Five Soldiers Killed In Boko Haram Ambush

Five soldiers have been killed in a Boko Haram ambush in Borno State.

The incident occurred in Gwoza Local Government Area on Thursday, a statement by the army said.

The troops, of 271 Task Force Battalion had run into the ambush while on a clearance operation along Pridang-Bitta in Gwoza Local Government Area, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, said in a statement.

“The troops ran into Improvised Explosive Device (IED) buried along Pridang-Bitta road by Boko Haram Terrorists before encountering the ambush,” the statement read in part.

“In the firefight that ensued, the gallant troops fought through the ambush, they neutralised several Boko Haram Terrorists, while others fled with gunshot wounds.

“Sadly, five military personnel paid the supreme price as a result of the Improvised Explosive Device attack.”

The remains of the deceased personnel have been promptly evacuated to 7 Division Medical Services and Hospital.

Nigeria’s Difficult Path To Long Lasting Peace With Boko Haram By Lai Mohammed

“What will make you a soldier of Allah”, declared Mohammed Yusuf, is “a disavowal of every form of unbelief”. Among the founder of Boko Haram’s heresies stood democracy and the Constitution. It was 2009. The agitation for an Islamic state in the northeast of Nigeria had begun.

Then, the prospect seemed implausible. Yet by the time President Muhammadu Buhari was inaugurated in 2015, the group occupied an area three times the size of Lebanon.

Today, an “Islamic state” once again seems remote: Boko Haram, and by extension, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has been routed from the 24 local areas in Nigeria they used to administer. Bolstered by international assistance, the Nigerian army has led this regional fight against terrorism. But in pursuit of a final peace, the government – whom I serve as minister of information and chief spokesperson – shall also look beyond military measures.

An army presence in civilian communities cannot be a long-term solution. It would be an indirect win for terrorists, whose sustenance flows from others’ fear. Instead, normality shall be reclaimed in demilitarised villages, towns and cities, with citizens going about their daily lives free from apprehension.

This is not to discredit the achievements of the army, but to recognise its domain in a democratic society. For without security, there can be little guarantee of justice, human rights and the pursuit of happiness. A professional and responsive military are their essential lynchpin.

As US President Donald Trump stated – standing side by side with President Buhari in the White House Rose Garden on April 30 – Nigeria has been the critical force in Boko Haram’s decline in West Africa. For our part, the government profoundly appreciates American assistance, not only in terms of training and military equipment, but also in the humanitarian crisis the insurgency has caused.

In finding courage to press forward, we must remember from where we have come. Under Boko Haram, the infamous black flag of religious totalitarianism flew; schools were shut down or “reformed” to suit the terrorists’ purposes; roads were impassable due to the threat of capture or death.

Now the imprint of occupation is being washed away. Boko Haram has been degraded and life has returned to Maiduguri (the region’s capital). Schools have reopened. Bars and nightclubs resound with chatter and music. And the local premier league team can once again play matches in their home stadium. These are achievements on which we must now build.

And with these gains, the government has a chance to overturn the economic marginalisation that gave Boko Haram an audience. Only last month, the administration and a General Electric-led consortium signed an agreement to begin revamping Nigeria’s dilapidated rail network – of which Maiduguri to Port Harcourt forms one of its two main lines. This shall bring jobs and opportunity to the region, increase trade between the north and south, and ensure the bounty of the nation is shared by all. No longer shall the vulnerable be seduced by false solutions to their hardship.

At the same time, all channels remain open to end the final remnants of violence. The administration holds out its hand for negotiations with Boko Haram. Even amnesty for rebel fighters, if certain conditions are met, must remain a possibility.

Already, former insurgents who have voluntary surrendered, and deemed not a threat, have been rehabilitated and reintroduced into society. Indeed, some will be guilty of crimes. But Nigeria remains a place where a second chance is granted to those who cast out the poison of their indoctrination. The government is giving these Boko Haram members a way out.

