Most of the recent attacks by the terrorists in the north-eastern part of the country, including the attacks on schools and villages, were done by some foreigners who have hijacked the Boko Haram sect.
Former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (rtd), who made this assertion at the weekend while speaking with some journalists in Abuja, said Nigeria alone cannot solve the problem.
According to him, Nigeria should adopt a multi-dimensional approach and persuade the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union (AU) for support for the counter-insurgency war to be won.
General Dambazau, who was the Army boss when the insurgency broke out after the killing of their leader, Mohammed Yusuf by the police in 2009, explained that during his time, the military dealt with home-grown terrorists but “from his present assessment, we are now dealing with complex security situation worse than that.”
He said the state of insecurity had become complicated with the involvement of foreign elements who have been invading villages and schools and killing anybody in sight even as he urged every Nigerian to rise against the insurgency.
“We are now dealing with people who kill our citizens, destroy property and violate our country’s territorial integrity. If we ignore this threat and allow it to continue, it will get out of hand,” he warned.
He argued that Nigeria as a country cannot resolve the crisis alone because of its porous borders.
He noted that the poverty, drug abuse and unemployment among youths and proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the North East were aiding the insurgents and called for urgent action to halt the menace.
He advocated border monitoring and the blocking of the routes through which the insurgents move, noting that drug and arms cartels under severe attacks in some part of the world were trying to gain ground in the region, like they did some time ago in Guinea Bussau.
Answering question of the possibility of foreign power connection, Lt Gen Dambazau said there are several conflict interests all over the world and charged the intelligence agencies should to work on the possibility. He noted that the insurgents have displaced so many Nigerians and the issues go beyond blaming a particular part of the country, religion or tribe.
He, however, reaffirmed his confidence that the army deal with the insurgency, but noted that the army adopts a conventional approach which is different from those used by the terrorists.