By Stephen Ubanna
Nigeria may have been thrown into darkness on Friday, September 25, 202020, as the Abubakar Shekau led Islamic Fundamentalist Group, Boko Haram fighters , laid ambush on Babagana Zulum , a Professor and governor of Borno state Convoy along the Maiduguri – Baga notorious route, killing some of the governor’s security Personnel back up.
The breakdown of the security Operatives and other Borno state government officials who had gone to Baga to join the governor who were said to have come under the fire power of the Insurgents shows that 16 persons were confirmed dead while the whereabouts of an unspecified number remained nknown. The Insurgents may not have succeeded in hitting at their target, Zulum, because had flown into the Baga fishing Community via an Air Force Helicopter. The initial reports had it that only 11 security Operatives, made up of eight policemen and three Civilian Joint Task Force, JTF, members were killed in the BokoHaram ambush attack.
Zulum, and the top state government Functionaries and Lawmakers, both at the state and Federal level, were said to have visited the Commercial town of Baga, after taking all the precautionary security measures for their safety on a tour of the construction work going on in the town .
He was said to have been accompanied by Abubakar Kyari, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Borno North, Mohammed Tahir and Bukar Gana Kareto, both members of the Femi Gbajabiamila led House of Representatives.
The two Federal Lawmakers who were said to be Representing Marte,Monguno, Ngazai, and Mobbar, Kukawa, Guzamala, and Abadam Federal Constituencies respectively may have been disappointed over what they saw along the Maiduguri – Baga route ,as the Boko Haram fighters,almost claimed their life in a well conceived ambush.
Even Abdulkarim Lawan ,Speaker of the state House of Assembly and Kaka Shehu Lawan, a Lawyer and Commissioner for Justice were said to be part of the governor’s entourage who were said to have escaped by the whiskers.
The reconstruction and rehabilitation of the fishing Community, the Value News was informed was part of the bold initiatives of the Zulum Administration ” to undercut the Insurgents long use of the Commercial town as the main transit for its fishing trade and tax Administration to fund their murderous activities in the state’’. The visit to the fishing Community may have given the governor th e oportunity to access the progress of work done and to commend the Lawan led Committee for”the quality and speed of work’’.
The Baga fishing Community, according to military sources is the largest on the shores of the Lake Chad with water ways with the neighbouring West African country of Chad, which many believe was very strategic to the Insurgent’s Operations.
Recall that the Insurgents had taken over control of the town on December 28, 2018, after several clashes with the military. The terrorists were said to have carried attack on the troops of the 7 Brigade of the Multi- national Joint Task Force, MNJTF,,at Baga town. they were said to have overpowered the soldiers, forcing them to flee, thus paving the way for the Insurgents to hoist their Flags over the town while assuring residents of their safety.
This may have put Borno, on the International map as a state with two distinct Administrations, one governed by the Republican Constitution and another by the Islamic law. This may have informed why the terrorists were determined to defend the town by resorting to guerrilla tactics to frustrate the security Operatives from from laying claim of having reclaimed the Community.
, It is on record that in one of such Boko Haram attacks on the Baga Community in 2018, the terrorists were said to have damaged 3,700 structures or put simply destroyed Baga town and Dron Baga , and allegedly killing over 2000 people.
In spite of Zulum, the Borno state governor confirmation of the Insurgents control of the Borno Commercial town over the last 21 months, the military could not take it, insisting that they have reclaimed the town.
This may have emboldened Zulum, the Borno state governor to embark on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the town to facilitate the return of the runaway residents in order to decongest Munguno and Maiduguri, of the Baga refuges. The governor had inaugurated a Resettlement Committee on August 31, 2020, under the Chairmanship of Lawan, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly which is handling the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the damaged Baga town project.
the governor had told those that cares to listen that ”Baga town was displaced by the BokoHaram Insurgents 21 months ago’’.
Isa Gusau, the Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the governor had said that the attack on the governor’s Convoy at Baga town had ‘’saddened him because of the unfortunate carnage’’. Appealing to the people of the state to remain calm even in the face of the tribulations, the governor had urged them’’ to believe that with sustained efforts, Borno will eventually regain peace’’.
An aggrieved Zulum, who could not hide his feelings lamented, that the situation in the north east state is tough but the people must choose between doing something now which gives the people of the state some hope or doing nothing that may leave them more vulnerable ‘’to the Insurgent’s ultimate wish to take over Borno and bring it under BokoHaram Soveriegn brutal administration’’.
There is no gainsaying the fact that last July, the Borno state governor’s convoy were attacked by the Boko Haram Terrorists, forcing the governor to lambast the soldiers over the lapses in the security arrangement of Baga town. The governor has every reason to tongue lash the soldiers.This is because of their ‘’inabilityto rid Baga and its environs of the Boko Haram Insurgents’’.
The July attack on the Borno state governor’s Convoy had occurred on his way to some Internally Displaced People’s Camps in the northern part of the state. Although, the attack was said to have been repelled by the security operatives but there were said to be causalities on the side of the governor’s entourage, fueling speculations making the rounds that the Insurgents had infiltrated the ranks of the Borno state state government and the military to get security information.
Many believe that the recent attack on the Borno state governor’s security back up personnel may have encouraged President Muhammadu Buhari, who has condemned the it, to give a matching order to Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, a General and Chief of Dendense Satff, CDS, and the service Chiefs, to match on the terrorists and put the security situation in Baga and Borno state in general under control.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President had dscribed that attack which occured on the Maiduguri – Baga route,”as an orchestrated sabotage against the long well planned return of the displaced persons of Baga and other local Communities to return.
This may have informed why the Air Task Force of Operation Lafya Dole under subsidiary Operation Hail Storm 2, at the instance of Abuabakar Sadique, an Air Marshall and Chief of Air Staff, to come out smoking .
The Air Task Force personnel, were said to have destroyed the Insurgents Camps in Tongule, Bone and Isari B. Musa areas of the war turned kukawa local government Area of the state. The Air attack in Tongule were said to have been carried out on Thursday, September 24, 2020, after a Surveillance mission revealed continued Assembly of the Terrorists within the settlement at nighttime, neutralizing several of them.
The Air wing of the Operation Lafya were said to have also attacked Isari B, Musa on Friday, September 25, 2020, in quick reaction to the attack on the Borno governor’s entourage.
John Enenche, Air Task Force of Operation Lafya Dole, spokesperson said the strike at Bone, a settlement along the Yale –Kumshe axis , was carried out by a force package of Nigerian Air Force, NAF, fighter jets and helicopter gunships after credible intelligence reports that the established location served as a staging area from where the terrorists launch attacks. The hundreds of the Isari B. musa terrorists who were said to to have been observed within and forests surrounding the settlement. The fighter Jets were said to have were said to have reduced the terrorists Camps to rubbles as the NAF attack jets took turns in engaging the target areas.