We Are Winning War Against Insurgency, Banditry – Military

 

The military on Thursday said it is winning the war against insurgency and banditry as it sustains an onslaught against criminals within the country.

Spokesman Major-General John Enenche said this during a press conference in Abuja.

Enenche referenced recent operations against bandits in Zamfara and Katsina as evidence of the military’s efforts against insecurity.

READ ALSO: Boko Haram No Longer Has Authority Over Any Territory – Enenche

In a Monday statement, Enenche had announced that troops of Operation Hadarin Daji have killed at least 35 bandits in Zamfara in two successive operations.

The operations were carried out on Sunday, the spokesman said.

According to the statement, the troops were also able to recover 24 cows and an unspecified number of sheep from the bandits.

He also noted that two suspected bandits have been arrested in Katsina state.

During his Thursday press briefing, Enenche renewed his appeal for members of the public to continually provide the military with actionable information that will assist in decimating all criminal elements in the country.

Wike Urges FG To Change Service Chiefs, Seek Help To End Insecurity

 

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike has joined other stakeholders to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to change the current service chiefs in order to end insurgency, banditry, and other violent crimes.

Governor Wike made the appeal on Friday during the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration at the Government House Port Harcourt, after the traditional parade at the Isaac Boro Park.

He said the Federal Government must end the killings in the country in the shortest possible time, stressing that changing the service chiefs will allow for the introduction of new strategies to fight the insurgents and bandits.

Read Also: Boko Haram No Longer Has Authority Over Any Territory – Enenche

He also urged the government to stop pretending and seek external help to effectively fight the insurgents.

Governor Wike equally restated his commitment to improving the welfare of legionnaires and families of fallen heroes and urged other governments in the country to do so.

Insurgency: Buratai Visits Yobe, Asks Troops To Pray For Fallen Soldiers

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai receives a salute from the troops deployed to 27 Special Taskforce Brigade in Buniyadi, Yobe State on December 25, 2020.

 

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has visited troops deployed to 27 Special Taskforce Brigade in Buniyadi, Yobe State asking them to pray for the fallen soldiers.

Buratai’s visit to the north-eastern state on Friday is to boost the morale of troops fighting the Boko Haram insurgency where he also has a special Christmas luncheon with the troops.

The army chief brought a message of hope to the troops, re-assuring them of necessary support to successfully conduct their operations.

“As we mark this year’s Christmas, I want to encourage you to always remember and pray for the souls of our gallant departed colleagues who paid the supreme price in the course of their duties,” he said.

READ ALSO: Christmas: Pray For Troops To End Insecurity – Defence Minister

“We shall continue to do all that is necessary to provide the enabling environment for the effective and successful conduct of our operations.

“Let me reassure you of our commitment to the welfare of all officers and men of the Nigerian army. We will continue to re-evaluate the welfare packages of the Nigerian army to ensure they meet the best standards and practices internationally.”

According to Buratai, the officers have demonstrated professionalism, courage and determination in the discharge of their constitutional duties in tackling the numerous security threats in the country.

Pray For Troops – Defence Minister

Earlier, the Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi, asked Christians to pray for the country to overcome its security challenges as they celebrate the birth of Christ.

Magashi gave the charge via a statement issued on December 24 to felicitate with Christians on the special Christmas occasion.

“The least appreciation Nigerians can show to the nation’s gallant soldiers who are fighting patriotically so that the citizens can sleep with their eyes closed is to pray for them and be security conscious at this auspicious time,” he said.

The minister noted the need for peaceful co-existence especially as the country faces the challenges of insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, among other crimes.

Magashi also commended the military and other security agencies as well as the civil authorities for the recent feat attained in the timely rescue of the abducted students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State.

Defence Minister Seeks Innovative Means To Tackle Insurgency, Others

The Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd), briefing reporters at the National Assembly in Abuja on November 3, 2020.

 

The Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, wants the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and others to be more innovative in the fight against insurgency, banditry, and other forms of crimes in the country.

He made the suggestion on Friday at the sixth Graduation Ceremony of participants of the Air Force War College (AFWC) Course 6/2020 held at NAF Base Makurdi, the Benue State capital.

Magashi, who was represented by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, placed a demand for excellence and professionalism on the shoulders of military officers in the discharge of their constitutional mandate.

According to him, the changing nature of warfare poses new challenges to security forces as sub-conventional threats are on the rise, creating a significantly more complex strategic environment, both at the global and regional levels.

“The nature of these challenges makes it necessary to be innovative and explore contemporary ways and means to tackle them.

