Situation Friendly Forces
Nigerian Security Forces arrested a businessman dealing in tricycles and member of the CJTF Babuji YA’ARI who is allegedly part of the Boko Haram Cell that abducted the GGSS CHIBOK schoolgirls. YA’ARI is alleged to have planned and coordinated several attacks in MAIDUGURI since 2011 including IED attacks on customs and military positions. He is also accused of being involved in the murder of the Emir of GWOZA. Two women Hafsat BAKO and Haj KAKA were also arrested. BAKO was alleged to be the paymaster and reportedly confessed that operative received a minimum of N10,000.00 for each task, while KAKA was the armourer
Bala MOHAMMED the Federal Capital Territory Minister ordered all hotels to forward their daily guest list to the ABUJA Directorate of the DSS.
The heads of NIGERIA’s security and intelligence agencies attended a 2 day course hosted by the National Security Advisor on trends in crisis management by a team from the UK Cabinet Office at the Presidential Communications, Command and Control Centre Complex, State House, ABUJA.04 July troops patrolling BAGA Road detained 4 suspects with explosives and rifles hidden in a truck carrying fish and other goods
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister for Finance Ngozi OKONJO-IWEALA, stated that the Federal Government had adopted a 3 pronged approach to resolving the crisis in the North East focussing on Security, economic and political solutions.
Element of 7 Div supported by the NAF attacked insurgent positions in the vicinity of YAJIWA and ALAGARNO, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State reportedly killing several tens of insurgents.
MOPOL have been deployed to 3 government secondary schools in NASARAWA State after letters allegedly sent to by Boko Haram threatened to attack them. Students at Government Science Secondary School, LAFIA had begun to leave the dormitories out of fear of attack
Security has been generally increased in ABUJA, with police and soldiers conducting searches and basic security practices being undertaken at bus and motor parks
The Nigerian Army has detained 3 members of Boko Harams female wing who were allegedly recruiting females into Boko Haram, apparently targeting widows and young girls with promises of marriage too sect members. The accused were named as Hafsat Usman BAKO, Zainab IDRISS and Aisha ABUBAKER. BAKO’s husband Usman BAKO was killed in a firefight in SOKOTO with security forces following a raid on their house in 2012 which led to the discovery of an AK47 and 2 magazines. Hafsat BAKO carried on his activities. They were detained while travelling to MADAGALI, ADAMAWA State.
Vigilantes of the CJTF detained 3 Boko Haram suspects at MAIDUGURI Timber Market with rifles hidden in a pick up truck loaded with smoked fish. The suspects were intercepted at POMPOMARI Byepass Checkpoint, one of whom allegedly attempted suicide upon capture.
The chairman of the KIBAKU Area Development Association, CHIBOK, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State Dr Pogo BITRUS informed the Federal Government that the residents of KAUTIKARI and KAYA Towns had been ordered to vacate their homes by Boko Haram or ‘face annihilation’
63 women who were allegedly abducted by Boko Haram escaped from their captors. The women were allegedly abducted from KUMMABZA, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State, 2 weeks ago. The women were apparently imprisoned in a compound in the vicinity of GWOZA and escaped after their captors left them unguarded when they went to attack military positions in DAMBOA on Friday
Situation Enemy Forces
Gunmen attacked 5 churches in KWADA Village, CHIBOK LGA, BORNO State around 9.30am for over 2 hours with small arms and petrol bombs killing up to 30 people and burning the churches and other buildings. The gunmen then moved to KAUTIKARI killing several people. The gunmen also attacked NGUROJINA and KARAGAU. 6 insurgents were reported killed as well
An IED detonated along NNAMDI AZIKIWE WAY, ASIKOLAYE/ BAKIN RUWA Area, KADUNA, KADUNA State around 8.30pm wounding 2 people
Gunmen mounted on motorcycles attacked WALAMA, SHANI LGA, BORNO State at 2.45pm with small arms and IEDs killing an unspecified number of people and burning the Police Station and other buildings. They withdrew towards GWASKARA Village
An IED reportedly contained in a Peugeot car carrying charcoal detonated along AHMADU BELLO Way near MAIDUGURI Monday market in MAIDUGURI, BORNO State around 8.00am killing 119 people and injuring 69. Allegedly the driver was engaged in an argument with a Keke Napep Tricycle which attracted the attention of the CJTF prior to the device detonating
Gunmen mounted on 4 motorcycles attacked NAHUTA and BIGI, BAUCHI State with small arms and machetes killing 1 person and injuring one other and burning over 50 houses destroying grain and livestock.
Approximately 15 gunmen attacked a market in OMALA LGA, KOGI State killing 5 people, wounding one other and killing some cows. The attackers are alleged to be from AGATU, BENUE State targeted Fulanis
Gunmen attacked KAYA Town, DAMBOA LGA, BORNO State. Casualties are unknown
An IED contained in a van carrying firewood suicide detonated at a JTF/ Police checkpoint near a mosque in KONDUGA, BORNO State killing a policeman and 3 vigilantes and injuring 10.
Approximately 200 insurgents mounted in over 10 pickup trucks attacked 195 Battalion, 33 Armoured Brigade and the Divisional Police HQ in DAMBOA, BORNO State with 2 x vehicle mounted AA guns, small arms, IEDS and RPGs, at 5.00pm killing an officer and 5 other ranks whilst majority of the troops were on patrol. 50 attackers were reportedly killed as the assault was repelled by air strikes. Other reports indicate that at least 12 soldiers including the CO and 5 policemen were killed at the HQ. 2 military APCs, houses, market stalls and other buildings were burnt and 4 civilians killed.
