U.S. Approves Sale Of Counter-Insurgency Planes To Nigeria

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/www.moody.af.

The United States has okayed the sale of 12 Embraer A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria.

This follows the promise made by U.S. President Donald Trump to President Muhammadu Buhari earlier this year that he would support Nigeria in its fight against terrorism.

The Associated Press reported that the State Department notified the U.S. Congress on Wednesday about the plan, adding that Congress is expected to okay the move.

According to the report, officials briefed on the matter said the aircraft will be sold to Nigeria by the Sierra Nevada Corp.

The Embraer Super Tucano is said to be a light attack aircraft designed for counter-insurgency, close air support, and aerial reconnaissance missions in low-threat environments.

Nigeria has been trying to acquire high-tech planes for a while now. Efforts to purchase the planes from the U.S. failed as a result of concerns about alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian military.

Following the bombing of the Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Rann on January 17, Barack Obama, who was President at the time suspended the planned sale.

Trump, however, revived the deal as part of his plan to arm countries to fight terrorism.

News of the plan comes about three weeks after the U.S. State Department in a report to Congress expressed concern over what it said is the inability of the Nigerian military to secure territories recaptured from Boko Haram insurgents.

It also comes amid a resurgence in attacks by Boko Haram terrorists. On July 25, the insurgents had ambushed oil workers in Borno killing over 40 persons including troops and abducting some lecturers from the University of Maiduguri.

The sale is, however, expected to motivate the military, while also equipping them to better deal with the insurgents who are also seeking new ways to spread terror and who are still holding hundreds captive.

US Ambassador Commends Military’s Counter Insurgency Efforts

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Steward Symington has commended troops of Operation Lafiya Dole and members of their families, for the great job and sacrifice in combating insurgency and terrorism in the North East Nigeria.

Ambassador Symington gave the commendation in Maiduguri, during his visit to the headquarters, Theatre Command Operation Lafiya Dole.

The Ambassador pointed out that only Nigerians can best fight and defeat the insurgence against the country, which could only be attained with the support of all Nigerians.

He enjoined Nigerians to take the lead in loving and caring for their country and other people will follow suit.

Meanwhile, the Theatre Commander Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Lucky Irabor expressed appreciation to the United States military for its support and partnership with the Nigerian Military in the fight against insurgency in the North East.

He averred that Operation Lafiya Dole had made tremendous success in combating the insurgents and liberating areas that were hitherto held by the dissident group in early 2015, adding that currently, no Local Government in the north east is under control of the insurgents.

General Irabor however noted, that the fleeing insurgents have callously resorted to attacking soft targets, employing Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) conveyed by vulnerable women, young girls and boys.

He disclosed that the situation is being mitigated with continuous awareness and sensitization campaign, to enlighten members of the public and shore up their security consciousness.

The Theatre Commander urged all mobilization and sensitization agencies of government to collaborate with the military in its awareness and enlightenment campaign, to further counteract Boko Haram IED attacks.

He reiterated the unwavering resolve of the officers and men of Operation Lafiya Dole to ensure that insurgency in the North East becomes a thing of the past.

Counter Insurgency: Pakistan Offers Tactics To Nigeria

Counter Insurgency: Pakistani Chief Of Air Staff Offers TacticsThe Pakistani Chief Of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sohail Aman, has pledged to help Nigeria defeat terrorism and insurgency, especially in the north east.

He recommend the use of what he called the three d’s approach: deterrence, dialogue and development.

Air Marshal Aman explained that with the approach, the insurgents must first be relentlessly weakened to a point where they would be compelled to dialogue; a tactic he says Pakistan has employed in nearly two decades of fighting terrorism.

He also said development of the area of operation must be carried out by government authorities to ensure livelihood for the persons who might have been affected in the crisis.

He further added that neglecting this important aspect, negates all other efforts.

According to him, the terrorists tactics change regularly, and so must the strategies used to hunt them down such as real time intelligence, accurate surveillance, quick response and precision strikes.

The Pakistani Airforce Boss, is on an official visit to Nigeria for series of collaboration and exchange on matters of security and defense.

Commandant of the National Defence College, Rear Admiral Samuel Alade, has said that the command has taken advantage of the visit, to take a look at the Pakistan experience of over 15 years, in their fight against terrorism and insurgency and find lessons Nigeria might be able to learn.

BBOG Rallies Support For Nigerian Military Personnel

ezekwesiliThe Bring Back Our Girls campaigners are asking the government and Nigerians to improve the welfare of the Nigerian military.

The group made the demand on Sunday when they gathered in Abuja at a special sit out to honour departed Lieutenant Colonel Abul Ali and other fallen heroes.

