INSECURITY: THE CHALLENGE POSED IN ERADICATING TERRORISM THROUGH ANNIHILATION BY THE GAME OF NUMBERS
The security forces are evidently winning the battle against Boko Haram as Defense Headquarters has said that 950 Boko Haram and ISWAP insurgents and bandits were neutralized by troops between May 2021 and January 2022.
This was made known by the Acting Director, Defense Media Operations, Bernard Onyeuko, who stated that 950 terrorists have been neutralized and over 24,000 surrendered.
According to him, “Within the period under review, own troops operational activities in Operation HADIN KAI theatre resulted in the neutralization of 950 terrorists including their high profile Commanders and Amirs.
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“Also, a total of 79 terrorists were arrested and 113 kidnapped civilians were rescued by the troops of Operation HADIN KAI within the period. In the same vein, a total of 195 assorted arms including AK-47 rifles, GPMGs, PKT guns and locally fabricated guns were recovered from terrorist elements in the course of the operations. In addition, a total of 2,385 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 253 rustled livestock were recovered, while a total of 14 gun trucks of the terrorists were destroyed in the course of the operations, while 16 gun trucks were captured by own troops within the period.
“Furthermore, a total of 24,059 terrorists and their families comprising 5,326 adult males, 7,550 adult females and 11,183 children have so far surrendered to own troops in the North East. All surrendered elements have been properly profiled and handed over to appropriate authorities for necessary actions.
“In Operation HADARIN DAJI, the operational efforts of our gallant troops yielded appreciable results between 20 May 2021 and 6 January 2022. A total of 537 armed bandits and other criminal elements were neutralized in action by own troops, while 374 criminal elements including armed bandits and their collaborators as well as armed herdsman and robbers were arrested. Furthermore, 227 assorted arms, including AK-47 rifles, PKT machine guns and GPMGs as well as 4,443 rounds of different calibres of ammunition and 3,250 rustled livestock among other items and vehicles were recovered within the period.
“Similarly, a total of 238 motorcycles and 118 extra rifle magazines were recovered, while 452 kidnapped civilians were rescued by their own troops in the course of the operations. This is in addition to several other feats recorded during air offensives executed on bandits’ enclaves by the Air Component.”
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However, extracts credited to a report by a Professor at the University of Sokoto, Dr. Murtala A. Rufai in his book ‘I am a Bandit’ shows that fighting terrorism through paralyzing the numerical strength of the terror group may not result in the desired counter-terrorism success in the nearest future.
Findings from the book show that the terrorists wield a numerical strength of an estimate of 26,375 fighters in an estimate of six out of the 14 local government areas in Zamfara State alone (see details below), not counting their families. Using the estimated figure of fighters to extrapolate for the fourteen local governments will give an estimate of 92,000 terrorists in Zamfara State alone.
Zamfara State has been plagued with heightened banditry with renewed attacks in recent weeks most notably with the recent killing of over 200 persons in Anka and Bukkuyum local government areas of the state.
During the week, Governor Bello Mohammed Matawalle of Zamfara State has said part of the reason for the persistence of banditry is the non-punishment of those apprehended.
Recall that in September 2021, Matawalle had previously said dialogue is the best option to tackle banditry in the country and urged his colleagues to endeavour to negotiate with bandits in the interest of promoting peace. However, in the course of the discussions on September 10, the governor said the state will no longer offer amnesty to repentant bandits. According to the governor, the state reversed the decision to dialogue with bandits because the government was deceived.
Intel indicates that terrorists are prone to the game of deception as seen in the Taliban terrorists’ case where those that surrendered were amongst the first to take up a weapon to usurp a democratic government; there is a need to tread with extreme caution. Especially as ISWAP child soldiers are suspected to be employed to either infiltrate locations, gather intelligence for terrorists or be used for diversionary and direct attacks on their targets.
Hence, there is a possibility that reintegrating families of surrendered terrorists into the society may be part of the strategy to infiltrate the communities with child soldiers and reinforce their diminishing numbers.
Credible information from Local sources made available to EONS Intelligence warns against an impending Islamic State of West Africa (ISWAP) terrorists attack possibly through diversionary tactics.
According to the information, ISWAP had recruited 150 child soldiers, set to launch attacks on selected locations.
Intelligence sources say that ISWAP insurgents are known to rely on child soldiers in some missions in order to divert military attention.
This antic has been described by the Nigerian military as the latest in a retinue of brutal and inhuman tactics deployed by Boko Haram and ISWAP.
The implication shows that eliminating terrorism through neutralizing ISWAP/Boko Haram fighters may remain an agelong unending fight with no respite, but several deaths left in the wake of the counter-terrorism fight.
The above presumption is made on the premise that the insurgents will continually reinforce their numbers using soft targets and vulnerable individuals.