That this may be morally repugnant to some is understandable. Barbarism is difficult to encounter and allow to walk free. Sometimes, though, the past must kneel before the future. From the IRA in Ireland to FARC in Columbia, this is what conflict resolution around the globe has taught us. We cannot change what has happened, only what is yet to come.

Present-day Borno state, the former heart of the insurgency, speaks to this purpose. Despite Boko Haram no longer controlling any local government areas, isolated attacks still occur. Fighters emerge from hideouts deep in the forest of Lake Chad to strike. Innocent Muslims, Christians and schoolchildren are often the targets of these acts of cowardice and desperation. Liberation of territory and degradation of the enemy is not enough. We must stop every incident.

However, nowhere in the world can these types of attacks be indefinitely prevented, unless the group in question surrender. Terror can strike anywhere. Sadly, the streets of London, Paris and New York, nations whose security capacities outstrip that of my nation, bear testimony to this truth. In Nigeria, we remain vigilant to intercept and prevent these assaults. But a final guarantor of peace will be Boko Haram’s formal renunciation of violence in both speech and deed.

The road ahead is long. However, the seeds of peace are being planted on which justice, freedom and prosperity can grow. Options must remain open to bring a total cessation of hostilities. For only then can the things we hold dear in life flourish.

1,000 Hostages Rescued From Boko Haram

The Nigerian Army spokesman Texas Chukwu has revealed that at least 1,000 hostages being held by the Boko Haram insurgents at Malamkari, Amchaka, Walasa and Gora villages of Bama Local Government Area of Borno State have been rescued.

Chukwu while speaking in Abuja said troops of 22 Brigade deployed in operation LAFIYA DOLE rescued over 1,000 hostages from the Boko Haram terrorists enclave.

”The operation which was conducted in conjunction with allies of Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), rescued the hostages from Malamkari, Amchaka, Walasa and Gora villages of Bama Local Government Area oThe hostages.

”The hostages consisted mainly of women, children as well as some young men who were forced to become Boko Haram fighters.

Speaking with one of the rescued victims, Alhaji Gambo Gulumba from Amchaka village, thanked the Nigerian military for showing them love and care.

”The Nigerian Army wishes to remind the public of its resolve to rout out Boko Haram and rescued all hostages.

”The public is also advised to report any suspicious character to the appropriate authority for prompt action.

The rescued persons are being attended to in a military medical facility.

Nine Killed, Two Police Officers Injured In Borno Boko Haram Attack

Nine persons have been killed with two police officers injured in the Boko Haram attack on Jiddari Polo area of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Troops of the Nigerian Army had on Thursday said they repelled an attack by Boko Haram terrorists in Maiduguri after the insurgents made their way through a cashew plantation to the Jiddari Polo area of the state capital before launching the attack around 6:00 p.m.

Officials of National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) however confirmed to newsmen on Friday that nine people were killed in the attack.

NEMA North East coordinator, Bashir Garga, disclosed the figure after the agency conducted evacuation on the scene of the attack.

Five of the bodies recovered was that of suicide bombers while the four others are residents who fell victims of the attack. One of the victims was killed in the mosque while another reportedly died of shock.

The police, also in a statement on Friday said two police officers were injured in the attack. The police in the statement which was signed by the spokesperson, Damian Chukwu aid the terrorists shot sporadically at security agents and also detonated IEDs.

“The terrorist gunfire sporadically and detonating IEDs. We promptly deployed SARS/PMF/EOD to assist DPO and Army at the scene. Were repelled after the fierce gun battle with profuse tear smoke applicant.

“Two of our SARS personnel were injured in the battle,” the police statement read in part.

Several others victims injured are still in the hospital with bodies evacuated to Specialist Hospital and the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital,

U.S To Deliver 12 Fighter Jets To Nigeria

The United States has promised to deliver 12 Super Tucano fighter jets and other weapons it agreed to sell to Nigeria to combat Boko Haram insurgents and other extremist groups by 2020.

