Nigerian Army Deploys Over 2,000 Soldiers To Flush Out Islamist Militant In Maiduguri And Yola

Nigerian Army Deploys Over 2,000 Soldiers To Flush Out Islamist Militant In Maiduguri And Yola


ChannelsTV has reported that the Nigerian Army on Wednesday launched a military campaign with over 2,000 soldiers, to flush Islamist militants out of bases in the country’s North East border areas.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States following unabated insurgent attacks by members of Boko Haram.

Troops moved into the region in large numbers, part of a plan to rout an insurgency by the Boko Haram Islamist group that has seized control of significant parts of the region.

Fighter jets belonging to the Nigerian Airforce are also reported to be hovering over the cities.

A statement from the Defence Headquarters stated that the military operation will “focus on tracking down criminal elements within the vicinity of border communities prone to terrorist activities.”

“The operations which will involve massive deployment of men and resources is aimed at asserting the nation’s territorial integrity and enhancing the security of constituted governmental structures in all territories within Nigeria’s borders. The operational plans have also briefed participating troops appropriately on arrests, cordon and search especially directed at apprehending those who have been violating sovereignty of Nigeria through terrorist training for insurgency and related activities. The operation is expected to put an end to insurgent activities in these parts of the country.”

The Defence Headquarters assured law abiding citizens that “every effort has been put in place to ensure safety of civilians and non-combatants while the operation lasts.” “All citizens are enjoined to cooperate with troops and supply necessary information on criminal and terrorist activities or movement in their locality as the operation is intended to safeguard the nation’s interests and citizens in all parts of the federation” the statement concluded.

The operation is conducted by officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.

Eye witness accounts claim about six army trucks carrying soldiers entered Yola, the Adamawa State capital and Maiduguri in Borno State. They added that the mood in that city is tense at the moment, as shops were shut, schools closed and few people seen on the streets.

“What I saw this morning scared me,” said one man in Maiduguri, Ahmed Mari. “I have never seen soldiers on the move quite like this before.”

Another, Kabir Laoye, voiced widespread fears that civilians could be caught up in the conflict: “There is a lot of apprehension about the state of emergency,” he said.

Bolder Insurgency

President Jonathan’s orders followed growing evidence that a better equipped, better armed Boko Haram now controls territory around Lake Chad, where local officials have fled.

“What we are facing is … a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to … territorial integrity,” Jonathan said in the address. “Already, some northern parts of Borno State have been taken over by groups whose allegiance is to different flags and ideologies.”

Officials say militants control at least 10 local government districts of Borno State — a semi-desert region that once hosted one of West Africa’s oldest medieval Islamic empires — and are using porous borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger to smuggle in arms and mount increasingly bold attacks.

Security sources say their strategy appears to be similar to that of the al-Qaeda-linked militants who overran Mali late last year, before the French kicked them out in January: take over remote desert areas and establish a de facto rule there, then use that as a base from which to expand.

Growing links with jihadists across the Sahara region, and the fallout from Libya’s war, are giving Boko Haram better access to weapons, funding and training.

Dozens of Boko Haram fighters laid siege to the Borno town of Bama last week, freeing more than 100 men from prison and leaving 55 people dead, mostly police.

Some government officials have doubted the state of emergency would work unless security forces can win popular support.

“This state of emergency will not change anything if the people do not cooperate and start exposing members of Boko Haram,” said David John, a director in the state government.

Rights groups say abuses by Nigerian troops in the northeast have alienated the population against them.

A crackdown on Boko Haram in 2009 led to the deaths of 800 people, including its founder Mohammed Yusuf, who died in police custody. Instead of crushing them, it unleashed a torrent of popular rage that only made the Islamists more deadly.

Send your articles for publication to editor@paradigmshiftng.com. You can also send your eye witness reports, photos and videos to iwitness@paradigmshiftng.com  

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ChannelsTV has reported that the Nigerian Army on Wednesday launched a military campaign with over 2,000 soldiers, to flush Islamist militants out of bases in the country’s North East border areas.

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States following unabated insurgent attacks by members of Boko Haram.

Troops moved into the region in large numbers, part of a plan to rout an insurgency by the Boko Haram Islamist group that has seized control of significant parts of the region.

Fighter jets belonging to the Nigerian Airforce are also reported to be hovering over the cities.

A statement from the Defence Headquarters stated that the military operation will “focus on tracking down criminal elements within the vicinity of border communities prone to terrorist activities.”

“The operations which will involve massive deployment of men and resources is aimed at asserting the nation’s territorial integrity and enhancing the security of constituted governmental structures in all territories within Nigeria’s borders. The operational plans have also briefed participating troops appropriately on arrests, cordon and search especially directed at apprehending those who have been violating sovereignty of Nigeria through terrorist training for insurgency and related activities. The operation is expected to put an end to insurgent activities in these parts of the country.”

The Defence Headquarters assured law abiding citizens that “every effort has been put in place to ensure safety of civilians and non-combatants while the operation lasts.” “All citizens are enjoined to cooperate with troops and supply necessary information on criminal and terrorist activities or movement in their locality as the operation is intended to safeguard the nation’s interests and citizens in all parts of the federation” the statement concluded.

The operation is conducted by officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces, the Nigeria Police and other security agencies.

Eye witness accounts claim about six army trucks carrying soldiers entered Yola, the Adamawa State capital and Maiduguri in Borno State. They added that the mood in that city is tense at the moment, as shops were shut, schools closed and few people seen on the streets.

“What I saw this morning scared me,” said one man in Maiduguri, Ahmed Mari. “I have never seen soldiers on the move quite like this before.”

Another, Kabir Laoye, voiced widespread fears that civilians could be caught up in the conflict: “There is a lot of apprehension about the state of emergency,” he said.

Bolder Insurgency

President Jonathan’s orders followed growing evidence that a better equipped, better armed Boko Haram now controls territory around Lake Chad, where local officials have fled.

“What we are facing is … a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to … territorial integrity,” Jonathan said in the address. “Already, some northern parts of Borno State have been taken over by groups whose allegiance is to different flags and ideologies.”

Officials say militants control at least 10 local government districts of Borno State — a semi-desert region that once hosted one of West Africa’s oldest medieval Islamic empires — and are using porous borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger to smuggle in arms and mount increasingly bold attacks.

Security sources say their strategy appears to be similar to that of the al-Qaeda-linked militants who overran Mali late last year, before the French kicked them out in January: take over remote desert areas and establish a de facto rule there, then use that as a base from which to expand.

Growing links with jihadists across the Sahara region, and the fallout from Libya’s war, are giving Boko Haram better access to weapons, funding and training.

Dozens of Boko Haram fighters laid siege to the Borno town of Bama last week, freeing more than 100 men from prison and leaving 55 people dead, mostly police.

Some government officials have doubted the state of emergency would work unless security forces can win popular support.

“This state of emergency will not change anything if the people do not cooperate and start exposing members of Boko Haram,” said David John, a director in the state government.

Rights groups say abuses by Nigerian troops in the northeast have alienated the population against them.

A crackdown on Boko Haram in 2009 led to the deaths of 800 people, including its founder Mohammed Yusuf, who died in police custody. Instead of crushing them, it unleashed a torrent of popular rage that only made the Islamists more deadly.

Send your articles for publication to editor@paradigmshiftng.com. You can also send your eye witness reports, photos and videos to iwitness@paradigmshiftng.com  

Click here to subscribe to The Paradigm Newsletter

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