The chief of army staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, yesterday in Maiduguri, Borno State, launched some counter-terrorism campaign material which included a photo list of 100 Boko Haram kingpins declared wanted.
The photo list put together in banner form by the Directorate of Army Public Relations (DAPR), with messages written in different Nigeria languages, also had hotline numbers of the army seeking members of the public to call in if any of the wanted terrorists were identified anywhere in Nigeria.
Buratai, who launched the banner at the headquarters of the 7 Division, Nigeria Army, located in Maimalari Barracks, Maiduguri, called on the Nigerian populace to assist the army in identifying the wanted terrorists and sending vital information concerning them to the army.
The COAS launched of the photo banner shortly after he delivered the lead paper entitled, ‘Contemporary War and Reporting – the Dilemma of Military Leadership’, at the closure of the DAPR 3rd quarter study period for 2015.
Buratai had, in his paper, delved into the contemporary challenges of managing the image of the military in times of conflict amidst the complexities of new media where access to information dissemination tools are now in the hands of everyone.
He espoused that while the media continues to bow to the imperatives of seeking information about military operations, they should do so with some sense of national interest and security.
Buratai said while the Nigeria media continue to take the military to task over the presidential deadline to end Boko Haram by December, they should also be conscious of the fact that the deadline was, by inference, given not only to the military, but also to all Nigerians.
He said: “For Nigerian troops to succeed in the war against terrorism, Nigerians must take ownership of the military just as the soldiers are proud to be Nigerian soldiers”.
He also called on media practitioners to always stick to professional ethics while discharging their roles, and to imbibe the habit of seeking correct information from the army before going to the press.
“To avoid the unwholesome effects of unprofessional reportage, the media must clear from military public relations officers aspects of war activities that merit publication,” the army chief said.
“Deliberate efforts must be made to avoid sensational reportage. Above all, the media must be guided by the consciousness that they are stakeholders in the pursuit of national security.
“The media must emplace professional ombudsman to identify, ‘name and shame’ bad eggs in its fold. This is at the heart of true journalism and must be guarded at institutional and individual levels. “Media houses must address the needs of their staff and correspondents must rise above board in the face of inordinate distractions. The local media must appreciate that Nigeria, like other Third World countries, is a growing nation. The media must, therefore, defy actions of sections of the international press to condemn everything in the country.”
The army boss further recommended that “the media should ensure positive application of ICT tools in war reporting, while the federal government of Nigeria should institute measures to make Internet users accountable and sanction individuals found culpable.”
Troops kill 30 Boko Haram fighters in Borno, rescue 338 captives
The Nigerian Army has disclosed it rescued 338 people from Boko Haram captivity and raided the terrorists’ camps on the edge of its stronghold in Borno State.
In a statement, the army spokesperson, Col. Sani Usman, stated that troops of 28 Task force Brigade deployed at Bitta and Pridang had successfully raided some Boko Haram terrorists’ camps at Bulajilin and Manawashe villages along Bita and Damboa road.
“The raid on the fringes of Sambisa Forest led to the killing of 30 members of the terrorist group. The unit also rescued 338 persons that were held captive by the terrorists in the enclaves. The rescued persons who comprised eight males, 138 females and 192 children had since been evacuated to Mubi,” Col. Usman said.
He added that the troops recovered arms and ammunition during the operation.
Items recovered include one general purpose machine gun (GPMG) and two dane guns, 150 rounds of 7.62mm (NATO), six boxes of 7.62mm (NATO) and three cutlasses.
The vast Sambisa Forest reserve, the group’s remaining stronghold, has become hard to penetrate due to landmines laid by the militant group.
In the last few months, the military has ramped up its offensive into the Sambisa and surrounding areas with air strikes and an increase in ground troops.
4 Insurgents killed in Adamawa
Similarly, the statement also said that troops stationed in Madagali Local Government Area, Adamawa State, based on a tip-off, ambushed and killed four Boko Haram suspects.
It said the insurgents were on a suicide bombing mission to Gubula town in Madagali LGA.
It said the troops recovered two AK-47 rifles, Unexploded Ordinances (UXOs), mortar bombs and N153, 385 cash.
It said the onslaught against the insurgents was a follow-up to the recent warnings given to the insurgents to surrender or face full weight of the military’s action in the region.
“It is worthy to note that the raid on the terrorists’ enclave coincided with the chief of army staff’s visit to the Brigade Headquarters in Mubi.
“The successful clearance operations and ambushing of the terrorists have further degraded them and saved the lives of many innocent victims of their suicide bombings.
