While it is a new dawn for the Taliban in Afghanistan
as the United States and allied forces finally withdrew their troops twenty years after, paving way for the return of the Taliban regime that held sway before the US in 2011, it is a palpable end of the road for the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria as its fighters are surrendering their arms, selves, and families to the state forces, signaling a gradual setting of the sun on its illegitimate quest for the creation Islamic caliphate in Nigeria writes Linus Aleke.
The atrocious quest by Boko Haram and Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) terrorist groups to create a state within a sovereign state has finally kissed the earth as its fighting force had been depleted by the coordinated and continued air and artillery bombardment of their strongholds by Nigerian troops to the point that survivers are cowardly surrounding to the troops in their thousands.
This is even as the Taliban was said to have overrun Kabul the Afghan capital with very minimal casualty owing to the fact that its the United States
trained Army failed or outrightly refused to put up any form of resistance.
This some international affairs’ commentators said was not unconnected with the fact that majority of those recruited into the Afghan Army by the US led forces were sympathetic to the Taliban and certain percentage were Taliban fighters who refused to flee the country during the US invasion of the nation.
This has raised concern with what is happening in Nigeria today. Though the nation’s military has consistently denied the alleged recruitment of repentant Boko Haram into the military, some skeptics said that there is no smoke without fire.
The Taliban has since renamed Afghanistan, “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan”. Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the terrorists are seeking Islamic caliphate and that explains why their target is to overrun communities and local government areas and foist Islamic legal system and hoist their flag.
Regrettably, that desire is crumbling like a pack of card as the renewed air onslaught in their enclaves is compelling them to cowardly surrender their arms to the troops.
Aside the fact that what is happening to the terrorist groups in Nigeria can be likened to the popular aphorism, “A child that says that his mother will not sleep must also keep vigil to actualize such unnatural desire,” the case of Afghanistan is totally different from Nigerian case.
While the Taliban were in-charge of state machinery before the invasion of US forces, the Nigeria scenario is a case of an attempt to squeeze water out of stone. In Afghanistan, it is home coming for the Taliban because they were in government before 2011 invasion that forced them out of power, while the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria never had an of territory before the killing of their founder which midwifed guerrilla warfare in the northeast.
Though some hush voices are saying that the Boko Haram terrorists like cancer has spread across the country under different nomenclature. These hush voices argued that when they attack in the Northeast, they are called terrorists, in the Northwest they are called bandits, in the North Central they are called marauding herders, while in the entire South they are called Fulani herdersmen and kidnappers. But the good news is that the headquarters of terrorism in Nigeria is fast crumbling with the news of the continued cowardly surrendering of the rag-tag fighters and their families.
This is so because if the head is bad, then the whole body would have rotten already. Therefore, the fall of Northeast is a positive indication that the light at the end the tunnel of the fight against terror is bright.
Nonetheless, some elders have continued raise red flag over alleged recruitment of ex-fighters into the military even when it is said not to exist, to avoid the mistake of American government in Afghanistan.
Only recently while highlighting the gains of troops across all theatres of operations, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) disclosed that one thousand (1000) Boko Haram, Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) terrorists and their families laid down their arms and surrendered to the Nigerian troops in the Northeast theatre of operations.
It also disclosed that no fewer than one hundred and fifty six (156) criminal elements including terrorists and bandits were killed within the same period.
Acting Director Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko said this during the Directorate of Defence Media Operations bi-weekly briefing on Armed Forces of Nigeria’s operational activities.
While, disclosing that eight nine (89) livestock were intercepted from cattle rustlers, the Acting Director also revealed that no fewer than thirty three (33) kidnaped victims were rescued by the troops within the period under review.
General Onyeuko said that various kinetic operations were carried out to deny terrorists, armed bandits and other criminal elements freedom of action as well as frustrate movement of arms and other illegal items in all theatres of operations.
He added that several operations were carried out to curb illegal oil activities and deter economic saboteurs freedom of action in carrying out their nefarious activities.
The Acting Director noted that the period which covered 29 July to 12 August 2021, across various theatres, yielded significant results.
He said: “The Headquarters of Operation HADIN KAI has intensified its operations in the North East theatre. The intensity of these operations has yielded tremendous results as evidenced in the number of casualties and massive surrender of terrorists in Buni Yari, Gorgore, Baga and Monguno Towns as well as Maiduguri – Baga Road, Maiduguri – Damboa Road and Bula Yobe – Darel Jamel Road. Operations were also carried out at Kayamri and Mairari villages as well as Monguno and Kukawa Towns, all in Borno State.
“Cumulatively, the operations led to the neutralization of 27 BHT/ISWAP fighters, arrest of 51 BHT/ISWAP terrorists, 3 terrorists’ collaborators as well as recovery of 35 assorted arms and 1,051 round of ammunition including AK-47 and FN rifles, Dushka anti-aircraft guns, GPMG, PKT guns, 60mm mortar tubes, Makarov pistol and other machine guns, amongst other items. In addition, 29 abducted civilians were rescued within the period under review. Gentlemen no fewer than 1,000 terrorists and their families comprising adult females and children surrendered to own troops at different locations in the North East. Notable among them are the notorious BHT bomb expert named, Musa Adamu aka Mala Musa Abuja and his deputy, Usman Adamu aka Abu Darda. This has in no small measure depleted the BHT fighting force.
