The Coalition of Northern Civil Society Organisations has said the recent attack on the convoy of Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum by suspected Boko Haram insurgents was cowardly instigated for propaganda to show relevance.
The CSOs however urged the Nigerian military to sustain its current onslaught against terrorists in northern Borno.
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The CSOs insisted that the recent attacks by the sect were “born out of desperation to remain relevant amidst massive success by the troops.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Abuja through its spokesperson, Chief Aper Adam, the group said “Boko Haram’s new penchant for targeting Governor Babagana Zulum is a frantic attempt to satisfy its financiers by making a high-profile score.
It added that the terrorists’ use of Improvised Explosive Devices, especially on bad roads, to attack troops and innocent citizens is another new tactics.
While calling on the state government to fix major roads in parts of northern Borno, the CSOs urged the troops to maintain the momentum.
Eight policemen and three Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) personnel on the convoy of the Borno State government were killed last week Friday while 13 others sustained injuries as a result of an ambush by Boko Haram/ISWAP militants.
They were heading to Baga in respect of Government’s effort to relocate indigenes of Baga to their ancestral home.
Governor, Babagana Zulum, who was expected to supervise the arrival of the IDPs at Baga, had left Maiduguri earlier in the day via a military helicopter.
Read the full statement below:
Gentlemen of the press, just as we were preparing the text of this press conference to decry the lingering of Boko Haram activities in northern Borno, attacks on the Governor of Borno State and the determination of the Nigerian military to end the insurgency as quickly as possible.
Let’s start by saying that the targeting of the governor is a worrisome trend of Boko Haram/Islamic state West Africa Province (ISWAP). It can only be described as a resort on the part of Boko Haram/ISWAP to desperate measures to remain relevant in Northern Borno. It is unfortunate that the terrorists, who have lost practically all their camps to the anti-terrorism operation of the Nigerian military, are attempting to make their last stand using Governor Zulum’s convoy as prop.
There are other possibilities we are looking at as well because there have been two of such attacks in the last one month, with the one of last Friday though the Governor was not in the convoy being the deadliest and another one on Sunday which was successfully repelled. Knowing that the Governor has adequate security cover from the military and other security agencies, we can only conclude that Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists have gone full kamikaze because their game is up.
Nigerians would have noticed that Boko Haram/ISWAP was rarely in the news in recent months. When the terrorists do make the news, it is often report of them taking punishment from the Nigerian military. Boko Haram commanders are being blown sky high with bombs dropped from fighter jets on their camps. The destruction being visited on the terrorists’ camps is so severe that it has reportedly worsened the infighting among them while their wounded have overwhelmed their makeshift treatment centres and are spreading disease and infections among others.
This is a development that has made the financiers and supporters of Boko Haram’s acts of terrorism to have begun re-evaluating their continued expenditure on the group. These financiers are reportedly told the terrorist leaders that they will cut off further funding unless their fighters can demonstrate that they are still able to inflict disturbing damage.
The newfound penchant of the terrorists for targeting Governor Zulum is apparently a desperate attempt to satisfy these financiers by making a high-profile score. This is likely why they targeted the late Colonel Dahiru Bako and troops under his command in the hope of creating the impression that they are still able to strike high value persons.
In addition to this obsession with the state governor, Boko Haram’s resort to increased use of (Improvised Explosive Devices) IEDs, especially on bad roads, to attack troops and innocent citizens is another of the new tactics they adopted to tell the world that they are still relevant.
We call on Governor Zulum to review the protocols for his movements in northern Borno since the desperation of the terrorists is such that they could attempt a lone wolf attack with person borne IED. It would be a great disservice to Borno state and Nigeria as a whole if he should come in harm’s way from these sociopaths.
We further want the governor to beam the searchlight on political office holders and highly placed persons in the state, including those in his government, as these attacks could also be the radical elements of Boko Haram trying to harm him before the terrorists’ surrender he is championing takes root. The way the terrorists are able to pinpoint his convoy with precession should be of concern to all and could only be possible if someone from inside his circle is feeding information to the terrorists.
The Coalition of Northern CSOS calls on the Borno State Government to commence repairs of major roads in parts of northern Borno, which will make it impossible for the terrorists to plant IEDs without road users noticing and avoiding them. When the roads are in order cars will also be able to move faster and avoid falling into the hands of the terrorists.
We advise those that are propping up Boko Haram/ISWAP that now is the time to pull back from supporting the terrorist group. There is no hope and future for the Boko Haram members if they do not surrender for rehabilitation and reintegration into the society just as their sponsors are guaranteed to meet a disgraceful end.
Our appeal to the Nigerian military is to prevail on the governor, when necessary, not to visit areas that still have remnants of the insurgents, since it is now apparent that he is being targeted. He can defer his working visits to these areas when the indigenes and residents that are returning have fully rebuilt and bring about societal order to their communities.