terrorists still operating in the region.
While the OPHK, troops and the Task Force Team, are doing everything within their powers to crush the BokoHaram and ISWAP, terrorists in the north east states of Borno and Yobe, the Bandits, are fully regrouping in north west states of Zmfara and Sokoto, to Launch attacks.
Last September, the Bandits operating in the Zamfara forests had attacked the Onward Operating military base in Mutumji, Dansadau Local Government Area of the state. The bandits were said to have carted away weapons and other military equipment, fueling speculations making the rounds that there is no difference in the mode of operations of the Insurgents in the north east and the bandits operating in the north west states of Zamfara, Kduna, Sokoto, Kebbi and Katsina, Buhari, home state or the north central state of Niger.
Only recently, the bandits, who many believe have relocated to the Zamfara state from other parts of the nort west geo-political region, were said to have attacked Rijiya village in Gusau Local Government Area of the state. The Bandits gang were said to kill six persons and abducted several others during the attack to force the Bello Matawalle government to pay them ransom.
In a related development, the Bandits were said to have killed 15 people during separate attacks, between Sunday, November 14, 2021 and Monday, November 15, 2021, in Goronyo and Illela, Local Government Areas of Sokoto, the Caliphate state, which had had produced a former Nigerian elected President, Late Shehu Shagari.
Aminu Tambuwal, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives and governor of the Caliphate state had said that 12 persons were killed in Illela LGA while three persons were shot dead in Goronyo, LGA.The attacks on Goronyo , was said to have been carried out barely after one month the bandits had raided the town where 43 people were confirmed killed.
President Muhamadu Buhari, a retired army General who has been very reluctant in declaring the bandits as terrorists to give the military room to neutalise them may have been touched by the Goronyo killings that he had sent a message to the bandits saying ‘’their clock of ultimate destruction was ticking and they would no longer have a place to hide’’.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President had told those that cares to listen that ‘’the days of the bandits are numbered because the country’s military capabilities have been boosted by the acquisition and deployment of advanced equipment’’. He had said that ‘’the military would soon descend on them harder than ever before’’.
The retired army General may not have bowed to pressure from the public and the National Assembly to declared the bandits as bandits, but the military Fighter Jets, have been deployed to carry out an aerial assault on identified bandit enclaves around the boundary area between LGA, in Kaduna state , and Zamfara state, on the orders of the Nigerian President in this month of November. The Military Fighter Alpha Jets were said to have killed scores of the bandits and estroyed their Camps in Kaduna forests.