Agency Report Says Nigerian Military Reclaims Bama From Boko Haram

Troops of 7 Division Nigerian Army advancing for the operationThe Reuters News Agency is today reporting a senior military official as saying that the flashpoint town of Bama in north-east Borno State has been recaptured from Boko Haram.

The Nigerian military is also reported to have blocked the Islamist militants’ advance towards the state capital, Maiduguri.

Government forces are also reported to be repelling an advance into neighbouring Adamawa State by the militant group, which has recently departed from its usual hit-and-run tactics and started to seize towns and territory.

According to Reuters, the government source, who asked not to be named, says Boko Haram fighters had been driven from Bama, 70 km south-east of Maiduguri. The source also said that Government warplanes have bombed and strafed the militants after they stormed Bama last week.

“Bama has been recaptured by the soldiers and I can confirm to you Maiduguri is safe,” the official is quoted to have told Reuters.

Nigeria’s military had deployed reinforcements to Adamawa State to confront this threat, and was setting up roadblocks and positions around Mubi to prevent the militants from advancing further south, says the government official.

Bama Residents In Fear As Army Repel Boko Haram Invasion

Boko HaramThe Nigerian troops have repelled an attempt by Boko Haram insurgents to invade Bama, the second largest city in Borno State.

Eyewitness reports says that the insurgents tried to gain an inroad into the city last night, which led to an all night fight which ended in the early hours of Monday.

The insurgents were reported to have arrived Bama firing mortars, Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPGs) and hurling grenades into the city.

A resident of the town, who anonymously spoke to Channels Television said “in Bama this morning, there was a serious attack by the insurgents; they laid siege on the military base wanting to sack them but we thank God that didn’t happen because the military were up to the task and they repelled them.

“But for now, I know so many people have been injured and killed whose number we cannot ascertain now and some military men had to move back to Maiduguri because they were expecting attacks in some parts of Maiduguri and Gamboru-Ngala.

“So many soldiers too were injured. But young Nigerians, particularly the Civilian JTF were up to resist any entrance of vehicles or persons into Maiduguri from Bama axis”, he said, adding that “people are under panic in Maiduguri and Bama; people are living under fear.

Army Imposes Dusk To Dawn Curfew

Meanwhile, the 7th divisional headquaters of the Nigerian Army has imposed a curfew in Maiduguri, capital of Borno state.

Bama is about 76 kilometres drive and south east of Maiduguri, the state capital which had witnessed series of deadly attacks by suspected terrorists.

According to army authorities, the curfew is from 7pm to 6 am and is to remain until further notice.

This action, the army said, is to forestall a plot by Boko Haram militants to attack Maiduguri.

The Nigerian Army is currently battling Boko Haram insurgents in Bama, some 40 kilometers away from Maiduguri.

Boko Haram Caliphate: We Have An Army That Is More Physical Than Mental – Aliyu

Boko HaramSecurity Expert, Captain Umar Aliyu (Rtd), believes that the Military may be right to say that Nigeria’s territorial integrity was still intact but believes that there were indicators that it is threatened.

This is in reaction to the Nigerian Army’s response to a 52-minute video purportedly released by the Boko Haram sect, declaring an Islamic caliphate in Gwoza, Borno State.

Speaking on the Monday edition of Channels Television’s breakfast programme, ‘Sunrise Daily’, Aliyu noted that there were both technical and fundamental indicators on ground that shows that the Nigerian Military had challenges handling the security situation.

He said that the goings on in the Army in recent times have shown that the sect must have been emboldened to take the step they took, making reference to issues like soldiers’ alleged mutiny, protests by soldiers’ wives, as well as complaints of lack of motivation and equipment to match the terrorists.

From my side of the table as an observer I think time will confer or un-confer the truth of that statement or that position. But if we want to play it safe, I will want to assume that given the indicators that the adversaries have gleaned off, the goings in the Army in the last six to nine weeks, its not unlikely that they’ve been emboldened to take that step and make that declaration whether for truth or for fallacy.”

He added that Nigeria has not been focused about the State of Emergency it declared in the states affected by insurgency, as “somebody should be in charge” but this hasn’t been so.

He stated particularly that the issues within the Army had become one that needed to be addressed at a time when the soldiers were still complaining to their authorities. He warned that a situation where they stop complaining would make the situation worse.

Sophisticated weapons were on display in the video released by the sect and there have been questions about the possibility of military equipment being among those used by the Boko Haram sect. Aliyu said that the sect could have looted the military facilities they have attacked in the past.

He, however, also revealed there are black markets for arms all over the West African region and the sect could have acquired them or looted different locations to get the sophisticated weapons on display in their latest video.

We have an Army that is more physical than mental” Aliyu said, adding that the insurgency in the country was an opportunity for Nigeria to improve on its military tactics but unfortunately the Army was still doing things the old way.Boko Haram

We are just doing, we are not thinking”, he said.

He wondered why questions were not being asked about the reason why the sect was bent on taking over Gwoza. He recalled that the sect had successfully eliminated the Emir of Gwoza and activities that followed showed that there had been a plan.

“From the account of the average man who lives there (Gwoza) the presence of the insurgents is louder than that of the military troops” Aliyu said this based on his personal research on the web, checking the social media spaces of persons who are residents of Gwoza.

Military Capacity

The military capacity to carry out thorough investigation also came to the fore, and Capt. Aliyu maintained that the reason why the Nigerian Army seemed incapable of this was that the personnel lacked the enabling environment to replicate some of the laudable performances they record when on international duties and trainings.

We tend to look at the physical soldier, what about the psychological soldier?” Aliyu asked.

The zombies Fela sang about is long extinct, today’s soldiers are people of these times, not Fela’s times when he sang Zombie.

The Army is a community with its own values and culture and its also a subset of the larger Nigerian community.

When you go recruiting to bring in soldiers, you are going to bring the majority of your recruits from the Nigerian youths who share the same social, mental fads. You’ll be getting the ‘Dorobuchi’ generation and the ‘Skelewu’ guys to come and become soldiers.

Now, you cannot just get a soldier to follow you to battle just because you said so, he has to believe in you.”

He stressed that the Army needs to “step out of the stereotype” and do things differently.

He also said that there was need to develop a culture whereby monies spent on the military are accounted for. While admitting that this does not mean that details of all military procurements should be made public, he insisted that they should be bench marked and taken responsibility for, as regards what has been achieved with them.

While maintaining his earlier stance, aligning with the military statement that the Boko Haram claims could be untrue, he said that he expects to see a robust military action which would indicate that things were not being taken for granted.

Capt. Aliyu believes that the alleged take-over of Gwoza, which is a border town, means that Cameroon would also have started giving focus to their side of the region too.

He, however, also stated that this was not a totally military issue, but an opportunity for the Customs, Civil Defence Corps and other agencies to upgrade their operations to be able to address the situation.

He referred to the setting up of the Civilian JTF as one that would make him cry, as it only indicates the inability of the Nigerian military to handle the security challenges in the country.