“Invariably, doctrinal development, force structure, planning and equipment provisioning for asymmetric warfare have become much more challenging problems than what is obtainable in a conventional war,” the minister stated.

Noting that the Air Force War College is the apex military training institution in the Force, he said it has done credibly well since its establishment in September 2016.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonishakin, speaks at the sixth Graduation Ceremony of participants of the Air Force War College (AFWC) Course 6/2020 held at NAF Base Makurdi, the Benue State capital on November 6, 2020.

 

Magashi asserted that airpower, being a critical component of the nation’s military instrument of national power, has remained a formidable tool in the preservation of Nigeria’s territorial integrity.

“Aside from the efforts of the NAF towards enhancing internal security in the country, the Service has also attracted tremendous goodwill and credibility to the nation through the provision of airlift and humanitarian support for the African Union, United Nations, and friendly African countries,” he said.

The minister congratulated the graduands for completing their training, saying they have shown courage and determination to be able to achieve the feat.

He was delighted that the NAF had seized the opportunity to create an avenue for operational and strategic level thinking at the AFWC.

“As the air arm of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, the NAF has been playing significant and crucial roles in the ongoing counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations, where air force officers, airmen, and airwomen have performed gallantly.

“I am particularly proud of the innovative steps that the NAF has taken within the last few years, as it strives to revitalise and boost its capacity to fulfill its mandate to defend Nigeria’s territorial integrity,” Magashi said.

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the needed support and encouragement to the Armed Forces of Nigeria, in furtherance of the nation’s constitutional roles.

The minister also commended the Commandant, faculty, and administrative staff of the AFWC for their dedication and tireless efforts towards the training of the graduands.

Mozambique Insurgency Tests Region’s Anti-Conflict Resolve

 

The audacious attack and occupation of a strategic port in Mozambique’s gas-rich province days before a summit of regional leaders will test southern Africa’s counter-insurgency skills, analysts say.

Extremist fighters attacked the small but key town of Mocimboa da Praia — the third such attack this year alone — culminating in the capture of its port on Wednesday.

Mozambique’s northernmost province of Cabo Delgado, which borders Tanzania, has been ravaged by a jihadist insurgency since October 2017.

But the government waited until April this year to admit the presence of so-called Islamic State militants in the country.

The jihadists have grown bolder in recent months, escalating attacks as part of a campaign to establish an Islamist caliphate.

Analysts hope the violence will be top of the agenda when leaders from 16 southern African countries meet for a routine annual summit on Monday.

During the summit — to be held virtually due to coronavirus travel restrictions — Mozambique takes over the rotating chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) from Tanzania.

SADC should “urgently assist Mozambique to stem the violent insurgency” which has killed more than 1,500 people and displaced at least 250,000, said the Pretoria-based Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on Thursday.

It said the upcoming summit presents a “crucial opportunity to take decisive action to help end the crisis”.

– Private military contractors –

In May, SADC’s security unit pledged to help Mozambique tackle the insurgency — one of the toughest challenges southern Africa has faced in recent years.

But concrete action has yet to be seen.

“It is really time for SADC to intervene,” said Maputo-based activist Adriano Nuvunga, director of Mozambique’s Centre for Democracy and Development.

Struggling to regain control of the strife-torn region, the Mozambican army has hired private military contractors to help, including Russia’s Wagner and the South Africa-based Dyck Advisory Group, according to various researchers.

But analysts say those efforts have been ineffective so far.

“Military action by the Mozambique government, including the continued use of mercenaries, has not stopped the attacks,” the ISS said.

In a pre-summit meeting on Thursday, Mozambique’s Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo spoke of the “need for consultation and coordination of our actions in combatting terrorism which poses a major threat to our region”.

“Our region faces a threat… in the form of terrorism and violent extremism, which if not contained, has the possibility of spreading” throughout southern Africa, said the minister.

– ‘Regional threat’ –

SADC set up a standby brigade in 2008 to respond to conflict situations.

The force was last deployed to restore security in Lesotho in 2017 following the killing of the kingdom’s top army commander.

If sent to Mozambique, it will be the first time it faces terrorism.

Independent analyst Jasmine Opperman said the Mozambique insurgency had created a “regional threat” that cannot be ignored.

“But it does not seem that SADC at this point in time is going to go beyond window dressing,” she told AFP, noting that SADC lacked the military and financial might to put boots in Cabo Delgado.

Regional superpowers that could contribute troops such as South Africa are focused on militarily enforcing anti-coronavirus lockdowns.