It maintained that only a well-motivated force could subdue the Boko Haram terrorists that have pushed for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the north-eastern region for over six years.

While praising the courage of the late army Colonel, they also called on Nigerians to show love to the families of military personnel, as a mark of appreciation for their supreme sacrifices.

A leader of the group, Oby Ezekwesili, further charged the military authorities to step up intelligence gathering in the fight against insurgency as well as be accountable to the Nigerian people.

“Just looking at the duty allowances and bonus that they get, the way that they’re honoured and the prestige with which they are treated as those who are executing that war at the battle front, more support would make a big difference.

“In many ways, the psyche of our military needs to be so overhauled towards a sense that the society and the government are with them and that they are not left to their own fate. I think that it is important that we, not just we as BBOG, but all of us in the country, have to put a voice out there. We must demand accountability from our military.

“The military establishment must be subject to the demand of accountability and we never cease doing that. That is one thing.

“The other thing is the soldiers at the frontline of battle deserves our support. They deserve our encouragement and gratitude. All other countries around the world have these seasons when they specially show appreciation to their soldiers. We cannot make it a one off event. It has to be something that is constant and we hope that spirit will see an expression in the motivation of our soldiers to even do more,” she told the gathering.

Another member of the group, Aisha Yesufu, also stressed the need for Nigerians to show soldiers in the frontline that they are with them and would continue to protect them and look after their families.

“We are calling on, not only the Nigerian government, but individuals for us to adopt families of soldiers that are at the front.

“That is the thing that we are talking about today,” she added.

Lieutenant Colonel Ali was killed in gun battle with members of the Boko Haram sect few days ago alongside some other soldiers.

Female Suicide Bomber Kills Self In Foiled Attack

Suicide bomber kills self in BornoA suspected female suicide bomber has died in a failed attack in Dikwa Local government Area of Borno State.

The suspect’s planned attack was thwarted on Sunday evening by troops at a check point located at Kara Cattle market axis, Dikwa, towards Antul and Mukdala.

A statement by a spokesman for the Army, Colonel Sani Usman said she was challenged from afar by the vigilant duty sentry.

“She refused to stop claiming to be coming from Monguno to see her parents in Dikwa.

“Troops sensing that the direction of approach was suspicious and abnormal, fired a shot at her and the gallant sentry was proven right as she was carrying a Person Borne Improvised Explosive Device (PBIED) which exploded with a loud bang, killing her instantly and causing minor injury on two soldiers and a Civilian JTF assisting them,” the statement read.

The injured soldiers and the civilian have been treated and have continued with their duties, Colonel Usman said.

Remnants Of Boko Haram Terrorists

The incident showed that there are a few remnants of Boko Haram terrorists determined to carry out attacks to create panic and insecurity in some areas in the northeast that have seen relative peace in the last few months.

Counter-insurgency efforts had heightened since early 2015, with the military sacking the terrorists from communities they had seized in the heat of the over six years insurgency.

In the statement, the army further highlighted that there was a reliable information that remnants of the Boko Haram terrorists now disguise or pretend to be mad men or women in order to gain access to some locations especially in Maiduguri.

It warned all citizens to be very wary of any seemingly mentally unstable or mad men or women found wandering and report same.

“Therefore, it is imperative for all to be more security conscious and vigilant especially during the Eid festivities and public holidays,” the statement by the army further read.

It also urged Nigerians to report any suspicious persons or movement to the security agencies.

The failed suicide attack came days after the police and the Department of State Service asked the Independent National Electoral Commission to shift a governorship election scheduled to hold in Edo State on September 10, citing security threats.

They had warned that insurgents were planning attacks at different locations during the celebration of the Eid.

Northeast Humanitarian Crisis: US To Get UK, France’s Support For Nigeria

John Kerry on northeast humanitarian crisisThe United States of America says it will get the United Kingdom, France and other countries to augment its support for Nigeria to address the humanitarian in the oil-rich nation’s northeast.

U.S. Secretary of State Mr John Kerry made the promise on Tuesday while in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

A statement by a spokesman for President Buhari, Femi Adesina, said Mr Kerry told President Buhari that his country was aware that his administration inherited a big problem, but assured him of America’s support.

Mr Kerry also commended the courage of President Buhari in fighting corruption.

He said: “We applaud what you are doing. Corruption creates a ready-made playing field for recruiting extremists.

“You inherited a big problem, and we will support you in any way we can. We will work with you very closely.

“We don’t want to interfere, but will offer opportunities as you require”.

President Buhari had earlier thanked the U.S. for both hard and soft military help it was rendering to Nigeria in the war against terror.

