Buratai Seeks New War Strategy as Terrorists Attack IDP Camp

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai
  • NAF fighter jets patrol Maiduguri
  • IG places police on red alert nationwide

By Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja with agency reports

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, yesterday charged war commanders in the North-east to embrace a new war strategy “super camp” which he said would serve as a launching pad for mobile offensive operations against terrorist group, Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West Africa Province (ISWAP).

His charge came as Boko Haram launched a fresh offensive on an Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Dalori that threw residents of Maiduguri, Borno State into panic, prompting the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to scramble fighter jets to patrol the city.

On his part, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has ordered immediate beef-up of security in all the states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) even as the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), said 20 members of the group were killed within one week of clashes with Police during its protests that turned violent in Abuja, leading to the death of a deputy commissioner of police and a Channels TV reporter.

Speaking at a maiden workshop organised by Army Headquarters Department of Training and Operations (DATOPS) held for commanders, commanding officers and staff officers of Operation Lafiya Dole on the concept of “super camp” held at the 25 Task Force Brigade (Super Camp 2), Damboa, Borno State, Buratai , who was represented by the Chief of Training and Operations (Army), Major General Enobong Udoh, charged the participants to take the workshop seriously, as the concept of the super camp was a force multiplier that allows for concentration of manpower and resources.

He commended the participants for their sacrifices to the country and for being good ambassadors of the Nigerian Army.

In his welcome address, the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General Benson Akinroluyo, praised Buratai for the new super camp concept, which he said “would serve as launching pad for mobile offensive operations in containing and denying the Boko Haram terrorists/criminals freedom of action in identified areas across the theatre”.

According to Akinroluyo, “Super camps would further boost force protection of troops while on camps, as well as enable them to project force through long distance patrols and ambushes to dominate their areas of operation.”

Meanwhile, Boko Haram launched fresh attacks on an IDP Camp in Dalori, a situation that threw residents of Maiduguri into panic. The attacks prompted the Nigerian Air Force to deploy fighter jets to patrol the city.

The attack took place Thursday night.  “The attack caused panic in the camp with many displaced persons fleeing in droves.

“Those in neighbouring camp at the University of Maiduguri were also in fear that the attack might extend to their campus,” residents said.

Eyewitness accounts said the insurgents attempted to invade Maiduguri but met stiff resistance from ground troops, forcing them to focus attacks on the IDP camp.

“Air Force surveillance helicopters were also sighted hovering over the city while the military dispatched a back-up sighted racing towards the camp,” reports said.

Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, yesterday, ordered security beef-up in the 36 states and the FCT.

A statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Frank Mba, said Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police and Commissioners of Police in the states were ordered to ensure that security arrangements were put in place.

Mba, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, said the recent order followed violent protests and unrests by the Shiite group.

The IGP assured citizens that “proactive measures including aerial surveillance of major cities have been emplaced to ensure the safety and security of lives and property of all Nigerians.

“In addition, Zonal Assistant Inspectors-General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) nationwide have been mandated to ensure customised security arrangements are put in place in their area of responsibilities (AORs) to checkmate the activities of criminals and any possible threat to public peace”, he said.

The IGP enjoined citizens to be wary of circulating unsubstantiated security advisories capable of creating undue fear, panic and apprehension in the country.

Adamu, according to the FPRO, further warned all would be protesters to ensure they express their grievances within the ambit of the law so as not to infringe on the constitutional rights of other citizens or cause breach of public peace. 

But the Shiite group said at least 20 of its members were killed this week, group spokesman, Abdullahi Musa, said, during a series of protests that show little sign of ending despite the increasing death toll.

The death toll may be as high as 25, he said.

Members of the Shi’ite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) have been marching in the capital Abuja calling for the release of their leader, Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been in detention since 2015 despite a court order to release him.

Nigerian police met the protests with gunfire and tear gas. A journalist and a senior police officer also died after Monday’s march.

Most of the people were killed on Monday, with four others having since died in police custody from their bullet wounds, the spokesman said.

“More might die in police custody, because there are at least 15 people who are in the detention center with various degrees of bullet wounds, without medication,” another member said.