South Africa also has around 1,000 soldiers serving in a United Nations mission in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Even if regional soldiers were deployed, analysts suggest that would be redundant without tackling local frustrations that fuel the insurgency.

“If those issues are not addressed in the medium to short-term, deployment of soldiers will be nothing more than a plaster over an ulcer that is about to explode,” Opperman warned.

– ‘Gaining momentum’ –

Mozambican security forces have meanwhile been battling to regain control of the port.

Every attack on Mocimboa da Praia is a hindrance for the development of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the Afungi peninsula.

The project, situated 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of the town, relies on its port for supplies.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi insists the multi-million dollar gas project — one of the biggest single investments in Africa — is safe.

But the latest attack, according to Nuvunga at Mozambique’s Centre for Democracy and Development, shows an insurgency that is “gaining more ground and momentum” and is a “setback” in development of the gas project.

Experts had hoped the project would turn impoverished Mozambique into one of the world’s leading LNG exporters, creating an African version of Qatar.

AFP

Insurgents Penetrating Nigeria’s North-West, Expanding To South – U.S.

A file photo of a military truck.

 

The United States has called on the Nigerian government to take the lead in the fight against insurgency in the country.

The Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command in Africa, Major General Dagvin Anderson, gave the advice at a digital press briefing on Wednesday.

He said the insurgents have started penetrating the north-western part of the country where they were already making some inroads, adding that they were looking to expand further south into the coastal areas.

Anderson said the U.S. would continue to support the Nigerian government with intelligence sharing on what the terrorists are doing.

He noted that this would also include supplying constant information on the operations of the insurgents in Borno State and the North-West.

The major general stated that for international efforts to yield desired results in the fight against terrorism in Nigeria, the government must take the lead.

He made the remarks while responding to questions from journalists about the insurgency in Nigeria which has claimed many lives and displaced millions of people in the North East.

The briefing was organised to discuss U.S. partnerships with African nations to reduce extremism, combat terrorist organisations, and bring about peace and prosperity throughout the African continent.

A photo grab of Major General Dagvin Anderson while he was speaking during a press briefing on August 6, 2020.

 

Read excerpts of Major General Anderson’s comments on the insurgency in Nigeria below:

When it comes to Nigeria in general, Nigeria, obviously, is a critical nation to West Africa.  It is huge just in its economy, in its population, and just its influence in the region.  It is a critical nation and we realise that Nigeria is a lynchpin.

For that to have an effect against the VEOs and to have an effect against these stressors, it really takes the Government of Nigeria to lead that effort and to build that energy to coalesce around.  So no nation can come in and fix that problem for Nigeria.

We can assist with that – and it’s the United States can assist, the United Kingdom, other countries can come in, many countries can come and assist with that partnership – but ultimately it takes leadership from Nigeria in order for us to focus our efforts.  We need to understand where Nigeria wants to focus those efforts so we can partner appropriately to have the best effect.

We have partnered with great effect with Nigeria in counterterrorism in the past.  We have had good engagements with their air force in particular and providing C-208 capability, which is a light, fixed-wing ISR [intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance] platform, very capable, and we’ve had good engagement.

We have had good engagements with their air force in integrating their air force with their ground forces in order to make their air force more effective.  Nigeria is a large country, it’s got a lot of territories to cover, and so it’s critical that they have that air component and that air engagement. So, we have had positive engagements there.

Recently, the Nigerian coast guard went out and rescued some Chinese fishermen that were adrift out off their coast.  That was a combination of engagement from the U.S., where the U.S. had engaged with their maritime forces and helped build their maritime awareness along their coast.

And that was in partnership with their neighbours in Togo and Benin as well, who helped with that whole operation to understand the intelligence that led them to where these fishermen were, but then it was the unit that went out and did that was a Nigerian special operations unit that our Navy SEALs had trained a few years previously.

So sometimes it’s not the immediate effect, it’s the effect that happens two or three years later as you combine these engagements that have a greater effect later on. I know that’s just one small example and it’s not directly against terrorism, but being able to engage in that maritime domain and to be able to understand what’s going on out there is critical, and that has been an engagement the United States has had over several years with Nigeria and those other coastal states in both the naval and the special operations forces.

More directly to his point, we have engaged with Nigeria and continue to engage with them in intel sharing and in understanding what these violent extremists are doing, and that has been absolutely critical to their engagements up in the Borno State and into an emerging area of northwest Nigeria that we’re seeing al-Qaida starting to make some inroads in.

So, this intelligence sharing is absolutely vital and we stay fully engaged with the Government of Nigeria to provide them an understanding of what these terrorists are doing, what Boko Haram is doing, what ISIS-West Africa is doing, and how ISIS and al-Qaida are looking to expand further south into the littoral areas.

