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Boko Haram and why it won’t go away, By Joseph Rotimi

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Boko Haram and why it won’t go away, By Joseph Rotimi

NEWISSUES, Abuja

A couple of months ago the commander in chief of the Nigerian armed forces announced gleefully that Boko Haram had been defeated “technically” and the terror group was incapable of launching any “coordinated military attack” on Nigeria’s military. PMB went on to say the terrorist group were not occupying any part of Nigeria. The nation’s information minister added that the terrorist group can only mount attacks on “soft” targets! You wonder what other type of target had borne the brunt of their attacks for the last seven odd years.

Not too long after PMB made the above declaration, an entity that appears to be supremely knowledgeable about things, namely, the leadership of the US Africa command (AFRICOM) said Boko Haram still controlled parts of Nigeria’s territory.

I suggested in the past that the Boko Haram problem was, and remains, an inside job with plenty of outside help. This line of reasoning was recently echoed by an Islamic cleric who said, “…Boko Haram is 100 per cent a Muslim problem, stressing that these people (the terrorists) are from amongst us and that the society was not doing enough to bring these elements out.” The cleric went on to opine that Boko Haram cannot operate in the southern parts of the country as they do in the north because they would be “exposed.”

The Islamic cleric’s observations is one of the reasons why Boko Haram has been, and would continue to be an intractable problem in Nigeria. There seems to be a local and international plan (for yet unknown reasons) to keep “pressing Nigeria’s buttons” until the nation surrenders to an agenda that hopefully would be clear in due course.

A couple of days ago, in northern Borno state, the army came under heavy artillery and a barrage of rocket propelled grenades that killed or wounded some soldiers until they made a hasty withdrawal. The soldiers were initially ordered to a town near the border with Niger (one of our neighbours) and they were about 38 kilometres away from their objective when suicide bombers tried to stop them.  It was after dispatching the suicide bombers that all hell broke loose. In the words of a member of the army group, “…Today at about 6:30 am (0530 GMT), two suicide bombers approached us and we shot at them and they exploded …. As soon as the explosives went off, there were barrages of heavy artillery fired by Boko Haram, who came in large numbers withheavy weapons. We took up position in our trenches and fired back but they kept firing RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades), which we didn’t have. We lost some men, I don’t know how many, and many others were injured. Some of us fled in disarray. We realised that we were outnumbered and outgunned.”

Obviously, we are dealing with a deliberate terrorisation of the Nigerian state and the terrorists are obviously still being harboured by a section of the populace. Nothing concrete can come from negotiating with Boko Haram until those pulling the strings are identified.  Boko Haram members are obviously pawns; the powers behind them, for the moment, appear untouchable.

The ingenious linking of Boko Haram to the so-called Islamic state; coupled with the distrust of government by many Nigerians, the terrorists are here to stay. There is definitely a military, political and local (town and village level) link to the madness. The neighbouring countries surrounding Nigeria offer unlimited possibilities of bringing all kinds of armament and materials for prosecuting a dark agenda since we really have no borders.

After entrenching itself in the country’s north eastern parts; Boko Haram is now receiving moral and spiritual inspiration from the worldwide Sunni-Wahabist power structure, which seems to have specific “plans” for Nigeria. These “plans” are carried out in tandem with local, northern political and religious elites and surrogates, who initially unleashed Boko Haram to help maintain their perch atop the country’s political leadership.

It is also beginning to look as if Boko Haram and the rampaging Fulani Herdsmen are now working together. If the proposed brazen Fulani grazing bill succeeds, it could help to “lawfully” accomplish what was initially attempted by force.

 

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