OP RESTORE ORDER SITREP- Week Ending 4 January 2014

Situation Friendly Forces:

29 December:

  • Elements of the MNJTF neutralised insurgents massing on an island on LAKE CHAD, killing 7. Wounded insurgents were reportedly last seen fleeing towards NIGER and CHAD, with some in a canoe heading to TUMBUN TELKANDAM in CHAD
  • Alhaji Yerima NGAMA, Minister o State for Finance stated that the Government had earmarked N2bn as part of a 5 year special intervention package for BORNO, YOBE and ADAMAWA States

31 December:

  • Nigerian forces supported by attack helicopters, ground attack jets and artillery launched a major offensive to clear SAMBISA Forest, BORNO State and destroy all insurgent bases there. Insurgents have been said to be using IEDs as part of their defences.
  • Nigerian forces reportedly prevented an attack on MAIDUGURI by Boko Haram insurgents in an intelligence driven operation arresting 10 and killing 1 insurgent. 18 insurgents were reportedly on the run. No friendly casualties reported
  • French priest Father Georges VANDENBEUSCH has been released after 7 weeks in captivity. Both FRANCE and Boko Haram deny a ransom was paid with the latter claiming he was released on ‘humanitarian’ grounds
  • The KADUNA State Police Command donated money to the families of the 29 officers lost to Boko Haram violence since 2011. The Inspector General of Police donated foodstuffs to the widows of dead policemen in ADAMAWA and BORNO States. Some of the widows complained of being driven out of barracks and not being paid entitlements
  • The National Airspace Management Agency has banned airlines from flying to MAIDUGURI Airport until March 2014 due to some equipment being destroyed in the December attack

2 January: Father VANDENBEUSCH celebrates mass in his former church in SCEAUX, PARIS, FRANCE. In interviews following the mass he dismisses claims he was released on compassionate grounds. Unnamed Camerounian security sources tell the AFP news agency an unnamed Boko Haram leader was released from Camerounian custody as an exchange.

Situation Enemy Forces:

 29 December:

  • Insurgents attacked ALAFA Village, BORNO State early in the morning, reportedly mounted in APCs and 4×4’s equipped with AA guns, in an attempt to set up a new base. Security forces supported by YOLA based Alpha Jets defeated and pushed the insurgents out of the village, killing 56. 2 soldiers were wounded
  • Insurgents attacked KWAJJAFA in HAWUL LGA, BORNO State killing 4 civilians. Locals report that there are threats to attack other Christian villages of MARAMA, GARKIDA and SHAFFA

3 January: Approximately 30 insurgents attacked KAYAMULA village, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State with IEDs and small arms. The attackers were defeated by a elements of 7 Division supported by air strikes

Situation External Forces:

30 December: The Government of CANADA has listed Boko Haram as a terrorist group under the Canadian Criminal Code meaning assets can be seized or forfeited and it is a crime to knowingly participate or contribute to its activities

Statistics

Table 1 Casualties

  Killed Wounded Missing/ Detained
NPF/DSS

0

0

0

Military

0

2

0

Total NSF

0

0

??

Vigilantes

0

0

0

Insurgents

64

??

Male:  

10

Female:

??

Civilian

4

??

??  

Table 4 Insurgent incidents

Insurgent Incidents

 

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

0

0

0

1

1

1

0

0

 

Analysis:

The more things change… (1): the year ended with Boko Haram nicely settled into an operational cycle that suited them, using raids and illegal VCPs to murder civilians, abduct camp slaves and forced conscripts as well as gather money and supplies. Interspersing these activities with spectacular attacks against high value targets, that generated supplies and invaluable propaganda.

The enemy retained the initiative and used the lethargy in the Nigeria command structure to operate with impunity. It would appear that the turf war/ chain of command issues have either been resolved or put to one side as Nigerian forces have once again gone on to the offensive and become infinitely more aggressive and proactive in their defence of outposts and villages.