So these are all places where we stay engaged and we stay in great partnership with Nigeria, but I share the – and I can’t remember who asked the question, unfortunately, but I share the sentiment that it is quite disturbing that despite all this assistance, the VEOs are continuing to make progress and continuing to be a threat.

I think there are two factors in that.  One, it goes to that each government has to focus on this and provide that focus for international partners to engage with.  The other partner – the other part of this is we can’t underestimate the threat these violent extremist organizations pose.

We, as a community of international nations, keep thinking we have defeated them, or we have put them on their back foot and that they’re just moments from disintegration.  I think after 20 years we have seen they are very resilient organisations that, although small, they’re able to leverage social media and other forms of media to have an outsized voice and that they continue to recruit and they continue to find opportunities.

And so, they have evolved. What they were in the ’90s and what they preyed upon in the ’90s is different than what we saw in the 2000s in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, and now as we see them come back into Africa and engage more in Africa, we see them exploit other grievances and other divides.

So, we see them being very resilient, creative, and flexible.  So I’d ask all of the partners, all of our partners, not to underestimate the threat and not to underestimate what they’re capable of doing and that they are very patient and that they are willing to look for opportunities as they emerge.

So, you can’t just say ‘we’ve defeated them,’ you have to continue to address weaknesses and places where these terrorist groups can – that they can exploit.

Insurgency: NLC Asks FG To Implement Life Insurance For Aid Workers

 

The Borno State Chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress has asked the Federal Government to influence the implementation of insurance packages for aid workers.

The state chairman of the union, Bulama Abiso stated this at a joint press conference with Trade Unions and Civil Society Network in Maiduguri, the state capital.

The coalition said the press conference became necessary following the persistent security challenges the state is facing.

The group is seeking justice for slain aid workers while highlighting the need to prioritise their safety.

“We are calling on the Federal and State Governments, The United Nations and INGOs to consider insurance packages to partner national organisations and local staff; this will encourage indigenous citizens to continue providing humanitarian support to the affected communities,” Abiso said.

While the UN has made provision for insurance coverage for its staff, most local and international NGOs have no such packages.

The coalition also believes that resources allocated to the counter-insurgency war both at the state and federal levels are not commensurate with the realities on the ground.

“We are calling for a total overhaul of the process, system, and strategies; there is no harm in seeking external support if that is what is needed to bring peace to the region,” Abiso added.

Insurgency: Buhari Calls For Effective Collaboration Among ECOWAS Countries

File Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari addresses troops of the Nigerian Army.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for more collaboration among countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to effectively fight terrorism in the region.

President Buhari made this call on Saturday during the graduation ceremony of 181 Senior Course 42 officers at the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji in Kaduna State.

The President noted that Nigeria, in partnership with its allies, will not relent until the Boko Haram terrorists in the Lake Chad basin and other insurgency group terrorising the West African subregion and the entire continent are completely decimated.

Speaking through the Minister of Defense, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired), President Buhari commended the Armed Forces for their continued prompt responses to the numerous security challenges facing the country.

READ ALSO: Atiku Endorses Okonjo-Iweala For WTO Job

He was accompanied by Kaduna Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, and other top military officers.

A total of 181 officers drawn from the Nigerian Army, Airforce, Navy, Police, Paramilitary agencies, and 13 allied students from 10 African countries took part in the 49 weeks senior military course which commenced in August 2019.

The officers had passed through several aspects of training in leadership, public security, command, and staff functions to prepare them for the challenges ahead.

NAF Takes Delivery Of Reactivated Aircraft To Boost Insurgency War

 

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has taken delivery of another reactivated aircraft – ATR-42 (NAF 930).

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

He explained that this was in furtherance of NAF’s sustained efforts at providing more serviceable Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms in the war against insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country.

Daramola said the aircraft was received at the flight line of 307 Executive Airlift Group at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.

He noted that the Chief of Policy and Plans, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, took its delivery on behalf of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who is in the North East to oversee the ongoing subsidiary Operation Long Reach II.

“The reactivation of the aircraft, which was successfully executed at the Rheinland Air Services (RAS) Facilities, Monchengladbach, Germany after clocking 5,000 hours of operation, was earlier scheduled to be completed within six months.

“However, due to the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, the completion date was extended by three months,” the statement said.

Daramola stated that NAF has successfully reactivated some of its platforms in-country in the last five years in collaboration with its technical partners, including the conduct of Periodic Depot Maintenance (PDM) on two C-130H aircraft and the PDM/Avionics upgrade of three alpha jets.