“On 31 July 2021, there were distress calls from locals, on cattle rustling and kidnapping incidents and armed bandits’ attacks on farmers, at Bagida village in Sokoto State; Shinkafi in Zamfara State and Maigora, Falale and Ungwan Dudu villages as well as Kankara – Katsina Road in Katsina State. In all incidents, troops repelled the criminals, rescued farmers and kidnapped victims as well as recovered arms, ammunition and some livestock, while some criminal elements were arrested. Cumulatively, a total of 89 livestock, 5 AK-47 rifles, 3 rounds of 9mm ball and 48 rounds of 7.62mm NATO ammunition were recovered and 4 kidnap victims rescued. Also, 2 notorious cattle rustlers named, Mallam Buda Umar from Niger Republic and Mai Hatsi Ibrahim from Gada LGA of Sokoto State as well as 4 armed bandits and drug peddlers were arrested.
“Furthermore, between 2 and 6 August 2021, the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI, carried out intensive air strikes on bandits’ hideouts at the South of Dansadau Town; North of Kwiambana Forest Reserves as well as North of Sububu Forest and Dudufi village under Faru District in Maradun LGA, all in Zamfara State. The air strikes resulted in the destruction of bandits’ structures including the residence of one of their leaders, Halilu Tubali, in which the armed bandits converged for a meeting. The air strikes in conjunction with ground troops’ assaults resulted in the neutralization of no fewer than 123 armed bandits and destruction of their logistics facilities in the process”.
General Onyeuko further assured that the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies will continued to remain committed to fight all forms of criminality until sustainable peace is achieved.
While appreciating the enormous sacrifices of the troops in the various theatres of operations across the country, the Military High Command also applauded their courage, service and commitment to the nation.
He concluded that the Armed Force of Nigeria (AFN) also appreciated the public and the press for their support and appealed to them to continue to provide credible and timely information that will facilitate the military’s proactive engagements in all the theatres of operation.
In same vain, the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu in a statement announced that following the recent unprecedented and massive surrendering of Boko Haram Terrorists in Bama Operational area on 2 and 4 August, 2021 respectively, there has been confusion and severe apprehension in the camps of the Islamic State of West Africa Province especially amongst its top ranking commanders over the depleting strength of its members, which has drastically dwindled their overall fighting efficiency.
He posited that it was against this back drop that the terrorists group opted for the use of propaganda via AMAQ Terrorists Media Wing with the aim to portray the group as if it is still a potent force in the North East.
Nwachukwu averred that the current trend of apprehension in their camps was further aggravated by the recent alarming turn out of members of the terrorists group, who came out in droves with their families to lay down their arms and surrender to own troops at Mafa Local Government Area on 14 August, 2021.
“A total of 186 Boko Haram Terrorists members led by their Amir, Manye Aga, comprising 67 adult males, 54 adult females and 65 children surrendered to troops of Operation HADIN KAI at Forward Operational Base (FOB) Ajiri. Items recovered from the surrendered terrorists include, several AK 47 rifles and magazines, a locally made pistol and 8 locally fabricated daggers.
“Similarly, on 15 August, 2021, the Theatre took custody of additional Boko Haram fighters, comprising of 4 adult males, 11 adult females and 18 children from Landanli, Azah, Ngaridua and Kondilla villages, who surrendered to own troops of 151 Task Force Battalion, Banki Junction in Bama. ISWAP is yet to come to terms with the reality of its current predicament, which has posed serious negative impact on its prowess.
“It is also worthy of note that the terrorists are overwhelmed with palpable fear and are making desperate efforts to halt the ongoing surrendering of their fighters from the Tumbus and Sambisa axis”.
He however, assured that the Nigerian Military is more resolute in intensifying both kinetic and non kinetic efforts in the fight against insurgency, banditry and sundry crimes in the country.
In a related development, the Nigerian Army troops of Sector 2 Joint Task Force North East Operation HADIN KAI arrested one Yusuf Saleh, a suspected Boko Haram Urea Fertilizer supplier at Bayamari village in Geidam Local Government Area of Yobe State.
Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Spokesperson of the Nigerian Army in a statement said that
the suspect was nabbed by the vigilant troops following actionable information.
“A total of thirty eight 50 Kg bags of Urea were recovered from the suspect. Urea fertilizer was banned by Government because of its usage in the manufacturing of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) by terrorists. The suspect is currently helping investigators with useful information. Troops of Operation HADIN KAI have been commended for their vigilance and swift response in arresting the suspect. They are also encouraged not to allow any form of distraction from the marauding terrorists, whose ranks have suffered acute manpower depletion as a result of ongoing kinetic and none kinetic operations conducted by troops,” further disclosed.
Assuring Law-abiding people of North-East of the Chief of Army Staff’s determination to finally root out the Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province criminals from their hideouts, General Nwachukwu encouraged
the people to continue to avail the troops with actionable information that will enhance the execution of the ongoing Counter terrorism Counter insurgency operations in the region.
To this end, it is imperative to conclude that while the military basks in the euphoria of the current advantage against the terrorist groups in Nigeria, the advice of the elders and skeptics should be taken seriously to avoid the Afghan episode in years to come, for to be fore warned is to be fore armed. He who has ears let him hear.