- Says terrorists do not subscribe to any religion
- ‘Their new strategy of targeting Christians’ll fail’
By Our reporter
The Federal Government yesterday revealed that Boko Haram terrorists have adopted a new strategy to unleash confusion and chaos among Nigerians by targeting and attacking Christians and their communities.
Their ultimate goal, the government said, is to provoke a religious war by creating the impression that Muslims are persecuting and attacking Christians when in fact the attacks were carried out by the insurgents.
These fresh insights were given by the Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed during a press conference in.Abuja yesterday.
The Minister said following renewed onslaught by “our tireless military” against Boko Haram and their ISWAP allies recently, the insurgents have apparently changed their strategy: “They have started targeting Christians and Christian villages for a specific reason, which is to trigger a religious war and throw the nation into chaos.”
He said the terrorists are changing tactics realizing how emotive and divisive religion can be, when exploited by unscrupulous persons.
“Lest I am misunderstood, let me repeat: the insurgents, who delude themselves as Muslims whereas they are nothing more than blood-thirsty, rapacious killers who subscribe to no religion, have recently started targeting Christians with a view to sowing the seed of confusion between the two great religions. This did not in any way
signify that they have stopped attacking Muslims. But they seem to now have a deliberate policy of attacking Christians.
“The attack on a Christian village, Kwarangulum, near Chibok; the killing of the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Michika local government in Adamawa, Lawan Andimi; the killing of Ropvil Daciya Dalep, a student who was also a member of the Church of
Christ in Nations (COCIN); and the killing of 11 Christians on Christmas eve, etc, fit into this new strategy,” he said.
According to the Minister, some people have misinterpreted this to insinuate a systematic campaign to persecute Christians in Nigeria. “This is absurd, and very unfair to the men and women who are daily battling the insurgents. The truth is that, having run out of options in their battle against Nigeria, the insurgents are desperate to stay relevant, to stay in the news, hence their cowardly and senseless strategy targeting Christians, as part of their increasing resort to the use of Guerilla tactics.”
He said government appeals to religious leaders, both Christians and Muslims, not to fall for this desperate move by the insurgents, not to allow them to divide us as a people and weaken our resolve to deal the insurgents the mortal blow.
“We must also give our unalloyed support to the military, which has also upped the ante against the insurgents. The resort to the increasing use of Guerilla tactics by the insurgents is a sign of weakness on their part. Contrary to the belief in certain quarters, these insurgents are getting weaker by the day, thanks to the gallantry of our men and women in uniform.
“The renewed vigour by the military in their war against the insurgents is paying off handsomely, judging by the victories they have recorded in recent times. These include:
“The killing of top ISWAP leaders at two separate meeting venues at Marte Local Government in Borno State a few days ago;
“A similarly successful attack against the leadership of Boko Haram in Alafa Yagayaga in Borno earlier this month;
“ The killing of Boko Haram Chief Judge in Lake Chad;
“The in-fighting in the leadership cadre of Boko Haram is a fallout of the pressure on the insurgents by the military;
“The continued foiling by the military of many attacks by Boko Haram;
“The continued decimation of the insurgents across the North-east, and;
“The inability of the insurgents to hold any territory or carry out the kind of spectacular attacks they used to carry out in the past, etc,” he.said.
Lai Mohammed also recalled that Boko Haram in particular used to be a fighting force, conquering and keeping territory, installing and deposing Emirs and also collecting taxes.
“It had the capability to take the battle to many states, mostly in the north, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, where it bombed the police headquarters, the UN Complex, shopping complex and motor parks,” he said.
He added that upon assumption of office on May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the Command and Control centre to relocate from Abuja to Maiduguri and rallied the support of our neighours as well as the international community. This, he said, yielded immediate results as Boko Haram was not only decimated, but all the territory under its control was recovered.
“The insurgents also lost the capability to carry out the kind of spectacular attacks they were used to, and then resorted to attacking soft targets, including churches and mosques as well as schools.
“Recall that Boko Haram insurgents didn’t use to discriminate between Christians and Muslims when they carried out their attacks in the past. Churches and mosques, Christians and Muslims were attacked without discrimination. When they targeted motor parks, the religion, gender, ethnicity or political leaning of the victims didn’t matter, as long as they inflicted the maximum damage to lives and property.”
He noted that apart from fighting insurgents, the military has continued to carry out development programmes in the North-east, as part of efforts to win the hearts and minds of the people.
The Federal Government, the Minister said, appeals to religious leaders, not to fall for the antics of Boko Haram and ISWAP, who are trying to divide us along religious lines by targeting Christians for attacks.
Their new plot, he said, is “the last desperate move by a decimated and disillusioned band of killers and psycopaths to stay relevant amid constant decimation by our gallant troops. We have what it takes to come together and foil this divisive and satanic strategy.
“We appeal to Nigerians to support the military as it moves to decapitate the insurgents. Second-guessing the military at this time is like playing into the hands
of Boko Haram.”