BY KINGSLEY OMONOBI
ABUJA—Following the strategy of soft and isolated attacks on innocent citizens in villages in the North by Boko Haram terrorists, the military has launched a manhunt for remnants of the terrorist group.
Vanguard gathered that the seventh division of the Nigerian Army with headquarters in Maiduguri is spearheading the manhunt with headquarters at Mongonu, Yola, and the Multi-National Joint Task Force, Baga, as well as the battalion in Yobe, all working in synergy to stop the isolated attacks.
Sources told Vanguard that among the tactics to be employed in dealing with the menace of the terrorists, said to be leader-less at present, is to lay siege for them.
It would be recalled that Boko Haram terrorists have carried out isolated attacks on unsuspecting villagers, despite the demise of its top two top leaders.
A security source speaking under condition of anonymity said the unco-ordinated attacks was on-going as there was no longer a central command for the terrorists, adding that the problem of vacuum created by the deaths of their leaders was beginning to manifest.
The source said: “The lack of a succession plan, owing to the fact that troops of the Nigerian military have either snuffed life out of their next generation leaders during the dislodgement of the camps in the Sambisa Forests and Gwozar Hills, among other hideouts, is a pointer to disintegration of the group.”
Consequently, the source said a directive had been issued from the Presidency that the military should go all out for the remnant and leader-less members going about attacking, killing and robbing isolated villages and hamlets to try to paint a picture that Boko Haram was still a force to reckon with.
Vanguard recalls that in the last few days, the sect had attacked villages in Borno State, killing scores of people, despite the dislodgement of the group from camps in the North East.
No fewer than 50 people had been killed in these attacks, leading to questions about the alleged victory claimed by the military over the sect in the on-going state of emergency and killing of Shekau.
A senior military officer said: “The attack on these villages is condemnable. They are doing this as a reaction to defeat. They are engaging in desperate action to draw attention to ensure that the public still realize their existence.
“But with the level of co-operation we are receiving from members of the public, such attacks would soon be over.
“Two factors are largely responsible for the terrorist attacks on those villages in Borno State; one, terrorists operate by cells, with orders coming from the centre and until the same centre gives a contrary command or order, there is no looking back by the cells.
“With the death of Shekau and Bama, there is no succession plan hence they are in disarray and there is no one to give another command to those cells again.
“Two, some of the remnants who are aware of the defeat are fighting hard to draw attention of sympathy to themselves.
“This is why you are hearing all those pockets of attacks but we are after every one of them, they would be arrested and made to face sanction of the law. What they are doing amounts to treason and we would make sure they are arrested.”
Reminded of the amnesty promised by President Goodluck Jonathan to the group, the source said “that is the political solution but since they have rejected it, we would make sure none of them escapes.
“The new Army Command is doing a lot of work in that direction although we are not interested in celebrating what the command is doing for now. At the right time, the military authorities would handle that.”