Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Mali - Military Warns Boko Haram Sect

The military in Nigeria has advised the leadership of Boko Haram sect to embrace peace or face its full wrath.

This warning is sequel to signals coming from Northern Mali indicating that the rebels, having been dislodged from all their hideouts, join their Nigerian allies to continue their terrorist attacks in the country.

But the military authorities, at the weekend, disclosed their readiness to deal decisively with the sect members if they failed to embrace the olive branch they earlier promised.

"We are aware of speculation that the Boko Haram leaders who are fighting with the Malian terrorists might likely come back to the country to continue bombing people and places of worship. The earlier they buried that thought the better. We are ready for them, we are policing our borders and if they are coming back with the intention of continuing the fight, we would deal with them decisively," a military source disclosed at the weekend.

"With the new development in Mali, the only wise path for the terrorists is to allow peace, they should welcome the dialogue being suggested by some highly placed Nigerians. This is because to do otherwise is to face the consequence now that Mali is becoming a no-go-area for them and here in Nigeria, there is no hiding place for them."

The out-going spokesman of the Army, Major General Bolaji Koleosho, reiterated the position of the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ibrahim that the military and indeed the government would not take the olive branch of the Boko Haram seriously until they were able to stop their terrorist attacks for one month.

"The Boko Haram members are Nigerians and by now they must have seen the futility in their agitation and by now, with the situation in Mali, they should listen to the voice of wisdom coming from the Chief of Defence Staff asking them to stop their attacks for one month if they are sincere in their call for a ceasefire. This is the best option left to them."

In a related development, the Nigerian troops are said to be performing creditably well in Mali and because of their experiences in similar operations in Liberia and Sierra-Leone they are not only playing prominent roles in AFISMA but troops from other nations wanted to be grouped with the Nigerian troops.

"Our troops are performing excellently , you were there when the Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ola Sa'ad Ibrahim was commending them at the National Defence College last week. When we arrived in Mali, the reports we got about them show that our troops are not only doing well but troops from other nations wanted to be among them in order to learn more from them. You are aware most of them had been to Liberia and Sierra-Leone where they performed brilliantly well."

He explained that a French Colonel was praising them "for the yeoman job they are doing and with what we witnessed there with the National Security Adviser, [Col. Sambo Dasuki] the operation would soon be over."

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