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Military Should Change Strategy To Win War Against Boko Haram – IBB |RN

John Adams, Minna

 

As Nigerians prepare to go the polls in less than 30 days, former military President, Ibrahim Babangida, has urged the military to change strategy in order to defeat Boko Haram.

General Babangida also urged the military to ensure it remains apolitical and face its constitutional responsibility of protecting the territorial integrity of the country from external aggressions.

In a statement issued in Minna, capital of Niger State, personally signed by him, yesterday, to mark this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration, he pointed out that “it is pertinent for the top echelons of our military to speedily evolve new combat strategy to bravely confront the callous terrorists who have continued to hold many parts of the North East, and in extension, Nigeria in ransom.

“As we prepare to celebrate this year’s Remembrance Day, we should not be oblivious of the fact that our military is presently faced with horrific challenges in the crucial counterinsurgency war, and activities of other blood-thirsty armed groups.

“To say the least, these ugly circumstances are not only heart-rending, but unacceptable.”

Babangida maintained that it is high time, therefore, “we seek to consolidate our gains and also, fortify our combat strength.

“Every year, our valiant Armed Forces majestically roll out their drums to honour our slain fallen heroes, with streams of organised fascinating events coming to a climax on January 15,” and added that “the 2019 edition is coming at a critical period when the teeming Nigerian electorate will go to the polls next month to elect their new leaders at various levels of government.

“In recent times, elections have tested our unity as a people, while also posing threats to our socicultural diversity and challenging our common destiny.

“I salute the uncommon bravery of our lion-hearted fallen heroes who paid the supreme price in their quest to defend our Fatherland. “Let me also commend our armed forces for their resilience over the years in maintaining peace in Nigeria, United Nations Missions, African Union and regional interventions.

“I urge all Nigerians to support our military at all times.

“While identifying with the officers and men of the Nigerian armed forces on the momentous occasion of this year’s Armed Forces Remembrance Day, I wish all Nigerians happy new year,” Babangida said.  (The Sun)

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Boko Haram: Tearful Shettima Breaks Down, Tells Buhari ‘I am Overwhelmed’ |RN

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The activities of the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, on Monday overwhelmed the Borno State governor, Kashim Shettima, as he broke down in the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa.

Shettima was in the Villa with leaders and elders from Borno State. In his introductory remarks at the meeting, he told President Buhari that they came to present a set of observations and specific requests after an extraordinary security meeting they held a week ago in Borno State. He said the elders had concluded that the state required urgent intervention by the president.

Present on the occasion were the National Security Adviser, Major Gen Babagana Monguno (retd); Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin; acting Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar and the Director General, Department for State Services, Yussuf Bitchi.

Shettima amid tears following the current setback in the fight against insurgency, told Buhari that the leaders had not lost hope in his ability to win the war and restore peace to the state.

Following his surprise outburst of emotion, members of the press were excused from the meeting.

Then Shettima said: “Between 2013 and 2014, we witnessed the most daring and most vicious evil of the Boko Haram, losing 20 local government areas.

“However, we rushed here because of the recent upsurge in the activities of the demented monster called Boko Haram especially in northern Borno senatorial district. We are here because since 2015, Mr President, you were able to restore our hope.

“Sir, you have demonstrated empathy for Borno and an overriding commitment to ending the Boko Haram. This is why we rushed here on witnessing some set back.

“We are here because we thought that Allah will use you to fully reclaim Borno’s traditional glory of being the home of peace. We are here as a people who worked, prayed and waited for your presidency in the firm and under the belief that with you as the Commander In Chief, Boko Haram will become history in Borno.

“Mr. President, we have not, and Insha Allah, we will not lose hope in you because we have witnessed and survived worse moments before you came. We do not feel hopeless.

“Our hopes are very much alive and they are very high.

“We came with some observation and ten requests for urgent presidential (president’s) intervention. These observations and requests are products of discussion in the aftermath of our extra-ordinary security meeting held one week ago.

