OP RESTORE ORDER SITREP- Week Ending 28 December 2013

Situation Friendly Forces:

23 December:

  • The Ministry of Defence states that 5 civilians, 15 soldiers and 50 insurgents were killed as they withdrew from BAMA and over 20 insurgent vehicles were destroyed by air attacks Insurgents withdrew to CAMEROUN though AWARAM, ALI-ALI, SUWABARA and KASHMIRI villages, BORNO State. These villages are described as ‘completely destroyed’ by air strikes
  • BORNO State Governor Kashim SHETTIMA stated that ‘2 or 3’ women kidnapped by Boko Haram at BAMA had escaped. He did not specify the fate of any other possible hostages and that others had been evacuated.
  • Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) officials state they have seized 6 metric tons of illegal narcotics such as marijuana and cocaine in BORNO State in 2013 and arrested 61 people in relation to drugs crimes. Barrister Kaka Shehu LAWAN BORNO State Attorney General stated that the seizures and arrests were due to raids and checkpoints and that most of the drugs were passing through although some were for local consumption

26 December: a Ministry of Defence official states that NIGERIA was in talks with CAMEROUN and FRANCE regarding actions against Boko Haram bases in CAMEROUN

27 December:

  • In a mass change of command the GOC 7 Division Major General Obidah ETHAN has been moved to Chief of Civil Military Affairs and replaced by Major General Junaid BINDAWA. Brigade commanders were also replaced
  • Yerima Lawan NGAMA (Minister of Finance) states that 7 people were killed in POTISKUM, YOBE State

28 December:

  • Labaran MAKU Nigerian Minister of Information and Supervising Minister for Defence stated that NIGERIA was working with CAMEROUN to halt insurgents infiltrating from that country.
  • Elections were successfully concluded for 178 councillors and 17 Council chairmen, despite low turnout

Situation Enemy Forces:

27 December: Abubaker SHEKAU leader of Boko Haram has released a new video taking credit for the attack on BAMA barracks speaking in Hausa he claimed they destroyed 21 tanks and killed ‘multitudes’ and boasted of further attacks while mocking Presidents JONATHAN and OBAMA (of the USA) and referencing the N50m reward.

28 December: Insurgents killed 8 civilians and wounded 5 more at a bachelor party in TASHAN ALADE village, BORNO State. The 3 attackers reportedly arrived at the mainly Christian village at 11.00pm on motorcycles and fled immediately

Situation External Forces:

24 December: CAMEROUN states it has registered only 1,800 Nigerians as refugees, as most refugees stay with relatives in border villages. The unregistered refugees are considered a security concern to the Camerounian Regional administration

27 December: Awa Fonka AUGUSTINE the Governor of CAMEROUNS FAR NORTH Region has imposed a 7.00pm to 5.00am curfew on MAYO-SAVA and MAYO-TSANAGA Departments bordering NIGERIA. He also urged traditional rulers to reactivate village vigilance committees and also increased searches of motorcycles and car and increased coordination between the army, police, gendarmerie, and BIR

28 December: CAMEROUN has tightened border controls in FAR NORTH REGION, deploying an extra military unit and armed guards at hotels as well as extra border security posts. The Region has seen an increase in the cost of fuel due to the non availability of smuggled Nigerian fuel and food stuffs

Statistics

Table 1 Casualties

  Killed Wounded Missing/ Detained
NPF/DSS

0

0

0

Military

0

0

0

Total NSF

0

0

??

Vigilantes

0

0

0

Insurgents

??

??

Male:  

??

Female:

??

Civilian

8

??

??  

Table 4 Insurgent incidents

Insurgent Incidents  IED Vehicle IED Suicide IED Small Arms Small arms+IED Other wpns Theft Kidnapping

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

 

Analysis:

As the year draws to a close, Boko Haram still retains the initiative in the current operational cycle. They have shown they are able to consistently launch complex audacious attacks, which they rapidly exploit for propaganda value, using references to other national or world events for relevance and topicality. At the same time they engage in low level attacks, kidnaps/ forced conscriptions, raids and banditry keeping themselves supplied and the populace in a state of terror. They have maintained this tempo despite casualties and losses suffered in recent attacks.

However there are significant indications that Boko Harams free run might be coming to an end as the ground work finally seems to being put in place to take the fight to the enemy in their sanctuaries. The first key indicator is the follow up to the attack in Bama. Although it is extremely disappointing that troops despite allegedly being forewarned did not launch a pre-emptive attack or repel the attackers, the resultant follow up destroying tens of vehicles indicate that either Boko Harams normal tactic of fighting and withdrawing before the onset of daylight is not as risk free as thought. The air and ground attacks all the way to the Cameroun border would have caused casualties and prevented the enemy carrying away captured items.

The Camerounians having finally woken up and smelt the burning akara and have begun to undertake the necessary steps to limit Boko Harams freedom of movement with curfews and restrictions on motorcycle use in the border regions. Although this does not go far enough it is a start. Shekau’s video rants have become more and more bloodthirsty. Obviously he has not learnt the lessons of al Zarqawi in Iraq whose attacks upon fellow Muslims and beheadings helped turn the Sunnis of Iraq against al Qaeda forces. There is still very little general support (or even interest) for Boko Haram in the international ‘jihadosphere’, as Boko Haram is still yet to define a sensible objective beyond wishing to Islamise Nigeria and indiscriminately kill as many people as possible to achieve this. Even for fundamentalists, most of who have a fairly detached view of reality this is a ridiculous proposition and a ridiculous method of attaining that goal.

The initiative will not revert back to the security forces until they take the war to the enemy. This means taking the war into Sambisa Forests, Gwoza Hills, the swamps of Bama and Cameroun, either with Camerounian forces launching an offensive on their side or permitting Nigerian forces to cross the border in force.

Future operations: at the risk of making predictions, trends indicate the following

  • Boko Haram will launch more spectacular attacks but closer to the Cameroun border. Low level harassing attacks against isolated hamlets, illegal checkpoints and so on will be used to maintain a climate of fear as well as gather supplies and hostages from the populations.
  • Recent patterns indicate that the Security forces have learnt their lessons and are using air power more proactively to destroy enemy forces will score more success repelling the enemy and destroying them through air attacks, cross border attacks will commence into Cameroun
  • The insurgents will be pushed further into Cameroun; attacks into Nigeria will be less frequent
  • Insurgents will begin to attack Camerounian towns and Camerounian forces
  • Insurgents will attempt to relocate and launch attacks from Niger Republic
  • There will be more attacks against soft targets in isolated villages in Nigeria and Cameroun

There is a chance to neutralise this conflict in 2014. Without easy access to funds or loot Boko Haram cannot easily rearm or pay mercenaries. Relentless military pressure on both sides of the border will see them fragment and either take to the Sahel or bush as dwindling roving bands of criminals or go underground again. The unfortunate reality is that Nigerian domestic politics is unlikely to permit this as strategic and political focus will be distracted at the national level and at the local level politicians on both sides would make use of either the roving bands of armed men or organs of state security to prevent the other side from campaigning or voting properly or else to create a climate of fear to either embarrass or blackmail opponents. Thus it is likely that the end of 2014 will see a spike in violence attributed nominally to Boko Haram and the insurgency will regenerate well into 2015.

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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
This entry was posted in Counter insurgency, Defence, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Stabilisation, Terrorism and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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