Borno governor reveals three terrorists’ hideouts

By AdvocateNews on 12/12/2020

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Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum
Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum

…insists mercenaries needed to defeat insurgents

Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, on Friday named three major locations where Boko Haram insurgents were hiding in the state.

Zulum revealed that the locations were the shores of the Lake Chad, Mandara Hills (mountains located along the Nigerian-Cameroon border), and the Sambisa Game Reserve.

The governor spoke during a Channels Television programme titled, ‘Politics Today.’

During the programme monitored by one of our correspondents, Zulum said although peace was gradually returning to many parts of the state, there were still some challenges, including the occupation of three named locations by the insurgents.

The governor also called on the military to “take the war” to the insurgents’ hideouts, while establishing stabilisation mechanisms to get rid of Boko Haram remnants after any aerial bombardment by the Air Force.

He said, “In terms of the military, their number is lean. We need more military personnel in Borno State. They are overwhelmed. For them to defeat the insurgents, the Nigerian Army needs to recruit more into the system because we have 27 local government areas, and then how many soldiers do we have? Honestly, there is a need for the Federal Government to recruit more youths into the army and police to bridge the gap.

“The second thing is the presence of the insurgents on the shores of the Lake Chad, Sambisa Game Reserve and Mandara Hills. They leave these places and come to attack the people and then go back to the hideouts. We want the military to take the war to these three critical areas with a view to eliminating them.

“The military needs to do more because I don’t think they have access to these areas. The only solution for us to defeat the insurgents is to take the war to the shores of the Lake Chad, Mandara Hills and the Sambisa Game Reserve. All they (military) are doing now is a temporary solution. The permanent solution is to ensure the remnants of the insurgents are cleared from these three territories.”

Asked about the current security situation in the state, Zulum said between 2011 and 2015, 22 out of 27 local government areas were completely under the control of the insurgents, adding that about 5,000 classrooms, 800 municipal buildings and 736 energy distribution lines were destroyed.

“We had over 53,000 orphans and 54,000 widows during the period. (But) honestly speaking, we have started witnessing the gradual return of peace to Borno State from 2015 till date.”

He lamented that most of the local government areas were not accessible and that the government wanted to ensure that people have access to their means of livelihood.

Zulum commended the Nigerian Air Force, which he said had been doing “a very great job” in ensuring the elimination of the insurgents with their helicopters and others, adding however that military operations have to be followed by some stabilisation mechanisms to prevent the insurgents from returning to the areas.

The governor also insisted on his recommendation that the government should engage mercenaries to fight the insurgents.

The governor had while receiving a Federal Government delegation that visited him on November 30 to condole with the people of the state over Boko Haram’s killing of 43 farmers in the Zabarmari area of the state, made six recommendations on how the insurgents could be defeated.

When asked to react to the comment by the Minister of Defence, Bashir Magashi, that the country had what it needed to fight the war, Zulum said, “The recommendations I made are very valid. For anybody who wants to say the right thing, there is a need for us to follow these six recommendations.

“One of such recommendations is for the Nigerian government to look into the possibility of a coalition with its neighbours, especially the Republic of Chad to deplete the insurgents on the shores of the Lake Chad; coalition with the Cameroonians to defeat the insurgents in the Mandara Hills and I think for now we need the mercenaries to clear the Sambisa and defeat the insurgents in Sambisa Game Reserve. This is very important.”

When asked to clarify if the mercenaries he mentioned implied engaging soldiers from neighbouring countries, he said, “No, we have three areas in Borno State where the insurgents are right now living. One of these areas is the shores of Lake Chad. The other one is Mandara Hills and the third one is the Sambisa Game Reserve.

“The Lake Chad shores share boundary with the Republic of Chad; that is why I’m advocating for a collaboration between the Chadian soldiers and the Nigerian army under the auspices of the Multinational Joint Task Force to form a coalition with a bid to defeating the insurgents on the shores of the Lake Chad.

“In the Mandara Hills, we are neighbours with Cameroon and Cameroonians will also partner with the Nigerian Army to clear the insurgents in the Mandra Hills, while the Sambisa Game Reserve is a very large area.”

He said while trying to give kudos to the Nigerian army, there was the need for the country to look into the possibility of ending the insurgency.

Speaking on the calls for the sacking of the service chiefs, Zulum said that remained the prerogative of the President and that his main concern was peace and an end to the insurgency.

Posted 12/12/2020 05:17:39 AM


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