This was disclosed by a senior U.S. Department of State official during a background briefing with selected journalists at the U.S. Consul General’s Residence on Sunday in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The official, who confirmed that the Nigerian government had paid for the war planes, said sale of the aircraft with weapons and services worth over 400 million dollars included bombs and rockets.

The propeller-driven plane with reconnaissance, surveillance and attack capabilities is made by Brazil’s Embraer.

Embraer’s second production line is in Florida in a partnership between Embraer and privately held Sierra Nevada Corp of Sparks, Nevada.

The Super Tucano is said to cost more than 10 million dollars each and the price could go much higher depending on the configuration. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT 6 engine.

On the planned visit by President Muhammadu Buhari to the White House on April 30, the official said the Nigerian leader would be the first African president to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We are excited about the planned visit by President Buhari as the first African leader to be engaged by President Donald Trump at the White House.

“The most important is that it is in Washington. It will be a very high level meeting; it will help the U.S. to also understand Nigeria’s projection.

“There will be independent conversation on security, governance, the Lake Chad Basin and Nigeria’s role as a democratic leader in the region,’’ the U.S. government official said.

Commenting on Nigeria’s 2019 general elections, the official said: “U.S. will remain non-partisan as it had the commitment to continue to support Nigeria’s elections.

“Will continue to help Nigeria’s security agencies to build capacity, not only in Nigeria but other countries in Africa,’’ the senior U.S Department of State official said.

On the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the official noted that the electoral umpire had benefited from the U.S. in several ways in ensuring level playing field for all interested parties.

The official, however, tasked the Nigerian media to be professional in their reportage as the 2019 elections get close.

“The media should be able to inform the public on the processes leading to the election proper; you need to educate the public on the importance of Permanent Voter Card (PVC), and this should not be left to INEC alone to handle.

“The media should allow transparency in their relationship with politicians and in carrying out their responsibilities,’’ he added.

 

Nigerian Army Launches Operation To “Totally Destroy Boko Haram”

The Nigerian Army has announced the launch of a new operation to totally destroy the terror group, Boko Haram.

According to a statement by David Ahmadu, the Chief of Training and Operations, the new operation‎ will last four months.

“Operation LAST HOLD is expected to last for 4 months and it will entail deployment of 6 additional manoeuvre brigades and other critical assets in Borno State‎,” Mr Ahmadu, a major general, said.

Over 100,000 people are believed to have died from the Boko Haram insurgency since 2009, majority of them in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.

The military and the federal government have ‎in the past announced that the insurgents have been “technically defeated.”

However, the terror group, which has since split into factions, is still able to carry out attacks on civilian and military targets.

Mr Chukwu, however, says the new operation will “ensure the destruction of Boko Haram Terrorist camps and strong points in the Lake Chad Basin.”

“The operation will also facilitate the rescue of hostages,” he said.

Read his full statement below.

You may recall that the Nigerian Army has been engaged in the conduct of counter insurgency operation tagged Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the North East region for some years with considerable successes. However, the complex and adaptive nature of the Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in the dissident group still sometimes being engaged in abductions, attack on soft targets, Improvised Explosive Device attacks and suicide bombings.

2. It has become expedient for the Nigerian Army to change operating tactics, techniques and procedure in the North East region. Accordingly, the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) 2018 will be commemorated with the conduct of an operation tagged Operation LAST HOLD in Northern Borno within the North East Theatre. The design is to deploy personnel and equipment to showcase the combat efficiency of the NA and thereafter conduct operations to totally destroy Boko Haram locations in the Lake Chad Basin.

