Boko Haram; Nigerians seek civil support for soldiers amidst increasing cases of suicide bombings

This article was published in Echoes News on Wednesday October 7, 2021

By Blogger 

By Abdulkareem Haruna (Blogger) 

Voices of Nigerians are beginning to get louder on the imperatives of civil-military synergy in the ongoing battle against Boko Haram insurgency, Echoes News Blog checks revealed.

It is now beginning to dawn on Nigerians that the asymmetric warfare which troops of the Nigerian armed forces are fighting under the Nom de Guerr ‘Operation  Lafiya Dole’ can only succeed when the civilian communities partner with soldiers to end the war.

It has been the take of this blogger that  In asymmetric warfare, soldiers can win the battle; but it takes citizens’ community involvement to help end the war. #SupportNigeriaTroops.

The ancient and war shredded city of Maiduguri where the Boko Haram ideology was somehow birthed, still stands on its feet not because of boots and bullets; but because citizens had in 2013 decided to take their destinies in their hands, and for once make bold to help soldiers fish out the Boko Haram in their midst. The Revolution called Civillian JTF was an idea that came in the neak of time when Borno’s capital city was on the precipice of falling for the Boko Haram.

Civillian JTF came as a revolution that ended the civil military distrust at a time when soldiers have to do all that was imperatively necessary to save their necks from being butchered by faces that could easily melt into the civilian populace after an attack.

But even at that time many Nigerians did not see the Civillian JTF as a good development; rather they perceived their taking to the streets, brandishing clubs, machetes, hunting rifles and knives as a social menace that could boomerang.

But today as soldiers continued to ‘crush’ the Boko Haram by taking the battle to their very enclaves and secret training camps, Nigerians have begun to understand that there is more to achieve than smoking the Boko Haram out of their bushes for a kill. Despite the recorded successes of the troops, Suicide bombings have been on the rise. Ironically the number of casualties being recorded in every suicide bomb attack turned out to be more than the killings Boko Haram terrorists would inflict during normal invasion of communities. This development gives credence to the fact that Boko Haram may be stripped of their belligerent prowess in the jungle, but could still carry on with the war in the civil communities using bombs.

President Muhammadu Buhari had given the Nigerian military a time frame to end the Boko Haram insurgency within this year so that territories once under the control of Boko Haram would returned to the displaced residents; and there is no doubts that the present crops of soldiers executing the war would meet that target. But even if they do, Boko Haram might only be defeated in the jungle and not in the cities. That bombs could still explode in Kuje and Nyanya – a short distance from Nigeria seat of power – suggests that the war is not only that of soldiers, but the one that demands the full involvement of even the civilian populace. As long as the society fails to point out the strange faces or those known to be members or sympathizers of the Boko Haram, there is no way soldiers would do magic.

The recent arrest of three good looking and seemingly responsible young men in Maiduguri by the soldiers of the 7 Division who found strong evidence of their being funders and stimulant suppliers to  the Boko Haram bespeaks the dangers everyone lives in.

“You can best imagine the number of non-combatant Boko Haram members that live as normal straight citizens among us today”, said a security personnel who would rather remain anonymous.

It is welcoming to now see different security experts on the TV making cases for civil military cooperation to ending Boko Haram.

 At the recent United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) which yours sincerely was opportune to cover in New York, USA  it was said that “Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) means building the resilience of the community; Violent Extremist will not be defeated by an outsider; Outsider can play role, they can help; but in the end, Violent Extremists can only be defeated by the community in which they emerge – when those communities reject the Violent Extremists. So CVE should be all about building the resilience of the communities and strengthening the bones that keep the communities together”. When Jean-Marie Guehenno, President, International Crisis Group (ICG) made this remark in his key note address at the UNGA’s side-event-meeting on Linkages between Sustainable Development Goals and CVE the whole world nodded in approval because he actually made sense. 

It is time to walk the talk on our collective resolve that individuals and group that either share or buy the ideology of Boko Haram are not fit to live among us not to mention any one hiding them from the law enforcement agencies. We should be able to help one another build the needed resilience against the infiltration of Boko Haram or any other related extremists group in our communities. 

How we do that is simple. Expose those members of our communities who have questions to answer regarding the activities of Boko Haram so that more blood would be saved from being shed unjustifiably. 

It is really very heartwarming to hear the Theatre commander of the Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Yushau Abubakar, saying that the Nigeria Army now have clues as to who are behind the recent bombings of the Boko Haram terrorists, and that everything is being done to expose them. I believe that can even be achieved with better results if the civil society bold up to expose those they know have something to do with the ongoing senseless carnage that have defied both national and international logic.  

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