FOLLOWING the failure of
the Nigerian troops and the joint
forces to crush to meet deadline
set to end insurgency in the
Northeast region, President
Muhammadu Buhari has
solicited the assistance of hunters
and non-conventional soldiers to
conquer the insurgents.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls
that President Buhari had on May
29 reiterated the All Progressives
Congress, APC, campaign
promise to crush Boko Haram
insurgency in October, but when
it became apparent that the date
would be missed he shifted to
November.
However, the November
deadline also became a mirage
and he further shifted the
goalpost to December and has
consistently called in Service
Chiefs for briefing on the
possibility of meeting the target
including a statement issued
by the military directing Boko
Haram to surrender or wipe out,
next month.
However, it seems the
government has envisaged
another disappointment as the
President has since insisted that
ending insurgency would require
considerable time and cited cases
of countries including the United
States which have been unable to
crush insurgency in spite having
stupendous military might.
Now, according to AFP
report, the president has sought
the assistance of civilian “foot
soldiers” in the fight against
Boko Haram, by appealing
to traditional hierarchies and
centuries-old methods to weed
out the Islamist plotters in the
Northeast Nigeria.
The AFP report says that
the president has passionately
appealed to traditional rulers to
rally hunters and native-wise
fighters to come to the aid of
the Nigerian troops in the war
against Boko Haram.
The President, it was said,
urged the traditional rulers to
keep eyes and ears on the ground
and ensure local hunters and
other local warriors confront
the insurgents in their local
territories, even as concern
mounts over suicide and
bomb attacks in the northeast,
particularly in mosques.
“The ward head, the village
head and the local police knew
every new entrant into the
community,” Buhari said late last
month.
“They kept tabs on them and
detected traits of criminality
before evil-doers got the chance
to act against (the) common
interest. We must go back to
those rudimentary acts of local
policing…
“In this new phase of war, all
of us are generals, all of us are
foot soldiers, and all of us are
intelligence officers.”
Buhari has ordered his
military commanders to end
the violence by the end of the
year, after at least 17,000 deaths
and more than 2.5 million made
homeless in six years of conflict.
Human intelligence is crucial
to any counter-insurgency.
But claims of military abuses
against civilians in Nigeria, have
eroded co-operation and trust.
Boko Haram has also regularly
attacked civilian militia assisting
the military.
So Buhari now must rebuild
confidence by restoring the
public’s faith in the armed forces
to protect them.
The report says Buhari’s
directive may already have some
yields. Like many ancient cities in
northern Nigeria, Kano maintains
a strong traditional royal
institution led by an emir, who
tops a hierarchical administrative
structure involving chiefs at
ward, village and district levels.
The emir’s function is largely
ceremonial but he still wields
enormous influence on people in
temporal and spiritual matters.
Last year, he called for people to take up arms against the
militants.
With the current emir and
his predecessor having spoken
out against Boko Haram, Kano
residents feel duty-bound to
pass on information about
suspicious activity.
“Most of the successes we
have recorded against Boko
Haram in Kano were through
tip-offs from residents and the
local authorities, who report
suspicious new characters
in the community,” said one
security source in Kano.
“Appropriate security
measures” are taken once there
are strong grounds to suspect
an individual of belonging to
the group, the source added.
Nigeria security analyst
Jacob Zenn said Kano had
shown community patrols and
information networks could
work but there had been mixed
results elsewhere.
“There are some reports of
stopping insurgents but other
reports of civilian JTF (joint
taskforce) abusing suspects,
which is exactly what the
‘civilian’ community patrols
were intended not to do,” he
said.


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