To conquer Boko Haram, the military and the federal government should adopt new tactics. My suggestion to the federal government is to evacuate all the villagers to the cities in the three affected states, since Boko Haram have shifted their dastardly activities from the cities to the villages because of the concentration of security men in the cities.
This will enable the military to engage the insurgents fully militarily without fear of civilian casualties. This can be carried out one state after the other and this will bring effective coordination between the Army/Airforce and other security agencies.
As it is now, the military has been careful in their operations not to destroy the civilians they are trying to protect. If the civilians are evacuated from all the black spots in the three states, the military will be free to bombard all the Boko Haram’s hideouts or bunkers without fear of civilian casualties. By so doing, they will be routed out either by killing them or by capturing them. If this is done, I am sure within two months Boko Haram will be a forgotten issue; although this exercise will cost a lot of money, there will be instant result. For instance, if it is flood that occupies these three states, will the government leave the people to die? Therefore, it is possible to evacuate the villagers to enable the military face Boko Haram squarely and professionally.
The military are doing their best. It is easier said than done – some arm chair critics sit in the comfort of their offices to write whatever comes to their heads against the military not minding that the military we are talking about are human beings with their own families. They are not fighting a conventional warfare; what they are engaged in is a shadow war, where you hardly come face to face with the enemy before he strikes. Recently, some so-called elders from the north threatened to drag the former Chief of Army Staff to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, claiming that the military probably mistakenly killed about 20 civilians. How do we want the military to prosecute this war against Boko Haram successfully when we continue to demoralise them by our actions?
Boko Haram mixed with civilians when they want to commit havoc. Are Boko Haram not civilians too? They only wear military camouflage when they want to release communiqué. The military is in a dilemma regarding separating the chaff from the wheat because Boko Haram members live amongst the people and they have no symbol or mark to identify them.
Now that school children have become endangered species, what do we do to put an end to Boko Haram’s dastardly acts against school children? Fifty-nine school children were killed in BuniYadi, Yobe State, 37 children in Adamawa State, which were just the recent incidents. Sooner or later, parents will start the withdrawal of their children from schools which will surely make the north to be more educationally disadvantaged than before.
My message to Mr. President is that it is high time to look for the sponsors of Boko Haram; it is not enough to pursue Boko Haram members, pursue the sponsors as well. When the Police arrest an armed robber, he will recount his experiences from the first day he joined the robbery gang. Why don’t we apply the same method to captured Boko Haram members to spill the beans concerning their sponsors? Boko Haram mostly live in the jungle, how do they come about the Hilux buses in their convoys and the large caches of sophisticated weapons they are using. Where does the money come from? Let us be serious for once.
Oyegbile writes from Sabo Tasha, Kaduna