“We didn’t rush to come after the meeting. We felt the need to travel to northern Borno, interact with displaced persons and the military so as to strengthen public confidence.

“I will seek the understanding of the journalists by not making public any of our observation and ten requests. They are matters of security which we hope to discuss with Mr President in a closed door.”  (The Sun)

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Fresh Attacks: 8 Soldiers 10 Boko Haram Members Killed In Yobe, Borno |RN

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

 

More than 10 soldiers were allegedly killed after the Islamic State West African Province faction of the Boko Haram insurgents attacked army bases in Kangarwa, Malumfatori and Arge areas of Borno State and Buni Gari, Yobe State, between Saturday and Monday.

The attacks started with Buni Gari on Saturday and spread to Malumfatori on Monday.

On Tuesday, our correspondent learnt that  ISWAP fighters were also sighted in Mattari village in the Konduga Local Government Area of Borno State, with fears of impending attacks on military locations in Jakana and Benishek.

In Malumfatori on Monday, our correspondent learnt that there was a fierce gun battle between government forces and the terrorists, who attempted to overrun the military base in the town.

Eight soldiers were allegedly killed when the terrorists attacked Buni Gari after which the terrorists reportedly stole a gun truck and destroyed an armoured vehicle.

The Nigerian Army confirmed that eight of its troops were killed in Buni Gari, noting that over 10 Boko Haram fighters were also killed by troops.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Sani Usman, said, “It is not true that Boko Haram is holding any area. Indeed, eight of our gallant troops paid the supreme price, while over  10  Boko Haram terrorists were killed by the troops during the encounter at Buni Gari.”

A military source confirmed Tuesday’s attacks by Boko Haram, saying the insurgents were believed to be having the upper hand in Kangarwa and Arge.

He said, “ISWAP has claimed responsibility for the attacks on Buni Gari and Arge. They seem to have taken over some communities in the two areas. Also in Mattari village in the Konduga LGA, Boko Haram fighters were seen gathering on Tuesday.

“The location is a few miles to Jakana or Benishek. There are military facilities in both areas.”

Meanwhile,   the number of casualties of the Malumfatori gun battle between the insurgents and troops could not be confirmed by our correspondent as of press time. However, unconfirmed reports said both sides recorded deaths and injuries.

The Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali,  on Monday, directed that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Tukur Buratai,  to remain in the North-East until the security situation in the region improves.

Dan-Ali also said  President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the “emergency procurement of critical equipment” for the armed forces to be more efficient.

“The CDS and the army chief were also mandated to effect changes in the operational commands of Operations Delta Safe, Lafiya Dole, Sharan Daji and Awatse. This is to enable them to meet up with the current threats and security challenges in their areas of responsibility,” the minister’s Public Relations Officer Col Tukur Gusau said.  (Punch)

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Fresh Attack: Boko Haram Attacks Army Base, Kills One |The Republican News

                                  Members of Boko Haram terrorist

Boko Haram militants attacked an army base in northeast Nigeria, killing one soldier, military sources told AFP Friday, a day after regional leaders urged more international support to fight the jihadists.

Fighters with the Islamic State West Africa Province came in trucks fitted with anti-aircraft guns and attacked the base in Arege village near the fishing town of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad.

The base came under attack before dawn, prompting clashes, a military source told AFP.

“The attack was successfully repelled but unfortunately a soldier was killed and seven others were injured,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.

The same base came under attack on Wednesday, but the militants failed to overrun it “and suffered heavy casualties,” a military statement said on Twitter.

The jihadists have in recent months intensified their attacks on military bases in the northeast, with the most audacious taking place on November 18 when military sources said at least 43 soldiers were killed at a base in Metele near the border with Niger.

Troops who survived said over 100 of their colleagues were killed, but after a long period of silence, the military on Wednesday gave an official figure of 23 deaths.

The latest attack came a day after President Muhammadu Buhari went to N’Djamena to meet top leaders from Chad, Niger and Cameroon to discuss how to deal with the surge in violence.

