NORTHERN NIGERIA INTERNAL SECURITY SITREP- Week Ending 31 May 2014

Situation Friendly Forces

24 May:

  • A man (Ibrahim TILITILI) has been detained in MANDARA GIRAU Village, BIU LGA, BORNO State after burning down several houses in the village, he was detained by local men and confessed to having been paid N2000.00 to commit the crime. He was taken to a local hunter and his paymaster identified and handed over to the police in BIU Town.

26 May:

  • Chief of Defence Staff Air Marshall Alex BADEH stated that the military knew the location of the GGSS CHIBOK abductees but would not use force to rule them out while addressing a #bringbackourgirls rally in ABUJA

27 May:

  • The NAF has flown over 1,148 missions to support operations in the North East, code named Op Zaman Lafia according to the Chief of Air Staff, with 644 ground attack/ close support missions. 332 reconnaissance/ surveillance and 172 for airlift missions

28 May:

  • Media reports indicate that the Nigeria Army has identified 3 camps where the GGSS CHIBOK abductees are being held at MADAYI, DOGON CHUKU and MERI, west of LAKE CHAD
  • Defence HQ announces that ‘scores’ of bomb suspects have been arrested around the country by the security forces
  • 4 more girls missing from GGSS CHIBOK have reappeared. The circumstances of their reappearance is unclear. Certain reports indicate they escaped, others they were released due to ill health and others that they were undeclared and hiding with their families. It is believed the girls escaped shortly after the original abductions and remained in hiding

29 May:

  • President JONATHAN orders a ‘full scale operation’ against Boko Haram. The details, scope, nature, duration and composition of this offensive were not specified
  • Soldiers at a checkpoint in the vicinity of BAMA, BORNO State detained a man alleged to be a bomb expert responsible for 3 major bomb attacks. He aroused suspicion due to his expensive laptop, multiple flash drives, maps and sophisticated communication equipment as he was heading in the direction of SAMBISA Forest

30 May:

  • Minister for Youth Development Boni HARUNA announced and amnesty/ integration programme for Boko Haram fighters who lay down their arms

31 May:

  • President Goodluck JONATHAN and Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA met in ABUJA to discuss the insurgencies in MALI and NIGERIA

Situation Enemy Forces

25 May:

  • Gunmen attacked KAMUYYA Village, BIU LGA, BORNO State with small arms and IEDs. 29 people were captured and executed in the 2 hour attack. The gunmen has apparently visited a week previously to demand N250,000.00 for ‘God’s work’ from the villagers, they allegedly could only come up with N70,000.00. the insurgents also burnt houses, vehicles and stole food and detergent
  • Gunmen attacked KUBLA, MADAGALI LGA, ADAMAWA State with small arms killing 21, with 18 missing, burning property and stealing foodstuff. A response team from the Army engaged the insurgents in a nightlong firefight killing one attacker and capturing 2 others
  • Nomadic gunmen attacked CHENKAI Village, WUKARI LGA, TARABA State with small arms and machetes around 11.00pm killing 16 people, injuring 39.
  • Media reports Boko Haram released another video via an intermediary as proof of life of the GGSS CHIBOK abductees
  • Gunmen mounted on motorcycles attacked KAMUYA Village, BORNO State with small arms killing 24 people
  • Gunmen mounted in 3 pickup truck and on motorcycles attacked KANUYYA Village, BIU LGA, BORNO State

