November 24, 2017

Army to set up new base in Kano deadly forest

Recruits undergo training at the headquaters of the Depot of the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State in northcentral Nigeria, on October 5, 2017.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on Friday, said a Forward Operation Base (FOB) would be set up in the once dreaded Falgore forest in Doguwa Local Government Area of Kano State to address security challenges in the area.

The army chief announced this when he paid a visit to troops undergoing training in the forest, which once served as safe haven for banditry, cattle rustlers and kidnappers.

Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai looks on at the headquaters of Operation Lafiya Dole in Maiduguri, Borno State in northcentral Nigeria, on October 4, 2017.
The United Kingdom is providing expert training to the Nigerian military in helping to develop the skills necessary to tackle the terror threat of Boko Haram in North East Nigeria. Boko Haram’s Islamist insurgency began in 2009 and has killed at least 20,000 and forced more than 2.6 million from their homes. / AFP

Buratai said that the forest would henceforth serve as one of the permanent training grounds for the soldiers.

This, he said, was made possible as the Kano State Government had allocated the forest to the army.

A joint exercise tagged “WAZOBI Kungama” which begun on Nov. 17, billed to end on Nov. 25, is ongoing in the area.

The exercise is the the conclusion of training to assess the 76 Regular Regular Recruits of the Nigerian Army and other participants in tactical, command and control, as well as all manners of maneuver warfare on counter insurgency.

Other participants were drawn from Nigerian Army Schools of infantry and Artillery, as well as Nigerian Defence Academy.

Buratai said “exercise WAZOBIA Kungama is a training for Nigerian Army School of Infantry, as well as the Depot, where they put their students together on what they were taught indoors.”

He said since his appointment as chief of army staff in 2015, the army had been purposeful in its training schedules.

He added that “we have been seeing areas that have challenges and we bring troops to have a feel in real terms where they will be operating once they graduate and this terrain, vegetation and environment – Falgore forest is a very good training ground.”

He noted that the forest would both serve as training ground and provide the needed security to address banditry, kidnapping and other criminal acts common in the area.

He explained that “our presence will serve as deterrence, where our troops on training meet such criminal elements and deal with them accordingly.”

The army flushed bandits and other criminal elements from the forest through “Operation Harbin Kunama I and II ” in 2016 and early 2017.

The forest is in Tudun Wada, Doguwa and Sumaila local government areas of the state and extends its boundary line between Kano, Kaduna and Bauchi states.

It covers an area of about 1000 square kilometers.