Buhari is under pressure to show his administration is winning the fight against Boko Haram ahead of a presidential election in February at which he will seek a second term in office.

“The heads of state and government… expressed their deep concern with regards to the upsurge of attacks… and expressed the crucial need to change their modus operandi in the fight against Boko Haram,” a joint statement said after the talks.

They also urged the international community “to support their efforts in the fight against terrorism in the region.”

The nine-year conflict has killed 27,000 people and displaced 1.8 million from their homes in Nigeria.

The violence has also spilt over into neighbouring Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

(AFP)

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Scores Killed In Fresh Boko Haram Attack On Army Location |The Republican News

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

Boko Haram terrorists, in what appears to be an unending onslaught on locations of the Nigerian Army, on Wednesday evening attacked the troops’ base in Damasak, Borno State, resulting in a heavy gunfire which lasted for several hours.

The army has confirmed the attack, saying troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak, withstood the insurgents and killed scores of them in the firefight.

The army was, however, silent on the number of casualties sustained on the side of the troops.

Damasak is a town in the Mobbar Local Government Area, some 146 Kilometres from Maiduguri, the state capital.

It will be recalled that the Boko Haram insurgents only last week attacked troops’ location in Gudumbali in the Guzamala LGA and Baga in the Kukawa LGA, resulting in an undisclosed number of casualties on both sides.

The army’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Brig. Gen. Texas Chukwu, on Thursday confirmed that “many Boko Haram terrorists” were killed in the attack on troops’ location in Damasak.

He said, “Troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak engaged the Boko Haram terrorists who came to attack their location at about 6pm on Wednesday. This resulted into a fierce battle.

“The troops engaged and subdued the terrorists in Damasak following a superior firepower. The troops’ aggressive posture, tactics and marksmanship resulted in the neutralising of many Boko Haram terrorists.

“Consequently, the army wishes to state that the fight against Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East part of the country is yielding a positive result.

“We, therefore, advise members of the public, particularly residents of the affected areas, to go about their legitimate businesses as the army will continue to protect lives and property of citizens at all times.”   (Punch)

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Buhari Doesn’t Bother Paying Terrorists To Secure Girls’ Freedom – Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina

 

 

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, says only God can say when abducted Dapchi girl, Leah Sharibu, will be released by Boko Haram.

Adesina said this on Tuesday during a live programme on Channels Television.

He said, “For how much longer? I think that question can only be answered by God but I believe God is interested in that young girl and will ensure that she is preserved and at least by the time that clip is verified, one will be sure that it is her actually and once that is determined, we should all be glad that she is alive. When will she return? By the grace of God, the government is working on it and we believe she will be back.”

The President’s spokesman said Buhari saw nothing wrong in paying terrorists ransom.

He said if need be, he would pay ransom to secure the release of persons in captivity.

Adesina, however, faulted a report by the United Nations that some money was paid for the release of some Dapchi girls, insisting that the organisation got its facts wrong.

He added, “One thing we should always remember as Nigerians is that early in the life of the administration, the President had said on the Chibok girls before the Dapchi incident happened that whatever it took to rescue them, he would do, including paying. He is on record to have said that.

“It baffles me each time that controversy comes up. I remember the President said in 2015 that we would get these girls back even if it meant paying. So, if a President of the country has made that declaration, what then is the fuss?

“Payments are made all over the world even though countries may never admit.”

When asked how long it would take for security agencies to verify the authenticity of the audio clip released on Monday in which Sharibu was heard pleading for her rescue, Adesina said he could not say but it should not take long.

“It is within the purview of the Department of State Services to do that but it should not take long Left to the President, he wants her back today,” he added.

On whether the Presidency was keeping in touch with the family of the abducted girl, Adesina argued that it was not the responsibility of the President.

He maintained that it ought to be the job of the local government chairman or the state government under whose jurisdiction the abduction took place.

The President’s spokesman also said it was the duty of Non-Governmental Organisations to provide succour to the families of abducted persons but sadly many of them preferred to politicise matters and engage in protests.

