Every keen follower of the Nigerian military and its exploits in the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North-eastern part of the country will agree with me that the troops assumed more daring posture in repelling Boko Haram from November when the National Assembly kept, in abeyance, its approval to the presidential request to extend emergency rule in the three states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe. These states have been at the receiving end of the brutal activities of the insurgency group since it launched its pro-Islamist state jihad in 2009.
Although, it had been tales of despondency, even whilst the emergency rule lasted in the states, Nigerians however, began to notice, from late November, some form of renewed vigour and determination in the fighting spirit of the troops as they confront the fighters at various locations.
One of the first groups to acknowledge the new fighting spirit of the troops, is the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).
The ACF had said in its commendation note to the military that “the recent successes recorded by the military and other security agencies in repelling the deadly attacks by the militants in Damaturu and Konduga are most encouraging and soothing.”
Armed with their renewed zeal, our soldiers stood the way of Boko Haram even when the latter made a ferocious attempt at taking over Lassa, Borno State on Nov. 30. They were repelled by the military working with the local vigilante.
On Dec. 1, according to report, the Nigerian army stopped a Boko Haram assault on Konduga, killing 70 of the insurgents. In Yobe state, Boko Haram fighters pushing toward Damaturu launched an assault on a police checkpoint, and were repelled after battling for several hours with the Nigerian army and civilian fighters.
On Dec. 4, the insurgents had conducted a pair of attacks in Gombe state, targeting the towns of Bajoga and Ashaka. When our forces prevented the group from taking Bajoga, the fighters moved in a 20-vehicle convoy toward Ashaka and the Lafarge cement factory. In the ensuing assault, according to report, the Boko Haram members reportedly stole medical supplies and vehicles from the factory. Analysts say the attack may have been more of a foray to replenish supplies than an attempt to seize territory, the media had reported.
A day earlier, on Dec. 3, the Nigerian Air Force had bombarded insurgents regrouping in Garin Itace, around 20 kilometers outside of the Yobe state capital, Damaturu. And in Borno state that same day, Nigerian troops destroyed an explosives-laden vehicle meant for a suicide operation in Konduga.
“On Dec. 5, the military announced that it had cleared and fully reclaimed Mubi in Adamawa. The town had been conquered by Boko Haram at the end of October.”
Besides the retaking of Mubi town by the military, Gombi, Maiha, and Hong local government areas of Adamawa state have also fallen from the hands of the fighters. During the offensive, Nigerian troops reportedly recovered documents and sketches of towns that Boko Haram was planning to target. It is not clear exactly when government forces made these advances. The military also arrested a Boko Haram videographer, along with other members of the group, in Adamawa state on Dec. 8.
On Dec. 9, the Nigerian army announced that it had killed 27 members of Boko Haram while fighting with the terrorists in the Balmo, Lame, and Hildi forests of north-eastern Nigeria.
The insurgents, had in their bid to expand their conquered territories by possibly attacking Maiduguri, in September 2014, attempted to invade the Borno capital through Konduga, but met a terrible defeat when they lost over 200 of their members, including their leader, Abubakar Shekau, lll.
Despite the defeat, the insurgents reorganized and launched yet another attack on the community on September 15 but still met with a stiffer counter-attack by the Nigerian troops that led to another massive loss of their members.
Two days after that attack, report say, the terrorists returned to the town yet again. But they were again repelled by the military and members of the Civilian-JTF, who reportedly killed about 400 of them.
Perhaps the most daring steps taken so far by the insurgents since their campaign to foist their way of thinking on Nigerians began, was their failed attempt to take over the Yobe State Government House, Damaturu, some three weeks ago. But this was gallantly repelled by the troops as acknowledged by the state governor, Ibrahim Gaidam in his commendation note to the military.
Signed by his media aide, Abdullahi Bego, the governor had also condemned the incidence and described it as barbaric.
“The governor has condemned the attack as heinous and barbaric. He has also expressed appreciation to the security forces who worked very hard on the ground and from the air to repel the attack and force many of the attackers to flee. As a result of their effort, Damaturu remains firmly under government control,” Bego said.
Since the Damaturu episode, it has been tales of more daring and dastardly moves by the Boko Haram fighters. They had employed and even used bombs against soft targets, using female agents to execute their operations, etc, in all, they still meet their Waterloo in the hands of the troops, whose efforts have been greatly or largely made possible by the razor-sharp and accurate shelling by the Nigerian Air force fighter pilots.
The counter-terrorism operation is winnable. The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal, Alex Badeh, had assured Nigerians at several forums that the nation is blessed with gallant soldiers that have all it takes to rout the insurgents. What the military needs at this critical time is the support of the Nigerian people, especially the politicians, who can do well by refraining from selling alarmist and patently false information to the foreign media.
It is however, noteworthy to mention at this point that one is glad to state that such reports have not been featuring in the foreign media with the frequency they had hitherto appeared. What this points to is that the military’s recent forays in the operation areas are gladdening the hearts of Nigerians.
One can only at this juncture wish them more successes and resilience as they take on the Boko Haram fighters, even without the needed weaponry support from the U.S.
The feat recorded so far shows that it does not really matter what weapons one bears to war, the ultimate objective is to have the enemy decimated. We read a similar account in the Bible, showing that David with a mere string and three pebbles killed Goliath that had faced him with his sophisticated munitions!
We have also read of the forays of the hunters, the civilian JTF and other support groups to the military. If you are to use prayers or voodoo, or even mystic sticks, go ahead. Provided at the end of the day, those boys are sent out of our sight. Best of luck Nigerians.