A report published in the New York Times, has painted a far-reaching possibility of Nigerian military winning the war against Boko Haram.
The report said among other factors mitigating against the soldiers in war front, are having to fight with equipment that are either bad or already in a state of disrepair.
The Nigerian government have spent billions of dollars on the war against insurgency in ten years, with little or nothing to show, despite defence getting the lion share of the national budget in years now.
The report also said the Nigerian military lack the motivation to carry on with the battle, while the Islamic sect have aided their own operations with drones and other sophisticated equipment.
The September 13 report by NYT, written by Dionne Searcey, and titled, “Boko Haram is Back. With Better Drones,” claimed the war against insurgency might have suffered a major setback, as the insurgents still roamed the countryside of the North-east without restraints.
“Their fighters now have more sophisticated drones than the military and are well armed after successful raids on military brigades.”
“By many accounts, the Nigerian military is demoralised and on the defensive. Some soldiers have complained they haven’t had a home leave in three years.
“Their weapons and vehicles have fallen into disrepair,” the report said.
The report noted that despite the government repeatedly saying that Boko Haram had been “technically defeated”, “A full decade into the war, however, Boko Haram militants are still strongly roaming the region.
In August, the new commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, who is the eighth commander in 10 years, publicly reminded his field officers to give food and water to troops.
“The military announced in August that it is pulling back its troops from far-flung outposts in the countryside and gathering them into fortified settlements it calls ‘super camps’.
“The super camps are inside of garrison towns, where the Nigerian military in recent years settled tens of thousands of civilians — either after Boko Haram chased them away, or soldiers burned their villages and rounded them up, saying it would secure the countryside,” the report added.
Contrary to recent reports by the military that there was no territory under the control of the insurgents, the New York Times report said,
“Militants control four of the 10 zones in northern Borno State, near Lake Chad,” adding, “They are pulling off almost-daily attacks, including opening fire last week on the convoy of the governor of Borno State (Babagana Umara Zulum).
“To people in villages, like Konduga, Boko Haram’s defeat seems distant. The attack on June 17 that wounded Abdul and his friends (his last name is being withheld to protect him from reprisals) also killed 30 people — eight of them children.”
Furthermore, the report explained that though trenches were dug around the garrison towns to contain militant invasions, the pullback had given alot of freedom to Boko Haram fighters in the barren countryside.
“Inside the super camp in Bama on a recent afternoon, a camouflaged tank lurched down the street, blue smoke pouring from its underside, its tracks looking like loose teeth about to fall out – it was piloted by helmetless soldiers with open shirts, and a gunner wearing a crown of leaves, who plowed into a parked minivan, partially blocking the road, smashing the vehicle,” the report further observed.
Meanwhile, West African leaders on Saturday announced a billion-dollar plan to fight the rising problem of jihadist violence in the region, at a summit in Burkina Faso.
The plan, to be funded from 2020 to 2024, was announced at end of the Economic Community Summit of West African States in Ouagadougou, where the ECOWAS nations were joined by Mauritania and Chad.
ECOWAS had decided to mobilise “the financial resources of up to a billion dollars for the fight against terrorism”, Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou said.
The money, to be paid into a common fund, would help reinforce the military operations of the nations involved, and those of the joint military operations in the region.
The fight against the rising tide of jihadist violence in the region has so far been hampered by a lack of funds.
Full details of the plan would be presented to the next ECOWAS summit in December.