By Vincent Amah
Recently, the news from the north east has been very good and encouraging. The given continued successes of our troops against the combined evil of Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State of West Africa Province in places like Geidam and Gonori, just to mention a few, are good music to our ears. However, it is really unfortunate that at this time when the Nigerian Army, led by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai are conducting the final onslaught against the remnants of Boko Haram and the so-called Islamic State West Africa Province jihadists, there are some people that are not pleased at all for reasons best known to them. Therefore, it is important that every Nigerian should rise up in support of our gallant troops, pray for their success and discourage distractors and saboteurs.
Recently, the Chadian army claimed it has killed 1,000 Boko Haram fighters during an operation announced by the country’s Army spokesman, Colonel Azem Bermendoa Agouna; who also said 52 troops died during the operation, which was launched on 31st March 2020.
When the news broke, it was celebrated by lots of persons. The story made headlines on local and international newspapers, the social media was not left out too. The frenzy among some Nigerians was unimaginable. This encouraging news however has not been independently verified till date.
Many well informed persons and experts in security matters have argued that if the success recorded by Chadian troops against the Boko Haram terrorists is anything to go by, then it would be that the Chadian forces used a new approach that had never been deployed before.
The attack was adjudged a success because the Chadian troops killed many of the insurgents, destroyed five of their bases and recovered thousands of weapons.
While not attempting to take the shine away from the gallantry of the Chadian troops, one pertinent question to ask is, where are the local and international NGOs that have always gone against similar success stories of the Nigerian troops? Where is Amnesty international that is always quick to comment negatively or issue demoralizing statements against our troops on any reported encounter? Have they suddenly lost their voice?
Recall how Amnesty International have severally written reports against the Nigerian military forces and in particular the Army, accusing it of so many imaginable infractions including extrajudicial executions, war crimes and other serious human rights violations in north-eastern Nigeria. These cooked up reports by the NGO almost always come in at the heels of troops’ notable successes against the jihadists whose only agenda is to kill and maim.
Any discerning mind will raise the question: why does Amnesty International always rush to accuse our troops of war crimes each time it turns the heat against the terrorists? Who is the Amnesty International backing? Are they afraid of Nigeria winning the war against Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists?
It is now obvious that there are people who don’t want to see anything good about our military who have been giving their utmost best to secure the nation to the point of laying down their lives in defence of all Nigerian citizens and residents therein.
How do you explain that the same Amnesty International who in one of its reports, alleged that Boko Haram detainees’ throats were slit one by one and dumped in mass graves by men who appear to be members of the Nigerian Army and the “Civilian Joint Task Force” (CJTF), state-sponsored militias, but suddenly went quiet when Chadian Chief Prosecutor Youssouf Tom announced that a group of 44 suspected members of the Boko Haram captured during the recent operation were found dead in their prison cell, apparently poisoned? Has the Amnesty International suddenly gone on vacation? Or are they turning blind eyes to these facts?
If Amnesty International is to have it’s way, it would wish that Nigerian troops were slaughtered while having sympathy towards the terrorists. I am yet to come across any report by Amnesty International condemning attacks by Boko Haram terrorists on Nigerian troops.
It is a known fact that the insurgents are renegades of the terrorists who fled Nigerian territories and crossed over to Chad, Cameron and Niger Republics after being mauled by Nigerian troops in the renewed wave of operations since Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai took over the command of the Nigerian Army some years back. Chad turned a blind eye on their continued presence but suddenly woke up after a breach which led to the death of close to 100 Chadian soldiers.
If the Chadian Army claimed they have killed 1000 insurgents, the questions begging for answers are, where are the bodies of these insurgents, was there a mass grave for the bodies? No one seems to be answering these questions.
This act is indeed worrisome and should give all well-meaning persons a reason for worry because as it stands, we are not only fighting terrorism in Nigeria, but fighting conspiracy from collaborators.
It is very important to note that Nigeria is far ahead of Chad and other countries in the fight against insurgency. History has shown at different levels that Nigeria has been the leader in many counter insurgency operations across the continent including in the Multinational Joint Task Force currently fighting the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists.
Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai, the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff has been leading the fight from the front since he was so appointed in July 2015. He has personally participated in drills and other military exercises with fighting troops, talked and interacted with them directly and led operations in the theatres of war.
Buratai has been able to win the war by adopting tactics and strategies that suits particular geographical locations which he is quite familiar with.
Troops confidence has further been boosted with the keen interest he has shown in the improved welfare of soldiers and instilling in them a high sense of patriotism.
Nigerians must now unite and give our troops the much needed morale booster as they take the battle to the enclaves of the remaining and badly beaten insurgents. It is time to free our nation and the people of the north east from those who wished we are held captives by terrorists.
Make no mistake, Amnesty international is not our friend, especially in this war against terrorism. Nigerians must watch out for their antics in the final days of the insurgents. As the Nigerian Army move in for the final and decisive victory against our enemies, well meaning Nigerians should watch out for another damming Amnesty International report against our brave troops. Then we will know who the real enemy is. May God help our troops in this final encounter with our staunch enemies.
Writing from Ikeja Lagos
22nd April 2020