Gunmen allegedly from the Eggon Ombatse militia attacked FADAMA-BOUNA Village, LAFIA LGA, NASARAWA State with small arms killing 4 people including children, 2 women are reported missing from the Fulani village
Gunmen ambushed vehicles along the MAIDUGURI-MAFA-DIKWA Road killing 15 travellers
Situation External Forces
Gordon BROWN, former UK prime minister has called for additional funding to secure schools in NIGERIA and enhanced police, intelligence and military cooperation between the UK and NIGERIA.
The US Embassy in NIGERIA has issued a security alert to US citizens resident in NIGERIA to take extra precautions for their security particularly around the Ramadan period
Ramadan: Boko Haram’s Ramadan Campaign consists of a mix of IED attacks against densely packed public spaces in urban areas and small arms attacks upon population centres in rural areas.
It is a successful strategy and that is hard to counter but is equally hard to sustain.
Boko Haram has successfully reconstituted their IED networks, however the downside is that with every unsuccessful (and even successful) IED attack the intelligence picture becomes clearer allowing the security forces to disrupt these networks.
This week has also seen more aggressive actions from the security forces in terms of taking the fight to the enemy which has generated a predictable response of insurgent counter attacks which (if reports are to be believed) do not end as well for the insurgents as they expected. The reported escape of 63 female abductees also indicates that manpower and command and control are no longer as strong as before (or else a deal has been done).
The urban attacks while devastating cannot be sustained. As indicated by the numerous recent arrests, awakening these network to perpetrate these attacks, transporting IEDs, conducting surveillance and all the necessary parts of the IED attack cycle also leads to greater detection of insurgent operatives and the destruction and erosion of the IED cells and networks.
The constant attacks on villages and isolated security positions might generate a sense of fear, a huge IDP problem and significant casualties, but it also removes and alienates the ‘sea’ in which the Boko Haram ‘fish’ have swum. This costs Boko Haram recruits/forced conscripts, food, shelter, money and sanctuary. The increased surveillance from the #BringBackOurGirls makes mapping and targeting easier.
The conclusion one can draw is that all things being equal Boko Haram should suffer severe reverses in this phase of the campaign if they maintain their current tempo. Their ability to regenerate funds, arms and manpower generally stemmed from their safe havens in Cameroun, Niger and Chad. These areas (in particular Cameroun) now becoming hostile which ties up manpower, arms and funds defending their supply routes and safe areas.
This then poses the first question; that bearing this in mind why would Boko Haram activate their networks, losing suicide bombers, fundraisers, IED networks and resources at this point, rather than going to ground and rebuilding their forces and sanctuaries in preparation for next year when the security forces will be stretched by the election. Was this an act of desperation or hubris or do they genuinely have sufficient manpower, resources, funds and space depth to sustain this campaign despite their increase in enemies and hostile spaces.
The second question is how does Nigeria ensure that a defeat for Boko Haram in this phase, maintains its momentum putting them on the backfoot? Expanding the Army is one way but it begs questions of training, leadership and support.
It is the opinion of this commentator that this phase of the campaign should end in a defeat for Boko Haram (all things being equal), however Boko Haram has shown themselves to be extreme;y resilient and masters of adaptation, even if this phase ends in defeat there is no indication they will seek to end the conflict. As military physical training instructors never tire of saying the true test of fitness is not how fast or far you run but how quickly you recover for the next round. Thus the key question is not whether Boko Haram is defeated or how badly but how well or if at all they recover, an iff they are allowed to.
Seek and ye shall find: US forces have reduced their contribution to the ISR effort in support of the search for the GGSS Chibok abductees. Apparently this has nothing to do with the ISIS offensive in Iraq or the al Shabaab offensive in Kenya (apparently). Reportedly the French and British have taken up the slack (reportedly).
There are several instructive strategic lessons in this. First it demonstrates where Nigerian defence and security needs lie within the US strategic thinking and should hopefully be a wake up call for those believers in ‘American wonder’ coming to save us from ourselves.
The second is that this is an illustration of how the Western powers have distributed their sphere of interests. The US has clearly ceded interest in West and North Africa to the French and British maintaining significant interests only in Libya and Egypt. This makes sense as Libya contributed the most non Middle Eastern jihadis to the US War in Iraq, most of whom now control well armed militias in Libya, with access to Gadhafi’s weapons. Egypt the most powerful Arab country is also the guarantor of peace in the Middle East though its peace treaty with Israel, as without Egypt no conventional conflict against Israel can succeed.
Britain has been happy to concede the active or activist role in West Africa to France, however in the case of Anglophone West Africa must be involved or at least seen to be involved.
This informs the reality that any engagement with Western powers in West Africa will be through France, it is thus imperative that Nigeria devotes a significant amount of strategic and diplomatic bandwidth to relations with France and our Francophone neighbours.
However the more important lesson is the futility of depending on foreign powers for basic things that a government should do such as securing the land and populace.
The answers for every country, but particularly one as well resourced as Nigeria lies within. Even the World Cup showed that a tea of motivated footballers trained by a Nigerian Coach can go further than a team of foreign based stars with an expensive foreign coach.
An even more topical example is the recent mass escape of abductees. These women should be treated as a strategic asset as the information they hold on insurgent numbers, locations, movements, tactics and procedures, daily routine, morale and attitudes is invaluable. Much more than the ISR assets these women hold the key to defeating Boko Haram in Borno State or at least Damboa LGA. It is imperative they are moved from their villages either to the South or North West of Nigeria and thoroughly debriefed (as well as pampered and looked after). As with everything the answers to most questions lies exceedingly close to home