3. Operation LAST HOLD is expected to last for 4 months and it will entail deployment of 6 additional manoeuvre brigades and other critical assets in Borno State. The operation is intended to facilitate the clearance of the Lake Chad waterways of sea weeds and other obstacles obstructing the movement of boats and people across the water channels. It will also ensure the destruction of Boko Haram Terrorist camps and strong points in the Lake Chad Basin. The operation will also facilitate the rescue of hostages. The operational end-state of Operation LAST HOLD is the total defeat of the Boko Haram Terrorist Sect. Strategically, the conduct of Operation LAST HOLD will facilitate the restoration of fishing, farming and other economic activities in the Lake Chad Basin. Additionally, it will facilitate the relocation of Internally Displaced Persons from IDP camps to their communities.

4. Operation LAST HOLD is conceptualised to involve the conduct of population influence activities targeted to improve Civil-Military relations in the North East region. It is pertinent to note that Operation LAST HOLD is set to record remarkable achievements that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security. In this regard, law abiding members of the public in Northern Borno State are enjoined not to panic as their safety and well-being have been deliberately factored in the operation. The general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected insurgents may be fleeing from military operations in the North East and finding safe haven amidst our communities. The public is also reminded to report any suspicious activity or movement to the nearest military formation or other security agencies for prompt action.

5. Gentlemen of the press, you have always been our partners in progress; hence we are using this opportunity to request you to give this operation widest publicity in your respective media. On this note, on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army, I thank you all for honouring our invitation. I will now take questions from you and clarify doubts if any.

Major General David D AHMADU
Chief of Training and Operations (Army)

Troops Successfully Repel Attack By Bandits In Taraba

Troops of 101 Special Forces Battalion deployed in Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 while on patrol to Zamban village in Suntai Local Government Area of Taraba state successfully repelled an attack by armed Fulani bandits.

Director Army Public Relations Brigadier General Texas Chukwu disclosed this to the media on Thursday.

He said one of the bandits was captured during the encounter. Items recovered from the criminals include One AK 47 Rifle, One Pump Action Rifle, Three Dane Guns, One Round of 7.62mm Special, 36 Cartridges, Three Cutlasses, One Jack Knife, One Mobile Phone among others.

“The captured bandit is presently undergoing interrogation. The public is once again reminded to report any suspicious movements in their areas to the security agency for prompt action.” He added.

Chibok Girls: Four Years, 119 Still Kept in Abduction

Today (Saturday) marked four years since Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok, with renewed calls for their release and that of thousands of others seized in the bloody conflict.

A total of 219 girls were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town in Borno state on the evening of April 14, 2014 and have become an enduring symbol of the Islamist insurgency.

Four years on, 112 are still being held.

On Friday night, about 100 people attended a vigil in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, under a busy flyover whose pillars are now adorned with brightly painted murals of the missing girls.

“We are here to show (the) government that we are still missing our sisters,” Zakaria Galang, a brother of one of the students who is yet to return, told AFP.

Further events are planned in the capital, Abuja, on Saturday.

Nigeria’s president in 2014, Goodluck Jonathan, was heavily criticised for his response to the abduction but the man who replaced him, Muhammadu Buhari, has had more success.

Since 2016, 107 girls have been found, released or escaped as part of a government deal with Boko Haram and the administration has said back-channel talks are ongoing for further releases and a possible end to the wider conflict.

Another activist, Habiba Balogun, said she hoped that would happen after nearly nine years of violence that has left at least 20,000 dead and made more than 2.6 million homeless.

“The government has said that they are ready to negotiate; they want to bring this nightmare to an end,” she said.

Buhari pledged to the Chibok girls’ parents that their daughters “will never be forgotten or abandoned to their fate” despite the time that had passed.

The former military ruler has repeatedly claimed Boko Haram was virtually defeated but while there have been clear army gains, security threats remain.

In February, fighters loyal to a Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi seized 112 schoolgirls and one boy from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state.

One hundred and seven were returned in mid-March. Five reportedly died, while one girl — the only Christian in the group — is still being held.

Buhari said the return of so many students from Dapchi and Chibok “should give confidence that all hope is not lost” and showed the government was “doing its very best”.

There had been “unexpected setbacks” in talks because of infighting within Boko Haram.

