The Renewed War On Terror | Independent Newspapers Limited
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The Renewed War On Terror

Posted: Jul 22, 2015 at 2:52 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Life is precious, priceless and irreplaceable. Unfortunately, those who brazenly and brutally deprive others of theirs do not think so. More like vampire bats they thrive on bloodshed; causing human grief without batting an eyelid.

The terrorists are blindly driven by the dangerous dogmas of religious extremism. Any effort, in material and monetary terms deployed to protect human life should therefore, not be spared. In this regard one views the recent moves by the President Muhammad Buhari-led administration to stem the rising tide of terrorism, especially in the North Eastern states of Bornu, Yobe and less so Adamawa as auspicious.

It would be recalled that towards the tail end of President Jonathan’s administration, our military literally brought the insurgents to their knees by combining forces with their regional counterparts from Niger, Chad and Cameroun. With aerial drones and sophisticated weapons of war their hide outs were routed and many of the seized communities which the insurgents wanted to turn into caliphates recaptured. The general expectation therefore, was that the new government would quickly rein in the monster of the blood-letting up North, in line with the party’s campaign promises. Notably, the president re-echoed this during his inaugural address to the nation. But the scope and scale of Boko Haram attacks have since escalated since the end of May.

For instance, there is a renewed wave of attacks on soft targets including churches, mosques and markets. Over the past two weeks suspected Boko Haram gunmen cordoned off the highway that links Maiduguri and Damaturu and killed over 20 motorists. A few days later there was an attack on Gombe central market claiming some 50 innocent lives, who were shopping for the Ramadan festival. A day after there were twin bomb blasts which went off close to the prayer grounds in Damatruru, the Yobe state capital. This rude shock came at a time the new Chief of Staff, Major General Tukur Buratai  paid a visit to inspire and motivate his troops for the onerous tasks ahead. With over 1,000 lives so far wasted under the renewed insurgency the scary situation is indeed worrisome.

Be that as it may, Buhari’s decisions to relocate the military command’s headquarters to Maiduguri, the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency, sack the former military top brass and appoint new ones are seen as taking the right steps in the right direction. The salutary aim is to bolster professionalism by instituting some structural and administrative changes that would largely improve the modus operandi of the military in the counter-terrorism war. So good that the new Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Major General Abayomi Olonishakin is a much-respected signal officer, who recently left the Doctrine Command as Director of Communications. And the new Chief of Army Staff (COAS) has a solid background in the infantry corps which he amply demonstrated in the Niger-Delta not long ago. The National Security Adviser, General Babagana Mongunu was a time the Commander Brigade of Guards, having risen to the post of Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI) in the Army Engineering Corps. With such a wealth of experience they cannot afford to fail the nation because to whom much is given, much is required.

The gospel truth however, is that these worthy men of the military cannot do it all alone. As former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida has rightly noted, “information management is very key to confronting an unconventional warfare such as the one under reference.” They would need to coordinate their information gathering mechanism, interpretation and application in countering terror with the active corporation of the general public. Confidence building should be mutually beneficial. Churches and mosques as well as the media should be carried along. Parents must be there as protective figures for their children to prevent the use of under-10 youth from unleashing terror on innocent citizens.

Also significant is the cutting off Boko Haram’s links with other global terror groups; foreign and internal sources of funding, food supply, arms and ammunition. The war against terror must involve all of us to achieve the desired success.