#BringBackOurGirls: 1 down, 212 to go

13241162_10156939616645026_891492442053686684_nMiss Amina Ali Nkeki was freed on 17th May 2016 by 25 Brigade and vigilantes on routine patrol in the vicinity of Baale, 761 days after she and 276 classmates were abducted from GSS Chibok, Chibok Town, Borno State. She was positively identified by a vigilante and her mother in Mbalala village, of the 219 still unaccounted for she states 6 have died.

Her liberation is an important symbolic milestone in this conflict, what it says about the actual realities of the conflict are equally interesting

1)      She was found on the outskirts Sambisa Forest and states that most of the girls are still there. Nigerian forces have been fighting in the Sambisa Forest for over a year. It is overflown daily by Nigerian, US, UK, French UAVs and reconnaissance aircraft, it is photographed by satellite, and crisscrossed by air combat patrols as well as Nigerian ground forces, yet somewhere in its vastness are 212 hostages and their captors  which is testament to the size and complexity of the terrain and also leaves open the question that if Boko Haram can leave high value assets like the Chibok girls in the Forest, what else could be concealed there

2)      Miss Nkeki has a 4 month old daughter and was captured with her ‘husband’, Mohammed Hayatu. This confirms the general perception that the girls had been ‘married off’ to their abductors. It is also a high profile example of the problem of reintegrating former hostages and their children born of rape or forced marriage. The ‘husband’ Hayatu claims to be a forced conscript from Mubi. This is also a high profile example of the complexities of dealing with Boko Haram fighters. As a forced conscript he is technically a victim, however to be allocated a ‘Chibok wife’ he would have been a trusted member, thus at what point does a victim become a perpetrator? And how is he treated? As a Prisoner of War, a criminal or a candidate for rehabilitation? What takes precedence, vengeance, justice or rehabilitation and reintegration?

3)      The fact that this girl either escaped, was captured or released indicates that the dynamic within the final hard core elements of Boko Haram have changed. The group she was with were allegedly searching for food and firewood, if she was captured it indicates Boko Haram has been pushed out of the depths of the forest to the outskirts and are so desperate that they are willing to allow high value targets run free on. If she was set free, it was either due to the inability of her captors to cater for their hostages or as a proof of life or a demonstration of good will, or else maybe as a messenger for the rest of the group or their captors. Or maybe as a decoy to concentrate friendly forces effort in a particular place while the enemy operates elsewhere. If she escaped it indicates that the enemy no longer has the capability to guard its most valuable propaganda assets.

4)      Taken alongside the widespread use of dane guns rather than modern assault rifles, abandoned camps, the inability to mount successful strategic IED attacks, relatively few raids in Nigeria and the relative media silence of the group are clear indicators of a loss of operational capability by the group. The question is whether they will gain the operational and strategic space to regenerate or not

It is clear a decision point has been reached by the enemy, although involuntarily. Their military weakness means they are in the process of losing their most valuable bargaining tool and propaganda piece. Their options are to attempt to regain the initiative by murdering their captives or desperately try and gain some sort of advantage by negotiating, or else continue the campaign to its logical conclusion.

Boko Haram is not defeated or eradicated but barring any local or international intervention the conflict has reached a critical and hopefully decisive juncture.


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, Geopolitics, Nigeria Defence, Nigeria Strategy, Peace support, Peacekeeping, Stabilisation, Terrorism and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to #BringBackOurGirls: 1 down, 212 to go

  1. jimmy says:

    Good job Oga P, I beg make you no waste time with the conspiracy theorists.We who know keep quiet. By

    • peccavi says:

      Nice one Oga Jimmy but sometimes silence allows the conspiracy theorists to dominate the narrative

  2. lachit says:

    hey peccavi
    what will happen to the so called husband?

    and under Nigeria law does the BH husband have any legitimate claim over the girl and the baby?

    me thinks (100 % personal view for the sake of discussion only)
    separate the girl from the so called BH husband and ask her opinion if she wants to stay away from him if yes so be it and if no allow visitation right for 5 years only.

    also if she wants him prosecuted then it will be better to pursue it.

    finally get the BH dude for god cop bad cop treatment , squeeze as much as u can for intel and then consign him for 5-8 years labour duty ( together with limited monetary compensation ) to rebuilt what they destroyed like schools , houses, markets and roads etc .with access to family at given intervals depending on behaviour.
    do not allow any sort of religious teachings be it moderate or whatever (this from our personal experiences which I have some info on) otherwise it will backfire most of the time.
    allow him to absorb the positive aspects of physical labour hard work and a busy mind to develop rational thought process , regular contact with family and healthy R&R time will add positively to a changed mind set.

