By Ewa Innocent, Abakaliki
The recent attack on the convoy of the Borno State governor, Babagana Umara Zulum by insurgents, leaving about 18 persons dead is a dangerous signal and should be condemned by all.
Those that died during the attack, according to the Coordinator, Defence Media Operations,Major General John Enenche,include, 4 soldiers,10 policemen, and 4 joint task force members, but security source credited to Agence France Presse (AFP), confirmed that the death toll had risen to 30 persons, giving the break down as 12 policemen, 5 soldiers, 4 Joint Task Force and 9 civilians.
For sure, this is not the first time the convoy of governor Zulum was attacked by Boko Haram terrorists on what seemed to be a well coordinated ambush. In the first attack which took place in July this year, governor Zulum had actually suspected security sabotage but later apologized, describing his statements as emotional outburst.
Just 72 hours after the second attack, the murderous terrorists again attacked Zulum’s convoy. This time around, no casualty was recorded according to reports. This brings to three, the number of attacks lodged on governor Zulum’s convoy in the most recent times.
To be sincere, soldiers fighting the insurgents in the North East, like—Borno,Adamawa,Yobe states and other troubled spots in the North region, are doing their best to end the war, not minding the fact that terrorists in some cases parade more sophisticated weapons than the military.
In recent times, however, the deadly attack of Boko Haram on some targeted locations in Borno state, which had earlier subsided due to the unrelenting efforts of the Nigerian military, resurfaced, leaving many soldiers and civilians alike, dead.
The questions that readily scratch the mind are; Why should Boko Haram terrorists always have their way to know the harvest time to launch their ambush operations? Could it be that information on the movement of Nigerian troops, government officials or residents filters to them beforehand, or that they have recruited informants that readily reveals security arrangements put across to counter their deadly offensive?
How did they know that the convoy of Zulum was enroute to Baga area of Borno state on that fateful day, in preparation for the return of residents, displaced from the town by jihadists since 2014?
According to a media report, Borno State Governor Zulum was safe from the deadly attack because of the airlifting arrangement for him to meet the displaced residents. The question again is, What would have been his fate if he was riding with his convoy on land?
Indeed, there is no doubt that Boko Haram terrorists have regrouped again with a change of tactics. The constant laying of ambush by the terrorists against the Nigerian troops seem to be their latest tactics that have been working for them to hit their targets.
Could it be said that there is no way the military could update their own tactics and strategize to deflect the ambush operations often deployed by the insurgents, together with planting of improvised explosive devices(IEDs)along the roads?
Agreed that no layman or civilian can advise the military perfectly on war strategies and tactics than the military themselves who are trained to fight wars, it behoves on the military to always deploy intelligence gathering and change of tactics against the common enemies as situations demand.
One thing that may not be ruled out completely, is the issue of bad elements within the fold of the security apparatus, who show sympathy with the terrorists, thereby making it difficult to win the war against insurgency, as they divulge classified information to the terrorists.
Similarly, in the civilian population, some bad eggs might also have been contributing by the same way of establishing contacts to leak information at any time to the terrorists.These, indeed, may not be ruled out.
Therefore, to win the war against insurgents in the North East, the Federal Government should equip the Nigerian soldiers with up to date weapons and machines of war, so as to teach the insurgents the bitter lessons of their lives.
There is also the need for the military to always ensure route scanning and clearance operations, before taking off, to forestall future occurrence.
Other measures that could assist in winning the war include, prioritizing the welfare of soldiers in the North East. It is not encouraging to hear that the allowances and salaries of soldiers in the battle field are sometimes delayed.
In fact, situations demand that the welfare of the soldiers should always be on the front burner of government security arrangements to motivate the gallant officers, after all, Nigerian military has been rated by global firepower as one of the most powerful militaries in Africa and the world.
In other words, Nigerian soldiers have what it takes to send the murderous terrorists parking if well equipped and motivated.
On their part, the Nigerian Army should deploy its military intelligence to purge itself of the bad eggs that appear in sheep clothing, only to sabotage their good efforts towards ending the war against insurgents, and every suspicious movement in any part of the country should always be reported to the security agents.
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