The government has also leant heavily on Cameroun, with that country finally imposing curfews, restrictions on motorcycle movement, registration of foreigners and increasing the number of troops and gendarmerie in the area

This commentator has repeatedly advocated sending troops into Sambisa Forests, Gwoza Hills and the Lake Chad area and taking the war to the enemy in their sanctuaries. It appears this is finally happening with a combined arms offensive into Sambisa Forest. One hopes that once this is completed, permanent outposts will be maintained there, while other offensives are planned for Gwoza hills and the Lake Chad area. The task of supporting and sustaining these operations are beyond the ability of 7 Division alone, it is hoped that the Federal Government is generating Battle Groups from other Divisions to undertake some of these operations as well as Mobile Police Formations to provide garrisons for liberated areas. 7 Division alone should not shoulder this burden.

Simultaneously Camerounian forces should begin aggressive operations to identify Boko Haram camps and lines of communication. If the Camerounians do not have the capability to destroy and interdict these, they should allow Nigerian forces in to do so.

So New Year, new commanders, new offensives, new aggression, new policy towards Cameroun. Things have changed, let’s hope they don’t stay the same.

The more things change… (2): students of fundamentalism in Nigeria will remember Mohammed Marwa of Maitasine fame. A Camerounian from Maroua (of which Marwa is the anglicised version) in the Far North Region, he was a charismatic preacher, who railed against orthodox Islamic authorities, modernity and the government. Despite repeated warnings and even banishment by the Emir of Kano he returned gathering an army of discontented al maijiris via his fiery denunciations of corruption. However his actions became more and more bizarre prompted allegedly by the death of his eldest son, who fell in with local criminal gangs and was killed in a shoot out.

His curse filled pronouncements went from the bizarre to the heretical. Not content with declaring himself a Mahdi, he decided he was now a Prophet, Muslims should not face Mecca to pray, declared that all hadiths and sunnahs were false and that as all property belonged to Allah and as he was a prophet he could take what he wanted from anyone.

Essentially he was mad, yet this mad man inspired thousands of youths to his cause and as is usual in Nigerian politics was courted by politicians and the like. Destroying the inevitable uprising took almost 6,000 lives and involved the Nigerian Army in its biggest operation since the civil war, using artillery and armour.

Now the fascinating thing is that when he was shot and died (despite his claims of divinity), his hardcore followers were not disillusioned, instead launched two further uprisings in Adamawa and Borno causing the deaths of several 1000 more Nigerians. The new leader Makaniki was eventually arrested and then strangely released on appeal in 2012.

Boko Haram again seems to spring from the same well as Maitasine, led by a charismatic anti government leader with thousands of disillusioned adherents, courted by politicians until inevitably going too far and clashing with the authorities. The death of the original charismatic leader and thousands of their comrades did not deter the followers restarting their rebellion, bringing forth a new leader of even more fervour and fanaticism.

These similarities only satisfy an intellectual curiosity and maybe give indicators for future revivalist, fundamentalist movements, they do not give an indication as to how to defeat the current menace.

Better resourced commentators or analysts can find other commonalities but the most glaring one is that within the cross border communities of North Eastern Nigeria and Northern Cameroun is a ready audience for a virulent strain of fundamentalism that defies logic and defies negotiation. There is no reasoning with a man who declares himself a prophet in a religion he has just declared false.

These groups are interestingly personality based, yet the demise of the leading personality does not destroy the group, it brings to the forth other leaders who operate within the same vein. There is very little ideology, theology or any other sort of narrative of the group other than you are either with us or against us. Thus decapitation strategies while useful would not lead to a lasting solution.

What is more telling is that social and educational conditions that such obvious mad men cannot only develop a willing following but continue to thrive despite setbacks that would deter more rationally based groups.

It draws one again to the depressing conclusion that there is no other solution to Boko Haram than a military one. Until the group is completely defeated it represents a threat to the peoples of the North East of Nigeria.

The other more pertinent lesson is that unless social and economic conditions change and an effort is made in the Islamic community to promote a tolerant and inclusive discourse, these incidents will reoccur again and again. The more things change, the more they stay the same

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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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