By Chris Onuoha
Amid renewed attacks by terrorists in the North-East, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South), says the bulk of the arms Boko Haram Islamist group is using to terrorize the region, particularly his native Borno State, were stolen from the military and other security forces.
Ndume said the heat is on the terrorist group because the new army command is stepping up effort to rid the North-East of insurgency and other criminal activities, saying out of the group’s desperation to hold territories, they had resorted to stealing arms from security forces.
“The insurgents, too, now are desperate in getting arms and ammunition and the arms they use are the ones they succeeded in carting away from Nigerian soldiers and other security forces,” he said on Channels Television Programme, Politics Today.
“I know that small arms are coming from Libya and Chad but the bulk of equipment they use are the ones they succeeded in stealing from our armed forces”.
There has, of late, been a spike in terrorist activities in the North-East, especially in Borno and Yobe states, leading to attacks on communities and even military facilities.
The terrorists also lay ambush on major highways in the region, killing civilians and soldiers while also resorting to kidnapping.
The military fights back, oftentimes killing some of the insurgents.
But the Borno senator dismissed the claim that Boko Haram was taking over communities in the North-East.
“It is not really true that they (Boko Haram) have taken over communities in the North-East region but there are some communities the insurgents’ attack and they hold on to them because of the insufficient number of soldiers that are there”, he said.
“Like the experience, we had in Damask and Geidam recently; the same thing happened in Mainok where soldiers had to withdraw tactfully and came back with reinforcement, and they succeeded.
“Now before then, it is natural for the insurgents to hold on like they did in Geidam and even after, they went to preach to the people.
“The moment they integrated into the community, the Nigerian Air Force became incapacitated because they had nowhere to bomb noticing that they will have to cause collateral damage.
“But it is not like they hold on to a particular place permanently, no! What insurgents do is ‘hit and run.’ Like now, the heat is on, with the new army command stepping up effort and putting heat on them.
“The insurgents too, now are desperate in getting arms and ammunition and the arms they use are the ones they succeeded in carting away from Nigerian soldiers and other security forces.
“I know that small arms are coming from Libya and Chad but the bulk of equipment they use are ones they succeeded in stealing from our armed forces.
“This is what the forces are trying to guard against. I believe in the Army which I am working with closely now. “Let’s give Nigerian Army what they need to end insurgency and other forms of criminality in a short possible time. “That way, we give them a timeline and if they don’t do it, we can show them the way out”.