*Troops kill nine terrorists, rescue 998 persons, Buratai launches operation in Kano
*Obasanjo, Monguno to speak on effective alternative against violent extremism
Paul Obi and Senator Iroegbu in Abuja and Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
The Nigerian Army saturday said its decision to establish a unit in Daura, hometown of President Muhammadu Buhari, was in fulfilment of implementation of the approved Order of Battle 2016 (ORBAT 2016) by the Army Council.
The Army stated that the establishment of the military base was to further enhance security in parts of its area of responsibility in 1 Division.
Director of Army Public Relations, Brig-General Sani Usman said in a statement that the unit was named Fort Muhammadu Buhari Forward Operation Base, after President Muhammadu Buhari. Usman stressed that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, unveiled the unit on Friday.
The Director added that “the establishment of the new unit was part of the implementation of the Nigerian Army approved Order of Battle 2016 (ORBAT 2016) by the Army Council.”
He said: â€œTo further enhance security in parts of 1 Division Nigerian Army’s area of responsibility, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, has commissioned Fort Muhammadu Buhari Forward Operation Base, Daura, Katsina State which was named after President Muhammadu Buhari.
â€œThe establishment of the new unit was part of the implementation of the Nigerian Army approved Order of Battle 2016 (ORBAT 2016) by the Army Council. Prior to that, he was at the palace of HRH, Alhaji (Dr) Umar Faruk Umar, the Emir of Daura for a courtesy callâ€, the statement noted.
Meanwhile, troops of the 3 Battalion, 22 Brigade Nigerian Army in collaboration with a team of members of Civilian Joint Task Force, JTF, yesterday, killed nine Boko Haram terrorists. The combined military and civilian JTF also rescued a total of 998 persons from the grip of Boko Haram terrorists, in Ngala, Borno State.
The defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists came when troops and the civilian JTF embarked on a combined fighting patrol to the area. The development followed confirmed information about the presence of remnants of Boko Haram terrorists in some villages around Ngala.
Usman explained that â€œthe patrol team had a fierce encounter with the terrorists at Ndufu, which they decisively dealt with before proceeding to clear Muktu and Muzuri, as well as nearby communities within the area.
â€œAlthough some of terrorists fled to various directions on sighting the troops, the patrol team was able to neutralise nine terrorists, destroyed their Improvised Explosive Device (IED)-making factory and rescued 998 persons.â€
Usman said: â€œThose rescued were 125 at Ndufu, 802 at Muktu and 71 persons at Muzuri. Interestingly, despite the heat of the battle, the troops also vaccinated all children under the age of 5 with Polio vaccinations.”
â€œIn addition, the troops recovered one AK-47 rifle with registration number 565231515, an AK-47 rifle magazine, two Boko Haram terroristsâ€™ flags, four motorcycles, two solar panels, two already prepared IEDs, detonating cords and other explosive-making components.
â€œIt is gratifying to note that 3 Battalion has maintained its status as one of the best fighting units in the theatre as they did not sustain any casualty or injury during the operation,â€ Usman stated.
Furthermore, Lt-General Buratai yesterday in Kano launched the Operation Harbin Kunama II at the dreaded Falgore Forest, as part of efforts to curb the menace of cattle rustling, kidnapping and insurgency.
The Army Chief who spoke to reporters at Government House shortly before departing to Falgore Forest said he has extensively discussed with the state Governor (Abdullahi) Ganduje on modalities to curb criminal activities at the forest and parts of Kano South, which has been in the grip of criminals in recent times.
â€œThe measures adopted are to fast-track the issue of insurgency that have spread across the country in which the Nigerian Army use all necessary machinery to achieve the success of the operation that is being conducted in various states of the federation.â€
Buratai also commended Governor Ganduje for his continuous support to security agencies, especially the 3 Mechanised Brigade, Kano where 16 Hilux vehicles were recently donated to improve security operations in the state.
He said the success recorded in the annihilation of Boko Haram in the North-east has dispersed the remnants of the terror group to other parts of the North, including Falgore and causing havoc and criminal activities in the forest, which necessitated the need for the establishment of the operation in the forest.
Speaking also, Ganduje thanked the Army Chief and his entourage for his visit and reiterated his administrationâ€™s commitment in supporting the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari on the issue of security in the country.
The governor said since the inception of Buhariâ€™s administration, the issue of terrorism is now becoming history as the Army under the leadership of Buratai has dislodged the insurgents in the North-east and restored peace in the region.
Meanwhile, former President Olusegun Obasanjo will lead a national discussion towards effective alternative narrative against violent extremism championed by Boko Haram terrorists and similar groups in Nigeria.
The forum is championed by Club de Madrid (CdM), in collaboration with the Office of the National Security Adviser to the President (ONSA) with the support of Preventing Violent Extremism (PAVE) and European Union (EU).
This was confirmed in a statement made available to journalists yesterday by the Press Officer of CdM, Mr. Luis PÃ©rez, saying that the NSA, Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), will also give updates on ongoing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations in the North-east.
Perez said Obasanjo is the Nigerian member and representative of CdM, which is an independent non-profit organisation composed of more than 100 former presidents and prime ministers from 69 democratic countries.
According to him, the forum will this week bring together the former president, Monguno and key national interlocutors from policy-makers to media actors, regional organisations, civil society representatives and grassroots practitioners to deliberate on ‘Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) in Nigeria.
He said the aim of the meeting is â€œto highlight the importance of delivering credible positive-narratives; bridging the gap between government and civil society actors; and to reorient narratives of political, community and religious leaders, and media towards tolerance, inclusion and dialogue.â€
â€œThe national workshop will include case studies, thematic roundtables and focused attention on steps towards improving existing practices and policies on delivering alternative narratives to challenge violent extremism.
â€œOn the first day, the ONSA will present the current challenges and opportunity for advancing a PCVE framework and action plan for Nigeria. Since 2016, the Federal Government of Nigeria has made important efforts in developing a National Policy Framework and Action Plan on Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism. This framework seeks to guide the development of a national approach to tackle violent extremism.”
â€œThereafter, a Civil Society Working Group will be organised to discuss the role of civil society in Nigeria, their challenges and what needs to be done in order to strengthen civil society engagement in the implementation of the National Action Plan on P/CVE.
â€œThe conclusions will be presented to key governmental and non-governmental actors in an advocacy effort to support national policy frameworks on this front. The outcomes of the workshop will ultimately be incorporated in a final recommendations report â€“ main outcome of the project â€“ on delivering alternative narratives to counter violent extremismâ€, he added.
The Press Officer noted that the workshop would provide a unique opportunity for bridging the gap between national policies and local realities.
In it, he stated, participants will address issues of effective messaging; building trust and sustainable partnership among interlocutors; role of civil society in community resilience; and influence of traditional and social media in radicalisation and recruitment.
Perez said the Madrid-based International NGO is implementing its project Preventing Violent Extremism: Leaders Telling a Different Story (2016-2017), with one of the main outcomes being a set of evidence-based recommendations on how to create positive messaging and which tools and strategies are more effective to challenge violent extremism.
To that end, he said, a first round of focus groups was held in three targeted countries: Nigeria, Tunisia and Lebanon. The current second phase includes national and regional consultations.
The Club de Madrid responds to a growing demand for support to address a number of challenges in democratic governance by providing the experience and valuable leadership of its members.