But he added: “We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. Don’t give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again.”

Boko Haram has used kidnapping as a weapon of war during the conflict, seizing women and girls to act as sex slaves or suicide bombers, and men and boys to fight.

UNICEF said this week more than 1,000 children had been verified as abducted in northeast Nigeria since 2013, although the real figure is estimated to be much higher.

Amnesty International’s Nigeria director, Osai Ojigho, said the Chibok abduction was a small part of a bigger issue.

The government needed to deliver “meaningful action on behalf of all these victims of Boko Haram’s crimes”.

“Far more support must also be provided for past victims,” she said, proposing a register for abducted people.

The International Crisis Group meanwhile said the copycat abduction in Dapchi showed more needed to be done to protect schoolchildren in the restive region.

“The abductions illustrate that Boko Haram remains a menace to swathes of northeast Nigeria,” it added in a report published on Thursday.

“They throw into doubt the government’s claim to have defeated the movement; instead, insurgents may be newly emboldened to keep fighting.

“The kidnappings cast a pall over education, particularly of girls, and thus the prospects for socio-economic development of the region.”

Boko Haram Has Abducted Over 1,000 Children In Nigeria Since 2013 – UNICEF

As Nigeria prepares to mark the fourth anniversary of the Chibok kidnapping, UNICEF reported on Friday that over 1,000 children have been abducted by the insurgents since 2013.

“Since 2013, more than 1,000 children have been abducted by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, including 276 girls taken from their secondary school in the town of Chibok in 2014,” said UNICEF in a statement.

“These repeated attacks against children in schools are unconscionable,” Mohamed Malick Fall, a UNICEF representative in Nigeria.

Boko Haram’s fight to establish a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria has claimed at least 20,000 lives and displaced more than two million people.

Schools, particularly those with a secular curriculum, have been targeted by Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates from Hausa — the language spoken widely across northern Nigeria — as “Western education is forbidden”.

At least 2,295 teachers have been killed and more than 1,400 schools destroyed by the insurgents since the conflict started in 2009, according to UNICEF.

While a 2015 offensive launched by President Muhammadu Buhari successfully reclaimed swathes of territory back from the jihadists in Nigeria, the group still stages deadly attacks on both military targets and civilians.

In February, the Boko Haram terrorists shocked Nigerians by driving unopposed into Dapchi, Yobe State and kidnapping over 100 schoolgirls.

The response from the authorities — denials then contradictions — was eerily similar to the confusion when the Chibok girls were kidnapped.

Most of the girls have since been returned, but the brazen abduction revived painful memories of the Chibok kidnapping in 2014.

Of the 276 girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from the northeastern town of Chibok on April 14, 2014, over 100 are still missing.

Abubakar Shekau, the mercurial Boko Haram leader responsible for using girls as suicide bombers, has claimed in videos that the girls have converted to Islam and have been “married off”.

For those following Boko Haram, the Dapchi kidnapping wasn’t entirely a surprise.

Over the past year, the jihadists have ramped up attacks, killing soldiers, kidnapping government workers and terrorising the northeastern city of Maiduguri with relentless suicide bombings.

Under pressure to live up to his election promise of beating Boko Haram, this month Buhari reiterated his support for the release of $1 billion in emergency funds to fight the Islamists.

Buhari’s government has recovered scores of the girls. But the negotiations with the jihadists — which reportedly involved ransom payments and the release of high-ranking commanders — rankled critics who questioned the wisdom of funding and rejuvenating the ranks of the extremists.

AFP

 

Nigerian Troops Trained On New Tactics To Battle Boko Haram

Pentagon has disclosed that U.S soldiers have trained Nigerian on a six-week advice-and-assist mission in Jaji, Kaduna State.

The U.S. Department of Defence said Nigerian Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion might be the next to deploy to Northeast to confront the violent extremist organisation, Boko Haram.