“Having appealed and given the terrorists final warning, we will like to state that from now on the troops will continue to decisively deal with the terrorists until they are defeated.’’
The statement appealed to the public to remain vigilant, security consciousness as well as cooperate with the military and security agencies to enable them successfully defeat the terrorists.
Boko Haram: NAF conducts 1,448 air sorties in 4 months
Between July and October 2015, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) conducted a total of 1,448 air sorties in support of the ongoing counter insurgency operation in the north east and also deployed over 300 ground troops from its special forces to fight along with the army in the field.
The chief of air staff (CAS), Air Marshal Abubakar, disclosed this yesterday when he received officials of the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) led by the executive director, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (retd) who paid him courtesy visit in his office.
“The Air Force,” he said, “is doing everything possible to see how peace can be restored in the troubled areas as soon as possible,” a statement signed by the NAF spokesman, Commodore Dele Alonge, disclosed.
According to CAS, the air component is fully integrated in the counter-insurgency operation plans and, as such, NAF is using different aircraft in its arsenal, including F-7NI, Alpha Jet, C-130 AC, Augusta 109 LUH, Mi-35, Mi-24, Mi-17 and Supa Puma helicopters, among others, to carryout logistics support, reconnaissance and combat operations.
“Where ever the army is going in the battle field, we give them the air support, provide intelligence and clear the ground for them to operate optimally. There are challenges no doubt but God willing, we will meet the expectations of the people and the deadline given by the commander-in-chief as the government is giving us necessary support and encouragement,” he stated.
Air Marshal Abubakar expressed his appreciation to the Centre for Crisis Communication for the important job it was doing in trying to streamline and harmonize crisis information in the country for effectiveness, noting that information management is critical to the success or otherwise of military operations, especially the counter-insurgency operations embarked upon by the Nigerian Armed Forces.
“If you manage information well, you kill the morale of the enemies,” he opined.
He disclosed further that NAF had embarked on a number of quick impact projects in the north east aimed at winning the hearts and minds of the people. In this regard, it has provided medical facilities, including clinics, medical laboratories, medical wards and drugs. It has sunk boreholes, provided 50, 000-litre over-head tanks, constructed toilet facilities and shelters for internally displaced persons in the north east.
FG ready to rehabilitate areas damaged by Boko Haram – Osinbanjo
The federal government has reiterated its readiness to rebuild and rehabilitate areas damaged by the insurgent group Boko Haram.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo stated this yesterday at the opening of the North-East Humanitarian Multi-stakeholders Engagement meeting at Government House, Maiduguri, Borno State.
Prof. Osinbajo, in a statement issued by his senior special assistant, Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande, said the meeting was the “expression of our collective determination to find the most effective and creative ways to intervene in restoring the dignity, family lives and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of IDPs in the North- East.”
He stated further that the North-East humanitarian stakeholders’ meeting was important not just for what it plans to achieve – namely to present and endorse collaborative efforts to the North East – but also for the fact that the meeting was taking place in Maiduguri which probably suffered the most loss of life and property in the six years of the Boko Haram menace.
The Vice President empathized with the North-East region, saying it had “suffered tremendously in the past with the destruction of infrastructure, farmlands, businesses and trades, the destruction of schools and the loss of school years”.
He ,however, said the rebuilding, restoring and rehabilitation will cost money and time but “neither money nor time can fix the trauma of loss of family, relations and friends, the shame and pain of the raped, the scars and fears of the parents of the abducted and kidnapped as well as the loss of homes and possessions and livelihoods, the hundreds of thousands of orphaned children.”
Later at the palace of the Shehu of Borno, HRH Alhaji Abubakar Ibn Umar Garbai, Prof. Osinbajo said he was in the state on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari to open the humanitarian stakeholders’ meeting for the coordination, communication and cooperation for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the North-East region damaged by the insurgents. He also said the civilian JTF who had been assisting the military would be absorbed by the federal government.
Earlier, the governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shttima had commended the federal government, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo for their commitment to restore peace and develop the region.
He also thanked the emergency and disaster mitigation agency, NEMA, for its tremendous support. He said due to the unflinching support of the Vice President, the military and civil society organisations, as well as the United Nations, peace and commercial activities had returned to Borno State and the IDPs had also returned to the state.
Other personalities who spoke at the occasion were the NEMA director-general Alhaji Sani Sidi, the UN Country Representative as well as a presentation by a member of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Interventions (PCNI).
The event was attended by the governors of Adamawa and Yobe states and deputy governors of the North-East zone, traditional rulers and regional and international funding partners.[Leadership]