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Published On: Sun, Nov 23rd, 2014

Troops withdrawn from emergency states

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Nigerian ArmyFrom Ado Abubakar Musa, Jos, Mustapha Isah Kwaru, Maiduguri and Joy Baba  with agency report

  • As NASS fails to renew extension
  • Insurgents kill 48 in Borno

Strong indications have emerged that Nigerian troops are being withdrawn from the state of emergency states in the aftermath of the failure of the National Assembly last week to approve President Jonathan’s request for an extension of the state of emergency in the three north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

This is coming just as the insurgents killed 48 fish vendors in Borno State, near the border with Chad on Thursday.

Although, Peoples Daily could not independently confirm the development as at the time of filing this report, a very reliable source who spoke to our reporter, on condition of anonymity, said yesterday that over 20 military vehicles left Yola, the Adamawa state capital.

Efforts to get the reaction of the military authorities was not successful, as the Defence spokesman, Major-General Chris Olukolade did not respond to calls and text messages sent to his mobile phone.

President Goodluck Jonathan had last Tuesday sent a request letter to the National Assembly to extend the emergency rule in the three northeast states over the constant Boko Haram brutality in the areas.

Many stakeholders are of the view that Boko Haram will now have a field day in those states as soldiers leave. The source said the President re-introduced the state of emergency, but that the House of Representatives have fallen into the trap as they opposed the state of emergency, pointing out that the president can deploy the military to any part of the country without declaring any state of emergency.

Meanwhile, 48 fish vendors were gruesomely murdered last Thursday, AFP reported yesterday.

“Scores of Boko Haram fighters blocked a route linking Nigeria with Chad near the fishing village of Doron Baga on the shores of Lake Chad on Thursday and killed a group of 48 fish traders, who were on their way to Chad to buy fish,” one Abubakar Gamandi has said.

He said the insurgents set up a barricade at Dogon Fili, 15 kilometres from Doron Baga, and stopped a convoy of fish vendors around midday, slaughtering some of them and drowning others in the lake.

“The Boko Haram gunmen slit the throats of some of the men and tied the hands and legs of the others before throwing them into the lake to drown,” Gamandi told AFP by telephone from Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.

Doron Baga, 180 kilometres from Maiduguri, is the base of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), comprising troops from Nigeria, Chad and Niger fighting the insurgents.

Gamandi claimed the assailants killed all of their victims without using their guns.

“The attackers killed their victims silently without the use of the gun to avoid attracting attention from the multi-national troops,” Gamandi said.

A military officer in Maiduguri confirmed the attack but said details were sketchy.”We heard of the attack near Doron Baga but we don’t have any details because the area falls under the operational jurisdiction of the MNJTF,” the military officer said.

Incessant Boko Haram attacks have disrupted fishing and farming along the shores of Lake Chad and fishermen from Doron Baga were forced to abandon fishing and turned to importing dried fish from neighbouring Chad. Gamandi said the Dogon Fili route provided the safest passage for traders from Doron Baga to Chad as other routes are infested with Boko Haram gunmen who rob and kill travellers.

However, the Defence spokesperson, Major-General Chris Olukolade,  has appealed to the international community to be more objective by showing understanding for the peculiarity of Nigeria’s current security situation.

He particularly criticised the hard stance of some western countries over perceived negative human rights record of Nigerian military saying it was ill informed and based on wrong mindset.

Olukolade, who spoke while receiving the prestigious Alfred Daniel King Foundation award as a distinguished Military Information Expert, in Atlanta Georgia, United States of America noted that the Nigerian Armed Forces have always strived to operate in line with the global professional best practices.

Urging the world to recall that Nigeria had survived a civil war, social and political unrests, and several religious upheavals in the last 100 years of its existence as a nation, Olukolade dismissed certain notions that the raging terrorists in the North East of the country have overwhelmed the military as not only ridiculous but utterly baseless and conspiratorial in nature.

According to him, it is important for critics to realize that the war against the terrorists is not conventional but purely a guerilla warfare where terrorists fight sporadically and melt back into the social system.

Unfortunately, he noted, some international interests are desperate to portray Nigeria as a failed state; show the world that democratic governance is not good for Nigeria; ridicule the Nigerian armed forces and make them seem incapable of safeguarding the sovereignty of the Nigerian state.

The Defence spokesman said “if, with the sophistication of global coalition, money and military resources so far deployed to fighting the Islamic State (IS), western powers are yet to dislodge ISIS from Iraq and Syria, then it is imperative they should show more understanding in respect of Boko Haram war in Nigeria.”

He emphasized that the insurgency was a passing phase in the history of Nigeria as very soon, with the concerted efforts of the Nigerian military, the support from the Nigerian government, more understanding from the international community and more importantly, with the support of the Nigerian people, Boko Haram will be defeated.

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