The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai has said. aside the conventional Boko Haram war, troops are fighting criminality in the Northeast,
The COAS said the army was contending with forces that sabotage the war against insurgents, describing such forces as collaborators, informants and saboteurs.
Gen. Buratai, who was reacting to questions at the end of a parley with reporters in Maiduguri, Borno State, said the powerful people behind the #BokoHaram crisis kept rebranding the crisis.
According to him, the original Boko Haram that started insurgency in the Northeast has been decisively dealt with “but they keep changing their names like we have Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) now.
“I want to tell you that, even if we finish with ISWAP, those people behind these things will snowball to another name and they will go on and on”.
The army Chief said that insurgents are having a field day in their attacks due to the facts that their collaborators and informants, “who monitor everyone, including troops.”
He disclosed that the funding of Boko Haram always come from their international connection, citing how the high influx of ammunition from Libyia in the aftermath of its unrest, aided the crisis in Nigeria.
Lt. Gen. Buratai, who was silent on the weapons often seized by insurgents from the army during attacks, however, informed that insurgents have different ways of funding and sourcing for equipment, including cattle rustling, kidnapping and fishing in Lake Chad.
He called on the media to join the troops in defeating every element of terrorism in the Northeast and the entire Lake Chad Region, adding: “with such collaboration, the propaganda which the terrorists devised to misinform and instill fear on the public and troops can be checkmated”.
The COAS regretted what he described as deliberate falsehood and campaign of calumny staged against the Nigerian Army by some social media platforms which according to him, “is targeted at demoralising troops to the detriment of national security.
The COAS warned that the army will descend heavily against such manner of campaigns with every legal apparatus, stressing that the war against the insurgents cannot be won by the army alone, but with the efforts of every citizen.
He urged the media to engage in the education of the general public in very clear perspective by bringing into the front burner the achievements of the military against the insurgents and de-emphaising their falsehood and propaganda.
Commenting on the army’s faceoff with Amnesty International, the army Chief noted: “The allegations of human rights abuses against the military by Amnesty International, lack of equipment and nonpayment of allowances to troops are all misleading and not the true.
“The military authorities have established a human rights desk to promote civil/ military relationship and enhance justice system as well as reorganise various divisions.”
He explained that interactive session with reporters was organised to chat a new phase on the military/media relations, commending the media for its effective reportage of the campaign against insurgency as well as restoration of peace in the Northeast.
At the parley were: Head of Military Training & Operations Maj-Gen. Lamidi Adeosun; Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole Maj.-Gen. Benson Akinroluyo and Acting General Officer Commanding 7 Division Brig.-Gen. Abdulmalik Bulama Biu and other senior military officers.
Also at the parley were some representatives of United Nations (UN) agencies, Nigerian Guild of Editors and Nigerian Institute of Public Relation (NIPR) practitioners.