26 May:

  • Gunmen mounted on motorcycles attempting to attack ATTAGARA Village, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State were captured by local residents. 10 were captured of whom 3 escaped and 7 unfortunately died in custody.
  • Gunmen mounted attacked a military base and police station in BUNI YADI, GUJBA LGA, YOBE State with small arms, RPGs around 8.00pm killing 18 soldiers and 15 police officers. The attackers mounted in 6 pick up truck and APC type vehicle and motorcycles apparently wore military style uniforms and pretended to be soldiers in order to gain access to the base, then burnt the bases, several properties and vehicles. The attackers apparently told civilians not to run as they were only there for the security forces and allegedly featured at least one English speaker
  • Gunmen attacked a Special Task Force (STF) patrol in GIDA BUA Village, LANGTASNG SOUTH LGA, PLATEAU State killing 4 soldiers. 5 others survived the ambush
  • Gunmen mounted on motorcycles have attacked a series of villages in ASHIGASHIYA Ward, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State with small arms and raised an unknown flag. 8 people were killed in CHINENE Village and 1 in AMUDA Village. The attackers allegedly hoisted their flags and burnt several homes and churches. The insurgents are said to have been massing in the mountains of IZHAGHATHAGWA for 3 weeks and carrying out attacks on the BAMA-GWOZA and GWOZA-IZGE roads.
  • 29 May: approximately 100 nomadic gunmen attacked MAYOKAM and DANBURAM Villages, BALI LGA, TARABA State around 3.00pm with small arms, machetes and bows and arrows killing 3 persons including 2 policemen, who’s rifles were also stolen. The attackers burnt a large number of properties.

27 May:

  • The Federal High Court, ABUJA allowed the prosecution to introduce 2 new witnesses in the trial of Senator Aliyu NDUME on charges of supporting terrorism. The additional witnesses include a forensic expert with DVDS of forensic analysis of Senator NDUME’s and Ali KONDUGA (a convicted Boko Haram terrorist) phones and an MTN employee. The trial was adjourned till 30th June and 1st and 9th July
  • Media reports indicate that the Federal Government is using 3 individuals as intermediaries to negotiate the release of the GGSS CHIBOK abductees. Aliyu TESHAKU, Ahmad SALKIDA and Steve Davis
  • 2 motorists were killed when they were ambushed by gunmen in the vicinity of WARABE Village, WAKANE Ward, GWOZA LGA, BORNO State on their way to MAIDUGURI

28 May:

  • Gunmen attacked NGURMUJI, MARTE LGA, BORNO State with small arms killing 40 people and injuring an unknown number of whom 2 later died, as fleeing villagers made their way to KIRENOWA Village.
  • 28 may: gunmen attacked vehicles on the MAIDUGURI-BAMA Road in the vicinity of AWULARI killing 8 travellers

29 May:

  • Gunmen dressed in military style uniforms mounted in 4 wheel drives and motorcycles attacked GUMUSHI BORNO State with small arms and petrol bombs around 6.00am allegedly killing approximately 42 people and burning properties. Gunmen also attacked AMUDA and ARBOKKO with small arms and petrol bombs around 2.00am people killing 9 people, injuring 13 in AMUDA and burning properties.

30 May:

  • The Nigeria Army has engaged insurgents in the ZHUR FOREST in the vicinity of SANGERE between GARKIDA Town, GOMBI LGA, ADAMAWA State and HAWUL LGA, BORNO State. Insurgents had camped in the forest and attacked travellers on the motorway, extorted money from local villagers and forcibly conscripted young men.
  • Gunmen mounted on motorcycles and in 4 wheel drives attacked a convoy bearing the Emir of GWOZA Alhaji Idrisa Shehu TIMTA, the Emir of ASKIRA Alhaji Abdullahi Ibn Muhammadu ASKIRAMA and the Emir of UBA Alhaji Ali Ibn Ismaila MAMZA II around 9.00am along the BIU-GARKIDA Road in the vicinity of TASHAN ALADE, as they were travelling to GOMBE via BIU to attend the funeral of the Emir of GOMBE. Most of the vehicles were destroyed and the Emir of GWOZA and two policemen were killed and a policeman escorting the convoy was injured,. Soldiers stationed nearby responded and drove off the attackers
  • Gunmen attacked KAWURI Village, KONDUGA LGA, BORNO State. Soldiers repelled the killing 31 enemy and injuring an unspecified number, 2 soldiers were killed
  • Gunmen attacked the villages of KANARI, WAZARDE and GULA, GAMBORU NGALA LGA, BORNO State around 3.00am with small arms and IEDs killing 42 people in the 6 hour attack

Situation External Forces

26 May:

  • UK media reports that the Federal Government called off a deal to exchange some of the GGSS CHIBOK abductees for Boko Haram prisoners. There has been no confirmation or denial from the government.
  • TURKEY has issued a travel warning to its citizens for NIGERIA, warning them to avoid ADAMAWA, BORNO and YOBE States

