OP RESTORE ORDER SITREP- Week Ending 28 September 2013

Situation Friendly Forces:

23 September: Nigerian Security forces confirm the deployment of additional troops, Alphajets and Mi 35 and Mi 34 attack helicopters to the North East operational area. A deadline of December has been set for ending the insurgency

28 September: Minister of Information Labaran MAKU states that Boko Haram is receiving help from ‘advanced nations’ and enjoined ‘politicians to leave politics out of the insurgency’. He did not name the advanced nations or politicians in question

Situation Enemy Forces:

25 September: insurgents attacked FULATARI, NGALA LGA, BORNO State at around 11.00pm killing 6 civilians and wounding 4

  • Abubaker SHEKAU released a new video taking responsibility for the killings in BENISHEIK, MONGUNO and other recent attacks. Speaking in Hausa and mentioning recent events and calling out individuals by name such as Lt Col Sagir MUSA Army PR as well as President Goodluck JONATHAN, Queen Elizabeth II of the UK, US President OBAMA, French President HOLLANDE and Benjamin NETANYAHU

26 September: approximately 8 insurgents used IEDs and small arms to kill a Pastor and his son and a village leader and destroy a church and 5 other buildings in DOROWA, NANGERE LGA, YOBE State.

  • Explosions and gunfire reported in SAMINAKA, LERE LGA, KADUNA State as gunmen attacked 3 banks using rifles and IEDs, killing 3 policemen and taking an unknown amount of cash. 1 gunman was killed in the encounter
  • Insurgents attacked KANUMBURI, NGALA LGA, BORNO State at around 10.00pm killing 21 civilians and wounding 3 others including the village head

28 September: gunmen attacked ZANGANG, KAURA LGA, KADUNA State between 6.00am and 8.00am reportedly killing 11 civilians with knives and guns and burning down most of the houses. 2000 people have allegedly left the village as a result

  • A video of Francois COLLOMP kidnapped in RIMI, KATSINA State by ANSARU in December 2012 has been released online. Allegedly filmed on 25 September and placed on a jihadi forum, the hostage spoke in English and pleaded for the French and Nigerian governments to intervene. No demands were made.
  • Gunmen killed an Islamic Scholar Alarama Mallam DANKUBANA in UNGUWAR KWATA Ward, POTISKUM LGA, YOBE State. The cleric was attacked by 5 gunmen at around 8.301m and shot in the head and chest, they subsequently drove away in a white VW Golf
  • Insurgents have attacked the College of Agriculture GUJBA, YOBE State with small arms and IEDs killing at least 44 students and wounding at least 18

Situation Other Forces:

26 September: 632 youths begin training as youth volunteers (Borno State Youth Empowerment Scheme (BOYES)) in MAIDUGURI, BORNO State as CJTF

Situation External Forces:

23 September: US President OBAMA held a 40 minute meeting with President JONATHAN, with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Presidential Principal Private Secretary, the Ambassador and attended by US Secretary of State, US National Security Advisor and US Assistant Secretary for Africa. The US stated it would upgrade its assistance in fighting Boko Haram and adopt Regional Security as a major component of US-Nigeria Bi lateral relations

24 September: the US Congress is to discuss Boko Haram and Terrorism according to US Congressman Chris SMITH during a meeting with Christian Association of Nigeria in ABUJA

Statistics

Table 1 Casualties

  Killed Wounded Missing/ Detained
NPF

3

0

0

NA

0

0

0

Total NSF

3

0

0

Vigilantes

0

0

0

Insurgents

1

7

Male:  

 0

Female:

0  

Civilian

85

25

0

 

Table 2 Captured insurgent equipment

AK47

 

Pistol 9mm 7.62 Ammo IEDs Vehicles Motorcycles RPGs Cash

 

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

Table 3 Insurgent incidents

Insurgent Incidents

 

IED Vehicle IED Suicide IED Small Arms Small arms+IED Other wpns Theft Kidnapping
0 0 0 4 3 0 1 0

 

Analysis:

The Return of Shekau: as the pursuit of fugitive terrorists and bandits the world over has shown, it is relatively difficult to kill or capture a single person particularly in an ungoverned space.

The latest video offering from Shekau ties into this reviewers belief that Boko Haram has recovered from the offensive, rebalanced and begun a sustained counter offensive. Having defined the terms of the physical battlespace they wish to contest, they are now doing the same with the media battlespace through the release of this video.

The tape in itself of limited import however other than as a demonstration of resilience, capability and intent. It is more interesting to look at it as possibly the conclusion of an internal power struggle and a bid for foreign funding.

In the past few weeks the insurgents have been able to inflict heavy casualties on the security forces, defeat a detachment in battle and capture vehicles and stores, operate with impunity in public for several hours, murder a huge number of civilians and have topped it off by very successfully countering the assertion that Shekau is dead

It is the opinion of this reviewer that the initiative is firmly in the hands of the insurgents. It will take a huge infusion of manpower to reduce their freedom of manoeuvre and action and then to take the war to them.

However although the initiative is with the enemy they are still contained. This might be terrible news for civilians and security personnel within the area of operations but in reality Boko Haram can only operate in a limited area not far from its safe havens. This area is geographically vast but in reality they are unable to project power beyond the core North East.

Suggestions:

Mobile Phones:

It is imperative that the mobile phone network is restored. The inability to call for help by civilians, who are the primary target of all attacks, is counterproductive.  The benefits of denying the insurgents the ability to communicate by mobile over the cost of allowing people to alert the authorities is negligible.

Reinforcement:

Forces should be drafted in from other parts of the country to hold ground and patrol the roads. As the enemy has chosen this area to fight it is beholden on the security forces to meet them there before taking the battle to them

Things will get worse before they get better

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About peccavi

A Nigerian with interests in defence, security, geopolitics, the military particularly small unit tactics, COIN, stabilisation and asymmetric warfare
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