Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has attributed the re-appearance of high profile attacks in Nigeria’s Northeast to the support that the Boko Haram terrorists get from some individuals.
The Army Chief emphasized an urgent need for a renewed local and international support to end terrorism in the country and globally.
He made the remarks at the sideline of a meeting with a security delegation from the Atlantic Council, African Centre in the United States of America.
“We have some elements who are within this society and are still supporting them clandestinely.
“So the support of every Nigerian is very key to the end of this terrorism,” he stated.
General Buratai noted that the role of the Nigerian Army in prosecuting the counter-terrorism crusade in the northeast has been misinterpreted by some people.
“There have been many misgivings on the role of the Nigerian Army as it relates to human rights abuses, rules of engagement (as well as) treatment of civilians and Internally Displaced Persons.
“Hence, the need to conduct an assessment on the threats of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria with emphasis on roles of (the) Nigeria Army has become imperative,” he said.
On his part, the leader of the security delegation, John Peter-Pham, emphasised the need to cut terrorists financing.
“As an American and as an analyst, I believe that there are few fights currently going on in the world today and that is important not only to Nigeria, but to its neighbours in the international community as the repression of terrorist financing which has not only caused untold human suffering but also, its a setback for regional integration and economic growth.”
The meeting, which took place on Monday at the Army Resource Centre in Abuja, was convened to assess the threats of Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Prior to the meeting, Buratai had gone on an inspection tour on the quarter guard at the centre.
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.
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”.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, has dismissed media reports that some communities were being recaptured by members of the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria’s northeast.
Speaking shortly after a visit to the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, in Abeokuta, the state’s capital on Thursday, General Buratai noted that the Army is in full control of affairs in the areas.
He promised to maintain the tempo of victory being recorded in the north eastern states being ravaged by the insurgency.
The Army Chief asked Nigerians to be more security conscious and continue to cooperate with the security agencies in the onerous task of protecting the territorial integrity of the country.
Addressing his guest and his entourage, Governor Amosun commended the Army and other security agencies for restoring hope to the disturbed northeast.
The courtesy call was part of the visit of the Chief of Army Staff to military units and formations in Ogun State.
His visit is expected to boost the morale of officers and other rankings of the Nigerian Army towards professionalism and patriotism.
The Nigerian Senate has asked Service Chiefs to ensure that territories seized by the Boko Haram terrorist group are recaptured before the 2015 general elections.
At a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Kenneth Minimah, on Thursday, the Senate Committee on Defence and Army expressed worries that elections may not hold in the troubled north eastern states in 2015 because of terrorist activities in the states.
The chairman of the committee, Senator George Sekibo, said elections would hold in the three troubled north eastern states if the army recaptured all the territories seized by Boko Haram and if there was peace in the areas.
The committee invited Lieutenant General Minimah, to discuss the increasing insurgency in the north-eastern states – Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.
Having A Field Day
Briefing the Army Chief before the meeting, Senator Sekibo bemoaned the increasing spate of attacks in the north-east, saying; “while politicians are busy scheming for the 2015 elections, insurgents are on the other hand having a field day, especially in the north-east”.
He informed the COAS that Nigerians were getting impatient and irritated not only with the military but also with the government and those who represent them at various levels.
Senator Sekibo said: “I believe that we are trying our best, but is our best the best we can offer? What is happening is becoming increasingly difficult to explain to Nigerians. We want to be told what is happening. The insurgents are having a field day.
“We are aware that the government is releasing your funds to you because you have not complained. We also approved $1billion for the President to purchase arms and ammunitions to fight Boko Haram. We are aware that your budget is being released to you. If you have difficulties you should tell us.
“The spate of insurgency, the way and manner the insurgents are taking areas, is getting worrisome. We want to know what is happening. We also want to know the issue of the reported ceasefire. We want to know whether there was actually any ceasefire.
“We want to know whether there was a dialogue, the stage of the dialogue if any because few days after the announcement of the ceasefire, the insurgents struck and have continued to strike.
“We want to know where we are. We are approaching election year. Are we going to conduct elections in the north-east under the dire security challenge? These are our concerns and the concerns of Nigerians”.
Military To Recapture Seized Areas
After he made the background statements, he asked Minimah to respond to the issues he highlighted. The Army Chief took a measured breath and said: “I came to interface with the Senate Committee on Defence, can the press leave us”.
The statement changed the course of the meeting, as the Army Chief emphasised that operational matters were never discussed on the pages of the newspapers.
A member of the Committee, Senator Babafemi Ojudu, insisted that the press should be present at the meeting, as it was seen as an important stakeholder in the fight against insurgency.
But Lieutenant General Minimah insisted that the press must leave.
The discussion lasted for over two hours and briefing reporters after the meeting, the COAS told the media that the military would do its best to recapture the areas that had been seized by the Boko Haram militants.
This week alone, dozens of children were killed at the Government Technical Science College in Potiskum, Yobe State and just two days later, a female suicide bomber blew herself up at the Federal College of Education Kontagora Niger State.
Although the Chief of Army Staff assured Nigerians that the military would reclaim the areas taken over by Boko Haram, there are still critical questions that require answers; like how do the terrorists bring weapons into the country? Does the Nigerian army have enough troops and ammunition to confront the terrorists and whatever happened to the alleged ceasefire agreement?