The department, while documenting some accounts of the U.S. soldiers during the training said it was important to prepare the Nigerian troops for the threats they faced from the terrorists.

Sgt. Saul Rodriguez, the most experienced of the 12 U.S. soldiers said “even in triple-digit heat and with AK-47 automatic rifles in hand, it’s easy to forget these soldiers are likely headed into imminent danger”.

“My job is to train you as much as I can. Your job is to fight the bad guys out of your country,” Pentagon quoted Rodriguez as shouting to a group of soldiers demonstrating their best cover and concealment efforts behind Jaji’s bushes and trees.

Staff Sgt. Kevin Martin of the 10th Mountain Division Fort Drum, New York, said after lecturing the troops on the significance of maintaining noise discipline that they needed the skills as they faced real threats.

“Yes. We are hard on them. We have to be. Their life depends on it. They might need these skills one day.

“They face a very real and lethal threat. We aren’t going to slow down; we are going to pack as much training in as possible,” Martin said.

Capt. Stephen Gouthro said this life-altering responsibility to prepare Nigerian soldiers was not lost on him, adding one of the best parts of the mission was the lack of micromanagement.

Gouthro said: “What better way to demonstrate mission command. This mission isn’t only about the tactical.

“Everything our team does could have diplomatic effects. Out here, the team has to be professional, mature and disciplined. And we are.”

Pentagon said: “All in all, this mission is the definition of the U.S. Army’s top priority: readiness.

“From pack-out preparations to redeployment operations, this mission challenged junior officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to work without built-in support from ‘Big Army’.

“Austere conditions, local negotiations, food from the economy, far from higher headquarters, limited digital capabilities, diplomatic implications and foreign-military engagements are only a few examples of how this mission has made these men more ready”.

It said a small support team travelled to Jaji about four weeks into the mission, flying down from U.S. Army Africa’s headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.

“The travellers asked Gouthro if the team had any requests. Historically speaking, soldiers ask for candy, SIM cards or extra soap. Not this team. Gouthro’s priority remained the mission.

“He asked for a sizeable knife for a graduation gift to give the Nigerian company’s commander and some smokeless tobacco, commonly known as ‘dip’, for one of his NCOs,” Pentagon said.

The department noted that the cohesion brought on by an austere living environment around Jaji, carried into the work.

 

Army Rescue 149, Kill 5 B’Haram Members

The Nigerian Army on Sunday reported to have rescued 149 persons in the ongoing clearance operation against remnants of Boko Haram insurgents at Yerimari-Kura community in Sambisa axis.
Col. Onyeama Nwachukwu, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, said in a statement that the troops killed five insurgents and captured five others in the encounter.

“Troops of Operation Lafiya Dole have continued to make progress in clearance operations to smoke out Boko Haram insurgents who escaped from their previous stronghold in the Sambisa Forest.

“On Saturday, the troops made further operational exploit into Boko Haram’s hideout at Yerimari-Kura, in a deliberate operation to extricate and rescue hostages held by the insurgents in their hideout.

“In the encounter, troops killed three Boko Haram insurgents and captured five,” he said, adding that the troops also destroyed insurgents’ logistics in the operation.

Nwachukwu explained that the rescued persons included 54 women and 95 children, noting that they were being profiled and receiving medical attention at the 21 Brigade Medical Centre.

Read More: Troops kill five Boko Haram insurgents, recover arms in Adamawa

According to him, the troops also neutralized two suicide bombers at Mandanari community in Konduga, Borno, when they attempted to infiltrate the community on April 7.

Nwachukwu disclosed that the suicide bombers strapped with Improvised Explosive Device (IEDs) vests, attempted to sneak into the community at about 8:00 pm on Saturday.

“The suicide bombers were sighted by vigilant troops who challenged them from a safe distance. The patrol engaged them as they refused to halt and ran towards the community, detonating their IEDs.

“Only the suicide bombers were killed in the incident, while three persons who sustained minor injuries were receiving medical attention”.