By Anthony Kolawole
Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. TY Buratai is immensely gifted with enough dosage of enviable leadership qualities. He is a patriotic, selfless, dutiful, hardworking, humane and committed soldier, who is imbued with flair of swift responsiveness to emergencies, anywhere duty beckons.
He has demonstrated this time and time again, as patriotically reenacted last week in Damasak, Borno state. Heavily armed terrorists from the camp of the Boko Haram factional leader, Musab Al Barnawi reportedly invaded the 145 Battalion of the Operation Lafiya Dole of Nigerian Army in the locality.
The Al Barnawi faction of Boko Haram also flaunts its allegiance to the Islamic State in West Africa( ISWA) and it specializes in targeting the military formations and locations,while its ideology is aversed to attacks on civilians. The factional sect appeared to have challenged the prowess of the COAS by launching an attack on the military post in Damasak, while he was in Gudumbali.
The assault on the military post was designed to overrun soldiers and recapture the town. But least to their expectations, they met a stronger and more superior force in the Nigerian troops who repelled their invasion in a few hours, with virtually no serious casualty.
Surprisingly though, online media bandied horrifying casualties figures on the side of both troops and civilians. This was further embellished with the hype of a terrifying magnitude of destructions and so-called sacking of scores of villages by the terrorists.
The social media platforms painted a very gloomy picture of the insurgents’ battle with troops, and tinged the victory in favour of the invading terrorists. But nothing of what was publicized had the semblance of truth.
But as usual, the workaholic COAS and leader of the counter-insurgency operations, who could not believe the propagated flat defeat of his troops, anywhere in the Northeast, set out to the war zone with the fury of a wounded lion. He landed at the spot of the first terrorists offensives on troops at Gudumbali in less than 24 hours to personally ascertain what really transpired.
Only few Nigerians would appreciate what the Army Chief did, except they flashback to know his predecessors dreaded such actions. But Gen. Buratai was not inhibited by any psychological or artificial hurdle.
Deep down his heart, the Army Chief was obviously very furious, because the journey to Gudumbali seemed like eternity to him. He hungered to hit the destination in a jiffy and witness for himself how a ragtag army would seize a military post of the Nigerian Army under his sentinel.
From the falsified versions of the attacks by online publications, which went viral and celebrated by enemies of Nigeria, Gen. Buratai’s fingers were eager to pull the trigger himself at the enemy, as he pondered all through the journey to the scene of the insurgents offensive on a military post in Gudumbali.
And in truth, the incident of Gudumbali’s battle with insurgents had the trappings of expeditions, which often spurred the Army Chief to lace his boots into the trenches with troops.
At the spot of the terrorists attacks on a military barracks in Gudumbali, the COAS confirmed personally, the falsity of peddled media tales of Boko Haram’s sacking of troops and seizure of the military facility and the entire community.
But truly, neither a military formation nor a village were sacked by insurgents anywhere in Gudumbali, as testified by natives. The locals narrated that the terrorists only invaded the local market and looted goods and money from the traders. And thereafter headed for the military post where they met stiff resistance. The Army Chief interacted with troops and commanders.
Quite interestingly, and contrary to the imaginary amazing portrait of the attacks as presented in the social media or online publications, no troop died in the Damasak encounter, but seven of them were wondered. And in this instance too, the Al Barnawi Boko Haram faction, whose creed is to dislodge troops and capture military formations could not achieve the target, as earlier reported.
Pleasantly, what has kept resonating about the terrorists encounter with Nigerian troops is the fatalities the insurgents incurred at Damasak under the supervision of Gen. Buratai. It left the few lucky surviving terrorists with bitter memories to contemplate for a life time.
And even though, Gen. Buratai was still traversing the Northeast, supervising ongoing operations of troops, which lasted for a whole week; but media agents of terrorists were posting fabricated reports of terrorists sacking of military posts. He read some of the publications in the same locations and military formations, he was on ground interacting with troops, but the weird reports claimed, they have been captured by terrorists’.
Gen. Buratai, the Chief War Commander practically demonstrated to insurgents at the Damasak battle that with Nigerian troops, there is no respite for Boko Haram terrorists until the last one among them is humbled. Nor would they ever have their bloodied swords underpin the might of Nigerian troops again.
His supervision of the battle at Damasak and its victorious badge is a bold and courageous statement about the preparedness of Nigerian troops to fight to death,until Nigerians and the nation are liberated from the shackles of Boko Haram terrorism.
The Nigeria’s Army Chief flickers the image of the likes of Gen. George Washington, America’s foremost revolutionary fighter who wrote to his octogenarian Mother, Mrs. Mary Washington at the heat of the American Revolution. After months, mum hungered to see her son in the warfront, but Washington replied rather casually that he has become used to the sounds of guns and missiles and could not afford to miss the battlefront even for one day.
The appearance of Gen. Buratai and the supervision of the battle of Damasak, which led to troops’ defeat of the invading terrorists betrays him as a soldier who is never hesitant at war. And the results advertised another sore point in the desperate moves by Boko Haram to regain bearing.
The insurgents were told in the hardest way that the Nigerian troops have not dumped their courage and confidence for the cause of liberating humanity from the claws of evil and the atrocities of insurgency.
So, Gen. Buratai’s devotion, total commitment and patriotism to the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations are the invincible secrets of his winning streaks against terrorists. Anytime, they regroup and attempt a trial of their horrendous crimes against humanity, they are bound to meet their waterloo.
Impressively, the Nigerian troops in the battlefront share the same vision, secret and disposition on the war with Gen. Buratai, the generalissimo of the counter-insurgency and nemesis of terrorists. Both Buratai and Nigerian troops knows what the final victory against terrorists holds for the Nigerian people and nothing is left to chance.
Therefore, social media’s wolfhounds, can continue to feign terrorists winning of the war through online propaganda; but Gen. Buratai and his troops are dazing and demystifying the insurgents on the battlefield.
Again, Gen. Buratai has exuded his catchy and touchy patriotism and commitment to duty, as he spent time to interact with troops and commanders to properly grasp new operational challenges. And he has promised to speedily address identified challenges to strengthen operations
Sensing the deliberate misleading reports by agents of terrorists or their sympathizers in the social media, Gen. Buratai, also, a soldier-poet, while departing the theatre of war, scribbled these lovely poetic lines to Nigerians he titled; “The Turning Point” thus;
“Just leaving Maiduguri, After a week of fruitful adventure round Northern Borno.
Congratulations Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, Congratulations, our gallant troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE, Congratulations, Nigerian Armed Forces. Congratulations to all Nigerians. Great job done by the gallant troops of 145 Bn Damasak.
The Boko Haram Terrorists suffered a decisive defeat on 12 September 2018. This date marks the real turning point in our counter insurgency operations. The Nigerian Army is in full control of the Theatre of Operation. The criminal Boko Haram, lick your wounds. Your sponsors, sympathizers and collaborators, In the guise of social media journalists will all join you in licking.
Kolawole PhD wrote this piece from Keffi, Nassarawa State.