THE INFORMANT AND THE TWO WAY COLLATERAL DAMAGE: AN X-RAY OF THE AMBUSH IN KEBBI (Weekly Security Dashboard for the period March 6 - 11, 2022)
Available reports from one of the survivors of the attack on the convoy of the Deputy Governor of Kebbi State, Col. Samalia Yombe Dabai said over 19 Security Operatives lost their lives in the gun battle that lasted for more than two hours.
The Deputy Governor of Kebbi State managed to escape death by the whiskers in the Tuesday ambush attack by bandits, ostensibly with an insider involvement.
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The retired colonel who had in his convoy, the 233 Battalion Commander suffered a collateral damage on his Security Operatives at Kanya village, in Zulu Emirate where he went to assess the level of assistance given to security agencies in the state by the government.
According to Samalia, the bandits had the superior advantage of an overwhelming numerical strength which they deployed to their advantage during the intense gun duel that lasted hours.
The likely interpretation of the superior numerical and possibly ammunition strength over and above those of the Security Operatives may not be unconnected with Intelligence from an informant to the bandits.
The extent of the casualties in the Kebbi Tuesday incident is clear evidence of a pre-planning way ahead of the attack with the ambush site and kill zone established a prior based on credible intelligence possibly made available to the terrorists.
Since deliberate ambush is planned in detail, well-rehearsed, and established in a specified locations to destroy its target, the terrorists need to have specific intelligence about the target such as the size, composition, organization, rate of movement, route, armament and equipment of the enemy force and planned route to establish the ambush site.
Beyond the attendant deaths and other associated damages left in its wake, the major underlying aim of the increased adoption of the ambush strategy by bandits may not be unconnected with the aim to degrade Troops morale and make them more vulnerable and susceptible to attacks, creating an atmosphere of apprehension to continue the onslaught of their clearance offensives, while possibly causing them to adopt a defensive mindset.
Reports of the massive havoc wreaked on the camp of the terrorists by Troops in recent times may have caused the bandits to seek ways to demoralize Troops given their inability to match their superior power.
Among the record of successes include information from the Defence Headquarters that Troops have neutralized over 121 terrorists in the last two weeks.
In essence, the cumulative purpose of bandits therefore through ambush strategy may be to reduce the combat effectiveness of the Troops. The actualization of this aim is given, since the bandits have to their advantage the details of the contours and terrain of the communities which they can easily employ to build Objective Rally Points for each incident.
However, for each successful ambush, there is no eliminating the possibility of an informant.
Owing to the increased insider activities, the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Waziri on Wednesday assured residents that his administration is committed to eradicate bandits and their informants, and will not allow criminals roll back the gains made to stem the tide of their nefarious activities.
Tambuwal gave the assurance after cutting short an official trip to address the reported influx of suspected bandits and their informants into the village of Sabon Garin Liman in Wurno LGA of the State.
According to him, “We know that there are informants in this village and they collaborate with bandits. We are going to flush them out and make sure that the law takes its course on them”.
Reacting to the incident in Kebbi state where bandits killed over 60 vigilante men on Sunday evening, the Governor added that “We do not want such happenings. We must all work together to ensure that the progress being recorded so far is not retarded”.
One salient point from Governor’s remark is the likelihood of the infiltration of Kebbi State with several bandits’ informants.
Recall that in March 2021, Prof Babagana Zulum, the Governor of Borno State had said that the deradicalization of repentatnt Boko Haram members is not working.
The military had in 2016 launched Operation Safe Corridor, an initiative for the deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant terrorists.
During the North-East Governors meeting in Bauchi in 2021, Zulum said the initiative would only defy its purpose as the terrorists would only end up as spies for the insurgents and return to join the group.
“Another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified is the issue of deradicalization of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities.
“It has been confirmed that the concept of deradicalization or the Safe Corridor is not working as expected. Quite often, those who have passed through the Safe Corridor initiative, or have been deradicalized, usually go back after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities during the reintegration process”.
Against the backdrop of the intense heat of the onslaught of unabated clearance operations by Troops on the terrorists and their enclaves, is the ambush tactics adopted by the terrorists to weaken Troops?
Who are these informants?
Available reports said to have been made available by the Special adviser to Prof Zulum on Security, Brig.-Gen Abdullahi Ishaq on Wednesday disclosed that the Borno State Government has re-integrated 500 repentant Boko Haram terrorists.
Should the continued reintegration of terrorists be a cause for concern as the potential breeding of informants?
Is the reintegration of repentant terrorists really undermining its purpose?
A careful study of the reintegration impact on the host Communities is required urgently to quickly checkmate the infiltration campaign of the insurgents.