Leadership (Abuja)

Nigeria: Exclusive - Army Withdraws Troops From Mali to Emergency States

Photo: Daily Trust
Nigeria/Niger Republic border

The military has withdrawn some troops from Mali to participate in the ongoing operation against the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three states last Tuesday.

A security source disclosed that no sooner had the military troops began moving to Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states to take over the security management than the order came from Defence Headquarters for some of the troops to come back home and team up with those that are executing the war.

The source said, "The war against the terrorists is considered of great importance for now and, fortunately for us, the war in Mali is coming to an end now. What is left is the political solution. The Islamic extremists have been rendered powerless and doing same to the terrorists in the country would not be a problem at all."

According to him, the war against the Boko Haram terrorists had been long overdue as they had been behaving as if they were above the law all because some political elite in the north had been supporting their atrocities for selfish reasons.

"These criminals are behaving as if they have superior weapons to confront us, all because some politicians are collaborating with them for the reason best known to them. Now that we are in a state of war, we would put them where they rightly belong," he said.

Another source, a military top brass, expressed disappointment over how some politicians in the north have become the spokesmen of the Boko Haram, an indication that they are working hand in hand with the terrorists: "They are even saying that, with the state of emergency, the amnesty is no more, all because they had wanted to line up their pockets with blood money. These people know the Boko Haram terrorists but they pretend as if they don't. Now that we are smoking them out of their hideouts, they would be forced to call them to order."

Since the military operations began, the Boko Haram terrorists have gone underground and all the towns and villages where they had taken control have been liberated. Troops have been ordered by the Defence Headquarters to intensify efforts and sustain the tempo.

Speaking on the air disaster that claimed the lives of two pilots in Niger, our source explained that the two were heading towards Mali for the air-to-ground operation and they had just left the Niger base of the Nigerian troops barely six to seven minutes when the disaster occurred. He noted the courage of the two and prayed for the bereaved to be comforted by God.

14 insurgents killed, 20 arrested, 3 soldiers killed, 7 wounded, 1 missing

Meanwhile, the special forces have continued the advance and attack on identified terrorist camps, recording more success: 14 terrorists and three soldiers were dead; one soldier has been missing since after the battles fought at the weekend.

The Defence Headquarters, in a statement issued by its director of information, Brig-Gen Chris Olukolade, disclosed that the terrorist camp was in disarray as members fled to neighbouring countries.

According to him, patrols are ongoing to secure towns and villages from infiltration, while curfews on identified flashpoints are being enforced.

"Dislodged terrorists have been noted to be in disarray with a large number of them heading backwards to various borders. There bases are being deserted but they are making efforts to evacuate most of the large stock of logistics including scores of vehicles.

"In the course of special forces' pursuits and operations, a number of encounters have ensued since yesterday. After a mop-up of scenes of battle, 14 terrorists were confirmed dead, while seven vehicles and 13 telephone handsets were recovered. A total of 20 terrorists were apprehended as they fled. Altogether, three soldiers died, while seven were wounded and are being treated in a military medical facility; one soldier is missing", the statement read.

According to him, "the required reinforcement and logistics have been delivered to forces in front where the forces have been engaging a large number of heavily armed terrorists" since Saturday.

He said the Defence Headquarters is "quite satisfied with the high standard of compliance with operational order and strict observance of the rules of engagement so far. The forces have been directed to maintain the robustness of the patrols and enforcement of curfews where emplaced and ensure that civilians are kept out of harm's way as much as possible".

Bamanga, Nyako's camps in war of words over emergency rule

Meanwhile in Adamawa State, there is uneasy calm between the political camps of Governor Murtala Nyako and the national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur: the governor's camp is accusing Bamanga's camp of being the brains behind the emergency rule, a charge Bamanga's camp described as untrue.

A senior aide to Governor Nyako told LEADERSHIP in confidence that the governor was convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the trio of Tukur, adviser to President Jonathan on political matters Alhaji Ahmed Ali Gulak and Prof. Jibril Aminu played crucial roles in the inclusion of Adamawa State on the list of states affected by the emergency rule "despite the glaring fact that the insecurity index in Adamawa State is not as debilitating as many states which were missing on the list".

The governor had, in his last broadcast to the state shortly after the pronouncement of the emergency rule by President Jonathan, made a veiled reference to some evil people who wanted the children of the state to be killed or maimed who were behind the imposition of the emergency rule in the state.

"May the Almighty protect us against the evil few who want to have our children killed and maimed and our state devastated. Ameen," he said.

The governor's aide said although Governor Nyako's adversaries had succeeded in achieving their devious plan of imposing emergency rule on the state, they failed to achieve their core aim which is the ouster of Governor Nyako and all other political officeholders from power.

"God has frustrated them because their aim of getting emergency rule imposed on the state is to have the governor ousted from power, but they did not succeed in getting that," he said.

But a prominent member of Tukur's faction and former minister of state for health, Dr Aliyu Idi Hong, said Governor Nyako should stop crying wolf and should rather face his failures as a governor. He said Nyako failed to stamp the rising insecurity of lives and properties in his state despite being a retired general. He said: "Those people whom the governor is accusing of destroying the state are the very people who built the state while Nyako was busy attending to his personal interests. It is a misnomer for the governor or anyone for that matter to accuse these men of calibre of trying to destroy what they built."

Hong said it was at the behest of these people that the governor came to power. He said the federal government deemed it right to take the decision because of the security report at its disposal coupled with the fact that the borders of the state needed to be further secured, as they are the only sure way that the insurgents from Yobe and Borno states will not relocate to Adamawa State.

According to Hong, it is a known fact that that almost all the local government areas of Adamawa State including the home LGA of Nyako, Mayo Belwa, came under heavy attacks and many lives were lost, but his government did not deem it fit to do anything to arrest the drift, only for it to turn around to start apportioning blames among innocent people after nemesis has caught up with it. "This is unfair," Hong stated.

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