By Usman Jega
“Sure, we want to go home. We want this war over with. The quickest way to get it over with is to get to bastards who started it. The quicker they are whipped; the quicker we can go home.” ―Gen. George Smith Patton Jr; a Commander of the United States Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, following the D-Day in 1944.
I beg to be pardoned, if indeed what anybody would glance now hurts some feelings. But as Nigerians, we have lived under the spell of Boko Haram terrorism for years. We have seen the worst of insurgency in the country.
At certain points and precisely before the advent of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, insurgency was on the verge of completely obliterating Nigeria. The soothsayers prophesied it. And the executioners went to task and mindlessly executed it.
Ears heard the giggling nasty sounds of the consuming danger. Eyes sighted it’s raging fury and wickedness. Blood spilt recklessly and endlessly, sucking the land in uncontrollable tears.
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With chained feet and spirit, leadership was weak at all levels to interrogate insurgency. We all shrunk before the atrocious audacity of Boko Haram terrorists. And there were no pretences about it.
In fairness to my conscience, I won’t say insurgency has ended in Nigeria. But anyone, within or outside Nigeria, who says the sparking and consuming fire of insurgency has not been substantially blighted in the country today, under the Buhari Presidency, may with gusto challenge Almighty God to fisticuffs on who owns the universe.
Why have I strayed this far into such poetic renditions? I need to be excused because sometimes, and in the course of introspection, I blame my extreme curiosity.
But my curiosity to monitor the progression of Boko Haram and the efforts of the Nigerian Government in terminating a menacing scourge, I stumbled over something interesting. A foreign news channel, TV DW News played online a synopsis and video clip of a documentary done on Boko Haram activities in the Northeast, particularly in Monguno, Borno state, as latest as of August 26, 2019.
It had the caption; “Nigerians flee from Boko Haram to town of Monguno.” I got curious. The brief words of summary said;
“As northeastern Nigeria continues to suffer under the conflict with the terror group Boko Haram, tens of thousands of people have sought shelter in the town of Monguno, where a military base provides little protection, and food and water are scarce.”
I also took the time to listen to the video clip, expecting to hear something really frightening. But I got nothing! The visiting reporter really did a poor job of his assignment either out of deliberate negligence or mischief. I sensed him desperately, but fruitlessly attempting to amplify the tempo of a considerably waned crisis! He just had nothing in the report but speculated abundantly on it’s rising tempo.
I caught the foreign reporter with a first lie! What struck instantly was that the report was cast in a manner, erroneously conveying a message to someone unfamiliar with Boko Haram operations in the Northeast Nigeria to think, Monguno where fleeing natives took refuge was outside of Nigeria. But it was far from it.
Monguno is indeed in Nigeria’s Borno state, the former hub of Boko Haram terrorism. TV DW News reporter didn’t know they could not have approached the same town before October 2015 to package their self-betraying report on “raging” insurgency in Nigeria.
I laughed at them a dozen times because it was apparent they took for granted, the impact the COAS and emperor of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Lt Gen TY Buratai had done in the Northeast. Like the proverbial African cat, Gen. Buratai has nine lives.
The counter-insurgency leader’s brain consistently kicks with bustling ideas, strategies and tactics. Buratai has stepped out again against the enemy; but this time, propelled and prodded to action by Sun Tzu’s wisdom as enunciated in the Art of War thus;
“If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him… Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.”
Like Gen George S. Patton echoed, Gen. Buratai has taken insurgents by surprise by launching the Super Camp Strategy against terrorists in the final phase of routing out Boko Haram. He has exported the counter-insurgency operations to the doorsteps of insurgents or enemies irrespective of wherever they are found in the Northeast.
Boko Haram insurgents know exactly the fresh trouble this strategy embodies, added to the ongoing clearance operations. Sounds of Boko Haram bomb blasts are now hardly heard, even in the obscure parts of Northeast.
Gen Buratai is famed for his competence to decode the strategies of the enemy and engage in counter-strategies that weaken the war adversaries of Nigeria. Boko Haram knows it has found a good match at home in Gen Buratai and the Nigerian Army. And this leader of counter-insurgency is not prepared to fail his country. He pressures and conquers.
It’s now clear to all discerning eyes that like the American George S. Patton, the leader of the counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria, Gen Buratai wants a quick end to the war against Boko Haram terrorism. And he knows, the quickest way to do it is by taking the battle to terrorists. Therefore, terrorist camps in the Northeast are in complete disarray as troops give insurgents hot chase in their obscure hideouts.
Jega wrote this piece from Abuja.