Boko Haram faction affiliated to the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) has launched 27 terrorist attacks on Nigerian targets and communities in the past two weeks, thus heightening the need to deploy more troops to regions most affected by Islamist insurgency.
This was disclosed to journalists in Abuja by Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas, after a security meeting he and other service chiefs and heads of security agencies attended at the Aso Rock Villa on Monday. It was chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Naval Chief who described the activities of ISWAP in Nigeria’s North East as “worrisome”, said that many of the attacks by the insurgents were repelled by the Nigerian troops.
“Just two weeks back we have had over 27 attacks from Boko Haram and ISWAP in the Northeast alone. Our gallant troops out there were able to repel these attacks and even take out some of their commanders.
“So, it is a thing of concern but the armed forces of Nigeria are doing all in their powers to ensure that together with other regional partners, that the menace of ISWAP is contained”, he said.
To this end, Ibas revealed that President Buhari directed the withdrawal of troops from less volatile areas and communities recovered from insurgents so that civil authorities can take over while troops are redeployed to more needed areas.
He, however assured the public that the withdrawal would be in phases and based on “results of assessment of current operations going on in various parts of the country”.
“The nation’s armed forces are currently involved in various operations across the country, including the northeast, northwest, north central, the southeast as well as the southwest
“Threats assessment will be carried out to determine areas that are capable of being manned by the police and the Civil Defence; that is the position that was reached”, he stated.
The civil authorities are “to take back those responsibilities as the military draws back its forces from those areas to enable it focus its attention on other emerging threats and areas of concern”.
Ibas added that “Mr. President has directed that the council and the members of armed forces ensure a peaceful society in 2020, to that effect, we are more than determined to continue from where we stopped in 2019 and to ensure that we sustain our various operations to ensure a secured Nigeria for all of us.
“An assessment of what the military will do will be based on the situation on ground. It is not expected that the military will withdraw when it is apparent that there is still some threats in such locations.
“I’m sure we are also aware that the nation is procuring equipment for the military. It is is expected that before the second quarter of next year most of these equipment shall be in place.
“It therefore means that all our hands are put on ground looking at the technology backed surveillance that will enable the military react more efficiently and effectively.”