Adesina added, “I expect the Yobe State Government to be in touch with the family to grant her some succour. It is not purely a Presidency matter. In Nigeria,  people expect the Presidency to do everything. The local government and state government should be in touch with the family.

“That is why you have NGOs. They should do this instead of engaging in agitations and politicising the matter. Those NGOs and agencies and organisations can also do something for the families.”

Asked to speak on the alleged forgery of a National Youth Service Corps exemption certificate by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, the President’s spokesman said the NYSC should be given ample time to conduct a proper investigation.

“It is not how long but how well,” he said when asked why the investigation was taking long.

Asked if the Presidency shared the view of the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), that Adeosun could hold a government position without undergoing the mandatory NYSC exercise,  Adesina responded in the negative.

He said Sagay expressed a personal opinion.

The President’s spokesman, however, said Sagay’s input was not needed in this case as the matter did not border on corruption.

Adesina added, “It is his personal opinion. It was a personal comment. It is not the position of the government and Prof. Sagay has a right to his opinion.

“It will not be Prof. Sagay’s position to advise on that matter because it is not a corruption matter so to speak.”

In her reaction, however, a former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, berated Adesina for smiling while speaking on the abduction of Sharibu and for also failing to give precise answers.

Ezekwesili, who is the Co-Convener of the Bring Back Our Girls group, said this in a series of tweets on her official Twitter handle.

“Who else listened to the President’s media aide Femi Adesina, find anything worthy to laugh about while speaking about abducted children and their parents?

“A spokesperson that never has facts on hot-button issues — ‘I believe’, “I expect’, ‘some agency not presidency’. Na REAL wa (sic).”  (Punch)

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Boko Haram Insurgents Attack Military Base In Borno, Kill 17 |RN

At least 17 soldiers were killed in a fresh Boko Haram attack on a military base in the Borno, military sources told AFP Thursday, the third assault on three different bases in less than a month.

On Wednesday evening, heavily armed jihadists riding in trucks stormed and looted weapons and vehicles from a military base in Garunda village in Borno State, the epicentre of the Islamist insurgency that has been raging for nine years.

The attack is the latest of a series of bloody Boko Haram assaults on military bases in Nigeria, underscoring the continued threat the Islamists pose to the region and putting the spotlight on the Nigerian government’s claim that Boko Haram is “decimated”.

“Our troops came under attack from Boko Haram terrorists in Garunda last night,” a military officer told AFP.

“Unfortunately we lost 17 troops, 14 others were injured while an unspecified number is still unaccounted for,” said the military source, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorised to speak on the incident.

The source added that the militants looted weapons and vehicles before fleeing.

In the past month, Boko Haram jihadists have launched two other major assaults on military bases in the remote northeast region.

On July 14, jihadists suspected to be loyal to Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, who is affiliated with the Islamic State group, attacked a base in Jilli village, in neighbouring Yobe state.

Dozens of troops were killed, wounded or missing, according to several security sources.

The army conceded the base was attacked but did not give a death toll, saying that the “troops reorganised and successfully repelled the attack and normalcy has since returned to the area”.

On July 26, the Islamists stormed a base on the outskirts of Maiduguri, the state capital of Borno state.

The base attacked yesterday in Garunda village of Borno state had just been set up for troops from the 81 brigade who had been stationed in Jilli village and forced to move after the July 14 assault.

“The truth of the matter is that the troops in Jilli were relocated to Garunda where a new base was established,” said the second military source, who gave a similar death toll.

“Troops were just setting up and the excavator operator was working to fortify the base with trenches against attack from the terrorists when the attack happened,” said the officer.

The Nigerian army did not respond to requests for comment.

Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Thursday confirmed in a statement that a staff member, an excavator operator attached to the military, “was killed by Boko Haram yesterday in Damasak, Borno state”.

Boko Haram no longer controls swathes of territory in northeast Nigeria as it did at the height of its insurgency in 2014, yet the Islamist militants still pose a threat to the impoverished region.               (AFP)

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