A report by the Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies examining the operations of the Nigerian Military against the Boko Haram/ISWAP group in North-East Nigeria
The Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies is a Think-Tank that coordinates intellectual activities for the promotion of global peace and prevention of terrorism across the globe. The Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies has been at the vanguard of identifying the operational methods of the Nigerian Military in operation in North East Nigeria since 2009 when the Boko Haram group began a violent campaign in Nigeria.
Consequently, the Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies commissioned a research into the operations of the Nigerian Military in North-East Nigeria for January to April, 2020 and presents the following report.
The Nigerian Military as a State Actor and efforts to keep the peace:
• RESCUE OPERATION FOR INNOCENT CITIZENS BEING HELD HOSTAGE:
The Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies identified that the Nigerian Military had been actively involved in rescue operations across the North East involving the rescue of women and children, as well as older people that have been held hostage and used as human shields by the Boko Haram group.
A critical survey revealed that between 2018, 2019, and 2020 the Nigerian Military rescued a total number of 12,500 people from the captivity of Boko Haram in parts of Yobe and Borno State. From the figure, 80% were women and children, and 20% were aged people that needed urgent medical attention.
It was also observed that the Nigerian Military rescue operations were carried out in a fashion that has resulted in minimal casualties. The Nigerian Military also had a medical team that attended to those rescued from captivity before they are released to their various families.
• NEUTRALIZATION OF TERRORISTS AND CRIMINAL ELEMENTS:
The Nigerian Military have been actively involved in the war against Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria, and that has seen several casualties from both sides. However, it was observed that the Boko Haram fighters have been at the receiving end of a continuous military onslaught that has led to the neutralization of Boko Haram terrorists, as well as other criminal elements.
The sustained military operations against the Boko Haram group also led to the death of scores of Boko Haram fighters. The Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies identified that over 350 Boko Haram fighters were killed in the past month in North-East Nigeria, and over 500 sustaining life-threatening injuries.
• COUNTER-OFFENSIVE CAMPAIGN:
It was observed that the counteroffensives by the Nigerian Military had yielded positive results. The casualty figures recorded so far has been on the low compared to previous years where the Nigerian Military recorded heavy casualties from their operations.
The Nigerian troops have been able to sustain the tempo with the introduction of additional counter-terrorism methods, as well as a boost in their military hardware that gave them the edge and with superior firepower over the Boko Haram group.
It was also observed that the operational strategy of the Nigerian Military have indeed placed the Boko Haram fighters on the brink of defeat baring all unforeseen circumstances. As at concluding the research work, it was established that 762 Boko Haram fighters lost their lives in battle with the Nigerian troops led by the Military Chief in Nigeria, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
In the course of the research work, it was observed that the military chief, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai has been leading the battle against Boko Haram. The military chief coordinates the day-to-day operations and offensives against the Boko Haram terrorists.
It was also observed that the presence of the military chief, Tukur Buratai has served as a source of motivation to the troops and this has been responsible for the gains recorded by the Nigerian Military in the war against Boko Haram in North-East Nigeria.
The presence of the military chief has continued to serve the purpose of motivation in the operations of the Nigerian Military in North-East, Nigeria.
The Non- State Actors (Boko Haram/ISWAP)
• Loss of confidence by Shekau and his commanders:
In the course of extensive research in the operations of the Boko Haram/ISWAP, it was identified that the camp of the Boko Haram/ISWAP has been polarized along various lines. There are those opposed to the continued stance of Abubakar Shekau and want a truce with the Nigerian Military. There are also those who see the casualties as a sign that Abubakar Shekau has misled them so far, and there is a need for him to step down from his responsibilities as their supreme leader.
This situation has heightened the tension in the Boko Haram camp and further given the Nigerian troops the edge with sustained military offensives.
• FATIGUE IN BATTLE AND LACK OF COHESION:
It was observed that the Boko Haram/ISWAP camp is experiencing fatigue which was occasioned by long hours of battle with the Nigerian Military. The fact that the Nigerian Military boast of more modern and advanced military hardware and tanks puts the Boko Haram fighters in terrible strain and the consequent result has been fatigue in battle and lack of cohesion.
It was gathered that this situation has led to the Boko Haram/ISWAP group splitting into many factions with most of the commanders that hitherto held sway no longer ready to continue.
• POOR MANAGEMENT OF AVAILABLE RESOURCES AND GREED
Our team of researchers was able to gather that the Boko Haram/ISWAP group is having difficulties assessing funds and logistics. The group is struggling with the availability of limited resources at their disposal, and this has put a strain on their operational effectiveness.
There is also uproar amongst Boko Haram members that Abubakar Shekau is mismanaging funds meant for the execution of their offensive against the Nigerian Military as well as their allowances that have remained unpaid for a long time.
It was also gathered that Abubakar Shekau has been soliciting to his fighters not to down their arms in these critical times. However, the various pleas seem not to have been able to pacify the bulk of the fighters that have remained delusional zed daily.
• REGIONAL COOPERATION.
The Boko Haram crisis has assumed a regional dimension and this lead to the revamping of the Multinational Joint Task Force comprising of troops from Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. This regional collaboration has put the Boko Haram group in a dire situation as most of their routes for receiving logistic supplies have been taken over by troops from the Multinational Joint Task Force.
The Nigerian government, by all indices the most significant contributor to the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force in terms of funding and troops. This commitment from the Nigerian government has enabled the operational effectiveness of the Multinational Joint Task Force.
The contribution of Chad has been felt in recent times. The Chadian authorities on their part were able to secure the borders between Nigeria and Chad as well as the Lake Chad basin region. This action has deprived the Boko Haram group the luxury of launching attacks in Nigeria and retreating to the Islands on the Lake Chad Basin region from where they hitherto regroup and receive logistics supplies from external sources.
The Nigerien authorities have shown commitment by deploying thousands of fighting troops to the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force. Nigerien troops have also fortified the borders between Niger and Nigeria from the Lake Chad Basin region.
The Cameroonian government has also contributed troops and resources towards the success of the operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force. Tremendous efforts have been made to secure Boko Haram cells located in the Mandara Mountains where they recruit and train their fighters.
The Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies after extensive scrutiny of the issues in the war against the Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists concludes that the operational strategies of the Nigerian Military have proven to be effective in neutralizing the threats posed by the Boko Haram/ISWAP group.
We wish to state that if this tempo is sustained, the Boko Haram/ISWAP group might eventually surrender as the odds are against it.
The Institute for Peace and Counter-Terrorism Studies commends the efforts of the Nigerian Military led
Dr. Samson Bello