Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor
Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor

Adopting Intelligence Toward Boosting Security
By Zakari Mukhtar

It is no longer news the country is grappling with a high rising level of security challenges.

Obviously, terrorists, bandits and other armed groups have since proliferated and became more sophisticated than ever before.

Even at that, the security services, especially the military have continued to confront the violent aggressions and tackling the undesirable elements in the language they understand.

Meanwhile, the adoption of intelligence has so far continued to provide a lot of success stories to the Nigerian troops and other security agencies in the fight against insecurity in the country. This is evident with the recent elimination of terrorists and their top commanders by the Nigerian military in the north eastern part of the country that has been ravaged by the activities of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists for over a decade.

With the deployment of Super Tucano jets for anti-terrorism war in northeast by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and the Special Forces of the Nigerian Army, the effort has since started to yield the much anticipated results.

PRNigeria has reported that a scores of terrorists were eliminated in coordinated air strikes by the Nigerian military on three camps of the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), in the fringes of Lake Chad. It was also gathered that over a dozen gun trucks and several motorbikes belonging to the terrorists were destroyed during the offensive.

A top military intelligence source, who was involved in the operation was quoted as saying; “The successful Nigerian Air Force aerial strikes, under Operation Hadin Kai, with support from troops of the Multi-National Joint Fast Force (MNJTF), was launched on December 19, 2021, at three locations harbouring hundreds of ISWAP terrorists at Arinna Sorro and Arinna Ciki and Arinna Maimasalaci in Marte Local Government Area in Borno.

“The operation which was conducted after Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions, targeted hundreds of surviving adversaries who escaped from a previous attack on Kusuma and Sigir, by the Nigerian Military.

“There was already a credible intelligence that a large number of the terrorists have moved to those camps where they are treating their wounded fighters. It was also revealed that the areas were also used by ISWAP to conceal vehicles, Mine-Resitant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and motorcycles under thick trees.”

In addition to this victory, the Nigerian military has again neutralized an ISWAP Commander, Modu Kime, also known as Abou Maryam, and his fighters in airstrikes coordinated along the fringes of Lake Chad in Borno State.

The operation was also conducted successfully after intelligence gathering and information sharing among the troops revealed the location of the terror Kingpin while coordinating attacks.

An intelligence officer confirmed that security operatives had been intercepting his communication and his coordination of attacks by his terror group, mostly in Borno State.

He said; “He [Abou Maryam] had operated around the axis of Tumbum Tawaye, Bisko, Garere, Arkumma and Dumbawa, Zari and Gundumbali LGA. Abou Maryam coordinated attacks on military troops and soft-targets mostly around Damasak, Nganzai and Gajiram and sometimes on the outskirts of Maiduguri.”

It can also be recalled that, prior to these sting successful intelligence operations, the Nigerian military had also launched other offensives in Sokoto and Zamfara forests where the hideout of the notorious bandits’ kingpin, Bello Turji was raided and scores of terrorists eliminated as well. It was learnt that the terror leader, Turji, is now ‘incapacitated’ after sustaining severe injuries from the attacks.

Apart from spontaneous operations in Katsina and Zamfara, from 16-17 December 2021, strikes were conducted at bandits’ camps in Isa, Sabon Birni axis and East Tozei where several bandits were eliminated while others escaped in disarray.

An intelligence officer confirmed that the operations were successfully undertaken with information garnered and actionable intelligence obtained from the people.

We are not unmindful of the fact that security of lives and properties of people can no longer be solemnly guaranteed by government alone without necessary support from stakeholders and community members.

Thus, a paradigm shift toward a multi stakeholders approach to security challenges is very essential.

Therefore, enhanced coordination between state and federal governments will surely improve the response to insurgency, banditry, kidnapping, agitations, militancy and general insecurities. Part of this strategy should involve the use of early warning and early response systems involving the residents, local vigilantes and community leaders.

Specifically, governments should engage and provide a synergy among traditional and community leaders, pressure groups, civil society organizations, academics, media personnel and security experts in areas of intelligence gathering, information sharing and early warning signals in matters related to security around their communities.

With information gatherings and intelligence sharing from the community leaders and the existing synergy among the security services, it is apt to say that Nigeria is surely on course toward surmounting the security challenges that has been holding the country to ransom for quite a long time.

Zakari Mukhtar writes from Abuja

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