BY Kingsley Omonobi
As the military on-slaught to dislodge Boko Haram enters a new stage, and the agreement between the Federal Government and Boko Haram sect is breached severally, the Army High Command in Abuja has removed the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 division Jos, Major General Mohammed Zaruwa.
General Zaruwa, according to sources would be posted to the Defence Headquarters where there are vacancies for top army generals following retirements of three generals, two of them after 35 years in service, and one compulsory retirement.
Meanwhile, a new GOC,Major General F.O.Alli has been appointed for the 3 armoured division of the Nigerian Army.
General Alli was until his appointment, the Director of Operations at Army Headquarters. He has served as the Brigade Commander in Yola prior to his posting to Army Headquarters and had battled the terrorists previously. He was also at a time, the Principal General Staff Officer to the minister of defence.
General Zaruwa who had been in the forefront of the battle to recapture communities taken over by the terrorists in Adamawa and Borno states personally led the onslaught that wiped out hundreds of the terrorists in Vimtim, the home town of the Chief of Defence Staff,and during the advance on some communities in Bazza, Michika, and Gulak last month and early this month.
The Senior officer, who was the Military Adviser of Peacekeeping operations to the Minister of Defence before his appointment early this year as GOC, is highly rated in the military circles
When Saturday Vanguard sought to find out why the GOC was recalled, a source disclosed that it was a routine ‘Change of Guard’ posting which cannot be attributed to any shortcoming.
It will be recalled that shortly after the announcement of a ceasefire agreement between the Federal Government and Boko Haram sect; the terrorists breached the agreement by attempting to catch Nigerian soldiers unawares in Damboa, a strategic community close to Maiduguri, hoping that the directive by the Chief of Defence Staff not to attack will be heeded.
Saturday Vanguard was however told that despite the directive to ceasefire, military commanders were told to use their prerogative to defend their positions if attacked. Hence the plot by the terrorists to attack Damboa thinking that soldiers will fold their hands and allow them was quickly understood and they were repelled.
Since then, the terrorists have attacked communities in Adamawa State, abducting women andyoung girls while detonating of bombs in Bauchi and several other places in the North East.
A senior officer who spoke with Vanguard last Friday when the ceasefire was announced, had expressed apprehension about the development asking, “Why is it now that new weaponry had arrived the country, more counter-terrorism trained security operatives had arrived and the military were preparing for the final onslaught, that Boko Haram wants ceasefire?
‘Let us hope that after many of their commanders and hundreds of followers were killed including the former impostor, Bahsir, in several confrontations in Konduga, this is not a ploy to buy time and carry out more conscription or recruitments”, the officer said.
Only on Thursday, scores of women and girls from two communities Adamawa state were by suspected militants at night. Among villages attacked are Waga Mangoro and Garta – are close to Madagali and Michika towns.
In another attack in Azare, Bauchi State, five people were killed in a bomb blast.
Bauchi State Police Command has confirmed that five persons killed in the bomb explosion that also left 12 others injured.
Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Haruna Mohammed, said in a statement that the blast occurred at about 21.45 hours on Wednesday when an improvised explosive device planted at a motor park in Azare was detonated.
He disclosed that the injured persons are now receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre, Azare, adding that investigation into the incident has commenced.