    pardoning him without any sort of punishment will only embodied similar cases of abductions slavery exploitations etc.

    totally personal view and for conversation purpose only

    • peccavi says:

      He surrendered allegedly so he will go into the DDR process known as Op Safe Corridor, I don’t know the details of the programme but the previous NSAs programme involved attempting to deradicalise prisoners and teaching them vocational skills.
      I’m relatively sure he will be undergoing serious interrogation as we speak, Nigerian interrogations are not pleasant.
      It is a fascinating legal question, to which I do not know the answer.
      Under Nigerian customary law, a child belongs to the father however under criminal law custody can be awarded to the mother. For a minor, it will remain with the mother.

      I would suggest her relationship with the fellow will be complicated, depending on his behaviour towards her, there might be Stockholm syndrome.
      It is a fascinating question really

      • jimmy says:

        Let me piggyback on that.Logically the BH terrorists surrended.His words were to the effect that, Hunger, Death, and constant raids forced them to strike out on their own.The idea that this man is her husband is not a funny joke especially to the Army intelligence.
        Depending on the magnitude of Intel he gives he will be so treated,meanwhile his deradicalisation will have to wait a while.
        There are at least xxx brigades
        stationed in the Damboa area bordering on the Sambisa Forests meaning a lot of people are interested in talking to him.
        As an Amir he himself knows Ammnesty can’t save his ass, only he can save his wretched ass and he will talk .

  3. lachit says:


    don’t get me wrong but let me confirm something, amnesty international has no legal binding on any sovereign nation, at best it is a NGO working for the paymasters and sponsors who ever they may be.
    you must have heard of the story of the camel and the tent,
    the camel was allowed to get his nose into the tent first , then his head , then his neck ……..
    until it booted out the owner of the tent 😀

    long story short Nigeria must not feed the troll (AI)
    give a inch …………. you will end losing the whole narrative .

    they tried to lecture us on Kashmir and was sent packing by a very harsh rebuttal from a very low ranked official of the foreign ministry.


    Stockholm syndrome (which interestingly is mostly exhibited in females),
    the girls from rural areas are very simple and innocent , so highly possible that it might be a factor , however girls are sometimes unexpectedly very resilient so if provided with employment and adequate support high chances are she might kick the balls of the so called BH husband tormentor someday as pay back.
    cheers to that thought !

    and my very best wishes to the girl and the baby and very very bad luck to the BH shit husband hope he dies very soon 😀

  4. peccavi says:

    Oga Jimmy, I count at least 8 Bdes I can name but I’m sure there are more.
    His intelligence will be useful and he will most likely cooperate as he has a better chance of coming out of this well than ordinary BH commanders.
    I must say (obviously) that torturing or maltreating him is not in our interest (as satisfying as it would be) as we need people like him to get the other forced conscripts to turn against the others or surrender so the hard-core can be hunted and killed.
    I don’t think torture would be needed with this fellow anyway. He knows he is a marked man.
    Oga Lachit: AI in an NGO, as irritating as they can be we need such groups in this world. Whether we like it or not I like the concept that there are still people who will stand up and defend even the most indefensible creatures.
    Afterall one day any one of us could be on the other side of the hill!

  5. lachit says:

    you are correct but you are also wrong
    it is quite a paradox isn’t it ,
    let me explain
    when a man points his finger to the moon the wise looks at the moon not at the finger,
    unfortunately AI looks at the finger to suit its objective of highlighting human rights (it is its bread and butter isn’t it ) while conveniently ignoring and over looking the bigger picture(the moon).

    as long as humans have human feelings, organizations however noble their mission be will always be biased in their narrative , because of the very same human feelings.

    depends on whose side you are
    and surely not on merit
    weaker nations take the beating while powerful countries go scot free.

    my experience is practical
    a fellow of AI from Netherlands ignored/suppressed their own reports of gross human rights abuses by a militant group in India.
    you know why because Netherlands had granted asylum and protection to the leadership of that group . some church groups in Scandinavian countries even from US are known to finance and back the concerned terror group which also controls the Indian side of the golden triangle.

    in short you have the stick you have the bull who cares if the bull or the stick is not yours 😀

    best check and balance option is the citizens of the concerned country itself not outsiders sitting thousands of kms away from whom deaths/misery of thousands of innocent people is just a report waiting to be filed.

    lolzzz just passing time
    how hot is it in Nigeria nowdays
    Indian soldiers nowadays cook their rice by just leaving it in the open though the time to cook is a bit long around 2-3 hours 😀

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