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The Nigerian Army has said though thousands of terrorists and their families have laid down arms in the North-East, some of them have ulterior motives.
The Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Maj.-Gen. Christopher Musa, disclosed that 20,000 insurgents and their families had laid down their weapons but some of the ‘repentant’ terrorists are not sincere.
The commander, who spoke on the sidelines of the Chief of Army Staff Conference in Abuja, added that another challenge the military has is that the insurgents use civilians as cover, making it more difficult for soldiers to kill them, the Nation reports.
He said: “We have over 20,000 combatants and their families surrendered. This tells you there is something we are doing right. What we do with them after surrendering is our next focus. The expectation is that after all have surrendered, then, everything will fizzle out. But, that is not the case.
“Frankly speaking, for us, this is a good development. A lot of people have been thinking and also expressing mixed feelings if at all the news is true. Of course, there are some insurgents who truly wish to surrender, but we cannot jettison the fact that some of them do have ulterior motives.
“Like I said, to us, this is good and if we follow it through in the right way, then, we may begin to see the end of this insurgency sooner than we actually think.”
According to Maj-Gen. Musa, the terror group has remained dangerous despite the death of its leader, Abubakar Shekau.
He said: “Before Shekau died, they (Boko Haram fighters) pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in the West African Province ISWAP and ISWAP gets its funding from foreign donors. It is the lust for these monies that have further emboldened them. This is why they overran Shekau. These people who are enemies of the nation, who do not want peace in Nigeria are the same people pushing ISWAP too. It has nothing to do with religion or any form of ideology, but is purely driven by the quest for money.
Dismissing public concerns that the Nigerian military has been outstretched by the security challenges in the country, he said, “No group can outstretch the Armed Forces of Nigeria. What people need to understand is, we in the military can easily be identified because we put on uniforms. These guys go on mufti and we cannot just go into a community and start killing everybody. If we have to do this, then, this fight would have ended since.
“But, what about the collateral damage on the part of innocent civilians? If we have to shoot, then, we must target the real trouble makers and not just anyone. This is the problem. They mingle among civilians. This is why it has become so difficult. If it is conventional warfare, we would have finished them a long time ago.”
This post was written by Obiajulu Joel Nwolu.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.