In addition, the reintegration of surrendered terrorists possibly exempts them from facing charges against humanity, permit them to saunter freely around within communities and possibly act as mercenaries and sources of information to their colleagues in the camps and forest.
Furthermore, working with an estimate of 100,000 terrorist fighters in Zamfara state, exclusive of other North-Eastern states, the total annihilation of the numbers as a means of eradicating terrorism seems not realistic.
Statistics below show figures as at the date of publication of the book “I am a Bandit”. It is pertinent to note that some bandits have been neutralized, while some numbers may have increased or reduced.
Maradun local government area, Zamfara State – Total of 5,524
1. Sama’ila of Bayan Dutsi has 150 boys
2. Jimmo Fadama of Bayan Ruwa had 80 boys
3. Simoli Jaya of Bayan Ruwa has 65 boys
4. Sahabi of Bayan Ruwa has 250 boys
5. Na’akka of Bayan Ruwa has 180 boys
6. Aminu Jajani of Bayan Ruwa has 120 boys
7. Sani Baruwanka of Dagwarwa has 135 boys
8. Uban Kafirai of Dagwarwa has 250 boys
9. Mai bokolo of Dajin ‘Yar Tunniya has 300 followers
10. Haruna Zango of Dammaka has 280 followers
11. Muntari of Duddubi has 31 boys
12. Boyi of Duddubi has 210 boys
13. Turji of Fakai has about 500 followers
14. Nakyalla of Filinga has 213 followers
15. Najana of Gidan Bisa has 96
16. Sitanda of Gwari has 156 boys
17. Dullu of Sububu has 138 boys
18. Halilu Sububu of Sububu has over 1,200 followers
19. Maiduna of Tankyalla has 216 followers
20. Gwaska of Tungar Kolo has 76 boys
21. Kabiru ‘Yankusa of Safrar Kade has 185 boys
22. Karamin Gaye of Tungar Miya has 242 boys
23. Dan Sa’adiya of Dagwarwa da Badako has 48 boys
24. Dan Shehu of Kudo has 140 boys
25. Mati of Kudo has 165 boys
26. Dan Bello of Kudo has 98 boys
Dansadau Emirate, Maru Local Government, Zamfara State – Total of 12,875
27. Dan Makaranta of north Madaka has 460 followers
28. Dogo Gyade at Dajin Babar Doka has about 2000 followers
29. Damana in Dajin has about 1500 followers
30. Ali Kacalla of Madada has about 1600 followers
31. Malam at Western Cebi has about 900 followers
32. Bulaki of East ‘Yargaladima has about 1200 followers
33. Ciyaman at East ‘Yargaladima has 900 followers
34. Dahe in East ‘Yar galadima has over 250 followers
35. Kawu of eastern Dansadau has over 700 followers
36. Ado Lalo of East Dansadau had about 350 followers
37. Bulak of East Cebi has about 520 boys
38. Janburos of East Madada has 800 boys
39. Sani Bica at East Madaka has about 180 boys
40. Dan Bagobiri of Western Cebi has over 230 boys
41. Nagala at West of Mairairai has 750 boys
42. Ali Kanen Nagala has 220 boys
43. Zahiru has 175 boys
44. Mai Gariyo at Southern Burwaye has 56 boys
45. Yalo of near Burwaye has 85 boys
Zurmi local government area, Zamfara State – Total of 4,671
46. Kachalla has 1200 boys
47. Maidaji has 1500 boys
48. Dankarami has 750 boys
Birnin Magaji local government area
49. Alhaji Zaki has 85 boys
50. Yalo of Rugu has 60 boys
51. Hassan of Rugu has 28 boys
52. Maidaji of Rugu has 40 boys
53. Kachalla of Rugu has 58 boys
Shinkafi local government area
54. Atarwatse of Dajin Mashema has 200 boys
55. Dan Makwado of Kamarawa and Bafarawa has 550 boys
Tsafe local government area, Zamfara State – Total of 3,305
57. Idi at Guga has 100 boys
58. Baba Yayi at Guga has 100 boys
59. Juuli of Kwankwanba has 100 boys
60. Tukur of Munhaye has 90 boys
61. Alhaji Ado Aleru at Munhaye has about 2500 boys
62. Mabi at Munhaye has 100 boys
63. Dan’ Ibiro of Munhaye has100 boys
64. Guntu at Munhaye has 65 boys
65. Karki at Munhaye has 70 boys
66. Lawali Bunka at Munhaye has 80 boys
Leaders with an unspecified number of boys
67. Shehu Bagewaye
68. Dancaki Odita
69. Standard & Sani black
70. Kabiru Maniya
71. Malan Ila
73. Kacalla Haruna
76. Husaini Jaja of Gusau
77. Dogo Hamza of Bukkuyum
78. Auta of Anka - neutralized