Nigerian Army has hinted its soldiers who have just returned from the United Nations’ peacekeeping mission in Darfur to get prepared for a new posting to North East region to combat Boko Haram terrorists.
The soldiers were told that their selfless service, respect for others and integrity that have enabled them to perform successfully in Darfur will also be the underpinnings of their success when they undertake counter-terrorism operations in the warzone after specific trainings.
The General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Lagos, Maj.-Gen. Isidore Edet, revealed the plan while addressing the returnee-soldiers.
According to reports by News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, 800 soldiers were inducted into the mission on December 28, 2014 and no soldier was lost during the 12-month operation, and Gen. Edet said the soldiers would be posted to Maiduguri after a disembarkation leave and training.
He said, “You are back to your country and you are back to your duties. The Federal Government of Nigeria is currently implementing the change agenda and the core values of the Nigerian Army, which are courage, discipline and loyalty. After your disembarkation leave, the training will prepare you for the operations in the North East. You are aware that the operational capability of Boko Haram terrorist has been seriously degraded to the extent that they can no longer have the freedom of action in carrying out attacks on troop locations and mini villages.
“But Boko Haram has to be defeated in detail to set the conditions for the first phase of the counter-insurgency campaign. As you know, there are three major frameworks of counter insurgency operations which are to clear the insurgents, hold the ground and build,’’ he said.
”So we are gradually transitioning from the clear and hold phases to the build phase where the Federal Government, NGOs and international governmental organisation will be engaged in rebuilding and reconstruction efforts in the North-East of Nigeria.
“And your expertise will be required in that phase because you will be required as experts in the delivery of security entitlements to your countrymen and women in the North-East.’’
The GOC also advised the soldiers to give a good account of themselves in any of the locations they would be deployed to in the North-East.
“You have done your country proud and you should be proud of yourselves and achievement. But you will not be proud if after your disembarkation leave and retraining, you go back as a unit to any of the locations in the North-East and you don’t give a good account of yourselves,’’ he said.
The GOC commended the soldiers for gallant and credible performance in their peacekeeping mission in Darfur, especially for having successfully repelled an attack in Darfur, killing five of their attackers and capturing their weapons.
“On behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, I am delighted to warmly welcome you back from your tour of duty in the UN mission in Darfur to Nigeria. So, I want to warmly welcome you back into the hands of your family who have been praying for your safe return. Your significant contribution to international peace and security under the auspices of the UN underscores the fact that the Nigerian Army is a force for good in the world,’’ he said.