Borno And The
Changing Dynamics Of
Boko Haram
News of the surging violence by
the shadowy sect, Boko Haram,
has continued to inundate us
even if some no longer shudder at
screaming headlines of dozens
whose throats have been slit; the
extremists have sustained the
ongoing brutal campaign against
civilian and security targets.
The vicious group has showed no
sign of slowing down in 2014
with a string of coordinated
attacks from Borno to Adamawa
and Yobe states. It is
inconceivable and
incomprehensible in a state under
emergency, that terrorist attacks
in villages and towns last for
hours without any kind of security
intervention. The escalation of
violence between January and
February alone has claimed over
650 lives between Borno and
Adamawa. For now, Gwoza, Bama,
Konduga and Damboa towns and
all the villages around them are
facing extinction! The insurgents
have left on its trail: lives lost,
properties destroyed and terrified
residents fleeing their homes.
Guerilla tactics in rural areas have
made the people vulnerable
where Christians and Muslims
alike have been on the receiving
end of the morally reprehensible
sect’s abhorrent violence.
Borno, to Boko Haram, is their
spiritual home where the
‘struggle’ began. Losing the battle
on this turf to the federal forces
will effectively signal the end of
their insurrection. In this state,
their attacks have been more
vicious, somewhat sporadic but
with a high level of coordination
unexpected in a state under
emergency. Their resolve is
strengthened by the scores they
slaughter in the wee hours of the
night. The Nigerian military still
has a lot to prove that it is capable
of putting down the insurrection.
Guerilla wars (better known as
asymmetric combat) are the most
difficult to prosecute because the
enemies live within the civilian
population. Security operatives
become vulnerable because they
are identifiable but the terrorists
are almost invincible. It might be
asking for too much from the ill
equipped and trained Nigerian
military to wage a successful war
against them. Such an operation is
quite complicated and requires
cerebral personnel. It is doubtful if
the Nigerian military give
adequate training to its men to
fight guerilla wars – a 21st
century security challenge. The
unimpressive way the
counterterrorism campaign has
been waged by the combined
team of security agencies have
laid bare their conventional and
stereotype inbuilt structure of
warfare where there is a clearly
defined enemy in a well-defined
geographical location. The Nigeria
military’s symmetric approach to
an asymmetric counterterrorism
battle in states under emergency,
clearly, has failed. The spate of
almost daily attacks on hapless
civilians in Borno underscores this
point. Their modus operandi is
similar to all known terrorist
groups in the world. The
trademark of the organization is
blood, tears and sorrow with both
covert and overt violent assault
against police officers, military,
churches and civilian targets.
These persistent and mindless
killings from highly networked,
richly financed groups waging
insurgent war often from within
civilian population, use a
combination of traditional and
modern weapons. There tactics
can best be mitigated and/or
quelled by military operations
backed by the most sophisticated
and technologically advanced
security gadgets. It is a known
fact that the structure and design
of Nigeria’s national security is too
outdated to meet present day
security challenges. It has also
been reported that the morale of
the military and police is ebbing.
In contrast, Boko Haram is better
armed and motivated. Years of
corruption in the military and
police have robbed us of the best.
Consequently, the cruel marauders
pose a serious threat to the
nation’s sovereignty and the
continual harmonious co-
existence of the various tribes and
religions. The possibility of
overrunning the country is real.
However, Nigeria’s security
challenges are not
insurmountable. With
commitment and a dogged
political will from the government,
the nefarious activities of the
blood thirsty fundamentalists can
be effectively contained.
Furthermore, government should
tighten what many now regard as
the most porous border in the
world! We would easily win any
award in that category. There is
still an ongoing war in Mali; it’s
only been months since the Arab
Spring ended. All these have put
arms and ammunition in the
wrong hands. Those who
proliferate these weapons move
them across our borders to a mix
grill ready market of terrorists,
pirates, hoodlums, unrepentant
and backsliding ex-militants, 2015
election tugs and other criminal


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