He, however, explained that it was considered expedient to conduct the maintenance activity of ATR-42 aircraft (NAF 930) abroad, being the first PDM on it after 10 years of operation.

According to him, this was also necessary to take advantage of the facilities and expertise of RAS and build the capacity of the NAF engineers and technicians that participated in the reactivation process in Germany.

See the photos below:

Buhari Warns Military Against Complacency In Insurgency War

The President Needs To Rejig His Kitchen Cabinet – Oyebode
A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has warned the military against complacency in the task of ensuring that the nation’s territory is no longer habitable for terrorists.

He gave the warning on Thursday when he received Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The President explained that this was necessary to achieve sustainable peace and development in the country, especially in the North East.

According to him, this is also necessary towards ensuring that farming and other socio-economic activities in the region are not disrupted.

President Buhari also directed the military to sustain the ongoing counter-insurgency operations on the fringes of Lake Chad and the North East, so that the Boko Haram menace would be totally eliminated.

He noted with satisfaction the giant strides being recorded by the military in the fight against insurgency but urged them not to relent in the discharge of their mandate.

The President believes the health and well-being of the nation depend largely on its ability to feed itself and agricultural production is key.

He asked Governor Buni to continuously mobilise community support for military operations, saying intelligence sharing and synergy between law enforcement agencies and the civil populace were critical towards achieving the objectives.

On his part, the governor who briefed the President on the security situation in Yobe formally appreciated the Federal Government for the decisive and proactive measures being employed in the renewed onslaught against the Boko Haram terrorists.

He said significant achievements have been recorded by the military in containing the criminal elements who he said were now in disarray following the recent operations by the Chadian military.

100,000 More Soldiers Needed To Fight Insurgency, Says Borno Governor

Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, says 100,000 more troops are needed in the fight against terrorism in the north-east.

 

 

Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State says Nigeria needs additional 100,000 troops for the war against insurgency to be won.

The governor stated this on Wednesday when the House of Representatives Committee on Defence visited him in Maiduguri, the state capital.

“I think there is a need to give the ban on the use of some certain weapons on paramilitary in the north-east for a certain period of time.

“Kindly inform the Speaker as well as the Senate President that they should advise the Federal Government to do massive recruitment of up to 100,000 into the Nigerian Army,” he told the visiting lawmakers.

The governor added, “How? They should come and recruit the locals irrespective of whether they have the western education or not.”

READ ALSO: Reps Ask FG To Recruit More Supreme Court Justices

Zulum recalled that during the civil war, many people were recruited to help the Nigerian troops win, stressing they were later demobilised after the war ended.

He emphasised on the training and retraining of troops deployed in the terrorism war on a regular basis.

The governor sought that half of the troops to be recruited should come from his state.

According to him, there are able-bodied men that have the fitness requirements to be recruited into the Nigerian Army.

“We need to recruit nothing less than 50,000 men from Borno, we have able-bodied men that can join the Nigerian Armed Forces on an ad-hoc basis,” Zulum said.

VIDEO: FG Not Doing Enough To End Insurgency, Says Ndume

 

The lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume, has faulted the Federal Government over the handling of the security situation in the North East.

Ndume who was a guest on Channels Television’s NewsNight on Monday said the current administration is not doing enough to tackling insurgency confronting the region.

“Government is not making any deliberate efforts. This is a war situation; we are at war with criminals in Nigeria now – the bandits, kidnappers, and Boko Haram as the top one.

“Nigeria has to stand up to address that issue and leave any other thing. How can you be talking about infrastructure or development and all that? Is it not when you have peace that you can use all those places,” he said.

READ ALSO: Bayelsa Violence: Police Extend Curfew Until Sunday

Ndume who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army decried the number of personnel of the nation’s Armed Forces Nigeria, describing the situation as “grossly inadequate”.

The lawmaker representing Borno South Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume decries the security situation in the northeast.

He, therefore, asked the Federal Government to look into the welfare of the troops at the theatre of operation in the region.

“There are only 30, 000 in that theatre. It is grossly inadequate. They are not well-equipped, they are not well-kitted, they are not well-funded.

“In Nigeria of 200 million, you only have 150, 000 soldiers with 6,000 officers. Can you say we are serious?” he questioned.

The lawmaker noted that smaller countries neighbouring like the Gambia, Chad have taken up their security issues seriously.

He urged the government to adequately provide the Armed Forces with the needed support, logistics and funding to tackle the several security challenges in the country.