“The training and intelligence that we could not muster ourselves, we received.

“The training has made Boko Haram less of a threat to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region, while the military hardware has given our troops added confidence,” he told Mr Kerry.

President Buhari further assured the American envoy that he would institutionalised the anti-corruption crusade to ensure it would last beyond the life of the current administration.

He said his administration would insist on the standards it was establishing.

“We are laying down administrative and financial instructions in the public service that must be obeyed.

“Any breach will no longer be acceptable.

“We will retrain our staff, so that they understand the new orientation.

“And those who run afoul of these rules will be prosecuted, no matter who is involved,” he stressed.

He, however, stated that the government would be fair, just and act according to the rule of law, assuring the American envoy that “anyone perceived corrupt is innocent till we can prove it”.

Nigerian Air Force Pilots Urged To Sustain Attacks On Boko Haram

NAF-2Pilots of the Nigerian Air Force have been urged to sustain intensive air operations and cooperate with land army in the battle to rid Nigeria of Boko Haram insurgents.

Commending Air Force personnel for their counter-terrorism operations in the nation’s northeast, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, said he was pleased with the outcome of air operations carried out in the last one week.

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) few days ago recorded another major success in the on-going counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations against the Boko Haram terrorists.

According to him, the current phase of intensified air operations in northern Borno State paid-off on the night of August 19, when the NAF killed about 300 terrorists during an air attack.

The insurgents had gathered to hold a meeting at a location between Malam Fatori and own troops location at Kangarwa, the Air Force said.

Prior to the operations, the Air Force had on August 16 commenced series of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions to corroborate human intelligence that key Boko Haram commanders had gathered at the said location to hold meeting at night.

Sadique Abubakar, Bello Abubakar, Niger, Military
Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar

The NAF revealed the achievements on Tuesday in a statement by its Director of Public Relations and Information, Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa.

He said that the objective of the ongoing operation was to degrade the capability of the insurgents, particularly those who had fled to the northern part of Borno State.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Air Force said it had killed some key leaders of Boko Haram and wounded many others, including the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, during an airstrike on Friday in Taye Village, Borno State.

A statement by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, said: “We have just confirmed that as a result of the interdiction efforts of the Nigerian Air Force, some key leaders of the Boko Haram terrorists have been killed while others were fatally wounded”.

Colonel Usman said that the Boko Haram terrorists commanders confirmed dead include “Abubakar Mubi, Malam Nuhu and Malam Hamman, amongst others.

Human Rights Abuses: ICC Probes Nigerian Army, Boko Haram

boko haramThe International Criminal Court has started the process of investigating alleged human rights abuses by the Nigerian military.

The court will also study cases of abuse by the Boko Haram sect.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have accused the military of illegal killings and incarceration.

In the meantime, the federal government says it is committed to upholding the highest standards of human rights in the conduct of all international affairs, including counter-insurgency operations.

The Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami explains the Nigerian Army has conducted its operations in the north east of the country in a highly professional manner while imbibing best practices.

Nigerian Army Trains Officers On Counter-Insurgency

NIGERIAN ARMY 1A total of  103 officers  of  the Nigerian military and eleven other  security agencies  have concluded a one month training exercise on  Internal Security Management, Low Intensity Conflict and Counter Insurgency operations at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji Kaduna State. 

Addressing the officers during their graduation on Friday, Commandant of the college, Air Vice Marshal John Chris Ifemeje, tasked the participants to put into proper use the skills acquired during their training,    as such  knowledge  will amount to a total waste if they fail to apply it in the conduct of counter-insurgency and internal security operations in the country.

He said in line with the college’s desire to make the training conform with  contemporary security challenges, other courses apart from the usual crowd dispersal training were introduced.

The exercise which commenced on the 8th of April was conducted in 5 main modules, and includes lecture on internal security environment and role of each security agency, as well as discussions on operational experiences of the Nigerian Armed Forces in the internal security operations.

The four-week training afforded the participants the opportunity to understand the imperatives of multi-agency cooperation in internal security and low intensity conflict management, information sharing and intelligence gathering to ensure prompt response to crises situations.

Giving the highlight of the training earlier, the Director of Joint Studies,  Brigadier General Benjamin Ahanotu said the design of the training was such that many decisions were left to the players with the aim of encouraging them to value the importance of joint consultation, sharing of information and freedom of action.

The 103 participants were drawn from the Nigerian Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Immigration Service, Federal Fire Service, Department of State Security Service, Defence Intelligence Agency, Nigeria Intelligence Agency and Federal Road Safety Commission.