27 May:

  • CAMEROUN began deploying troops to the border with Northeast NIGERIA. Camerounian Defence spokesperson Lt Col Didier BADJECK states that 1000 troops would patrol the Nigeria border and engage Boko Haram

28 May:

  • The US State Department spokesperson Jen PSAKI stated that the US doesn’t have ‘independent information from the US’ to support Air Marshall BADEH’s assertion that the Nigerian military knew where the GGSS CHIBOK abductees were. Media reports also indicate the President of the Federal Republic also expressed disquiet with the CDS’s statement

30 May:

  • Leaders of ECOWAS met in GHANA to discuss insecurity in NIGERIA and MALI

 

Insurgent Incidents

 

IED Vehicle IED Suicide IED Small Arms Small arms+IED Other wpns Theft Kidnapping Foreign attacks
0 0 0 16 2 0 0 0 0

 

Analysis:

Marching on the stomach: Boko Haram has fairly comprehensively regained and retained the initiative in this conflict. Not just tactically and operationally but for the first time strategically

The obvious question is why the proliferation of #BringBackOurGirls assets, increased troop number and renewed strategic focus have not reduced attacks? The answer quite simply is time, distance and resources. In a huge area, the enemy has the luxury of picking their targets to which the security forces need the time to cover the huge distances in order to respond. Those forces that do respond are either insufficient, inappropriate or inadequately equipped and postured to respond. Sending Alphajets to respond to an attack in a built up area against unformed dismounted troops no longer has any effect as these troops are thoroughly battle inoculated and know how to use terrain and cover to avoid attack. Likewise defending villages with 10-15 troops in poorly built outposts is inviting disaster.

There is a military  adage that goes ‘enthusiasts talk about weapons, amateur’s tactics, professionals logistics’.

And this war will be won and lost on the latter two.

The problem is that the AO is huge, there are insufficient troops to task and the troops that are there are not organised or supported in the optimal fashion. The enemy has the luxury of a plethora of isolated targets to attack or feed off. The practice of paying protection money has been refined to a fine art with villages that ‘cough up’ being spared and those that default being destroyed.

To defend every isolated village would require not just more manpower than the entire Army has but a highly complex logistic system that world see supply convoys running 24 hours just to sustain these outposts.

There are 2 possible solutions to this problem increased manpower or increased mobility.

The reality is that the optimal solution is neither simply increased manpower or increased mobility but a mixture of both utilising flexible, terrain and task specific tactics techniques and procedures, based around basic weapon systems, appropriate training and supported by a massive and intelligent logistics system.

In as much as weapons are nice and shiny and tactics are interesting, the key to success in warfare is Logistics or in modern parlance Sustainment.

This brings us neatly to the current #BringBackOurGirls  focus on Nigeria and the interested foreign powers ‘complicated relationship’ with Nigeria.

In as much as the pundits and media focus is on the sexy items such as UAV’s or Special Forces action, the reality is the former can at best help shape the battlefield and the latter cannot have any effect in this situation beyond getting hostages killed.

With the foreign powers are casting around for ‘something’ to do to look effective they can do little worse than providing ‘non lethal’ aid in terms of increased mobility both protected such as MRAPs, MRAVs and trucks, light non militarised aircraft (like the Pilatus), training and equipping logisticians and even better setting up a comprehensive medical system, not just for the military but one that also caters for the civilian population.

The provision of non military sustainment expertise and surplus equipment not only circumvents restrictions on cooperating with human rights suspect units, but helps the foreign powers keep the units and experts they have developed over the years busy. It is also an extremely positive message to sell to home populations tired of conflict and wary of another slippery slope. It would also help these powers get rid of surplus equipment lying around after wars in Afghanistan and possibly tie Nigeria into maintenance and spares contracts which again is to their benefit.

The Nigerian Government as well would be less touchy about accepting such items and skills than they would other types of assistance,

There is a valuable argument to be made for non lethal aid provision. There are no shortage of weapons in Nigeria, however the less sexy stuff is neglected in virtually every Army up until the point its needed.

If people are desperate to do ‘something’, here’s ‘something’ they can do.

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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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