May 8, 2013
Boko Haram has waged a war against Nigeria
In total violation of the fundamental principles of society, the Nigerian government is yet to respond to the war its people and military have been subjected to.
The May 7th occurrence in Bama, Maiduguri is the latest in a series of full scale rebel attacks by Boko Haram forces against the people of Nigeria. According to accounts, over 200 fully armed warriors invaded Bama at 4am, Tuesday and destroyed the town, burning down government parastatals, launching attacks on police stations and liberating over a hundred prisoners before descending on the military barracks.
The Boko Haram “hard-drugged up” combatants came in in several military-style pickup trucks and buses armed with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers. 14 prison wardens were killed, 22 police officers, several civilians including women and children and 2 soldiers. The palace of the traditional leader of Bama was also attacked. This is the new dimension of the threat Nigeria faces.
From Terrorists to Rebels
In our article published and distributed on May 6th, “Boko Haram: Nigeria Losing Borno,” we detailed the metamorphosis of Boko Haram from terrorists into an aspiring rebel force. Boko Haram operate from the borders of Nigeria and neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon and have specialized with training from al-Qaeda in the Maghreb(AQIM) and terrorists unleashed in the post-Gaddafi era.
Boko Haram preaches a radical brand of Islam and recruits primarily via three systems: 1- Poor disgruntled youth who have lost faith in government and value of life. The war gives their life a purpose at last and is also fun for these youth, especially so with cocktails of hard-drugs. 2- Boko Haram forcefully conscripts children from villages they invade. 3- Boko Haram utilizes its funding to pay for warriors. All over the world, rebel forces offer a lucrative employment.
Funding and weapons
Funding from politicians who initially constituted Boko Haram and utilized them for political maneuvers, has diminished and as a result, Boko Haram switched to kidnappings to obtain ransoms for sustenance and purchase of sophisticated ammunitions – available from the stockpiles of Libya’s arsenal that found their way to terrorists hands in the poorly NATO supervised dethroning of Gaddafi.
Allegedly Boko Haram was paid $3 million to release French hostages and NewsRescue sources detail that they continue to kidnap family members of Borno politicians and business men for more funding. Majority of the kidnappings are not made public.
Outline Nigeria Must Commence in Full Wartime Response
1. State of Emergency: Nigeria must immediately declare a full state of emergency in Borno and parts of Yobe States. The governors must be retired for the time being till the situation is put under control. Over 1,600 people have been killed by Boko violence in Borno and about half this figure in Yobe, the two states at the center of the violence.
2. Full military deployment to Borno State to man the borders and coordinate search and eliminate missions into the bordering territories of Chad, Niger and Cameroon, this in concert with Nigeria’s neighbors.
3. Nigeria must immediately engage with the leaders of its North eastern neighbors. The leaders of Niger, Chad and Cameroon have been complacent in seeking out and squashing terrorists’ training camps on their terrain. The failure to take a determinate action against the terrorism brewed on their soil is related to their fear of being prey to Boko Haram. However they must recognize that such a growing threat to Nigeria will soon affect them regardless. Joint military forces must sweep the border areas linking the four countries.
4. Nigeria’s citizens in the north east must be informed to evacuate. Temporary refugee camps should be created to accommodate the families during the war against this rebellion. Borno is a war front and civilians can not be left in the crossfire till the situation is solved. Nigerians can not be left to live in a region being taken over by terrorist governments. Marte, Magumeri, Mobbar, Gubio, Guzamala, Abadam, Kukawa, Kaga, Nganzai and Monguno Local Government Areas have largely fallen under Boko control. Evacuating citizens will be properly registered and searched as they depart to permit full combat.
5. Mobilize the full strength of the Nigerian armed forces, Air, Land and Water. Nigeria’s air force must immediately be deployed to Borno. Jet bombers and helicopters must be recruited. The predominant land force can not combat a superior rebel army without concordant assistance of air operations. Presently the lives of the military are being sacrificed in reckless disregard. No war of the current dimensions are fought without adequate aerial support.
6. Security overhaul including at the very least acquisition of advanced counterinsurgency hardware and know-how, should be prioritized. The national assembly should as a matter of urgency approve a supplemental budget towards this objective
(Drones, Advanced helicopters, Military jets, Armored personnel carriers) Drones: Drones like the ScanEagle can be purchased for just $100,000 a unit. Nigeria should immediately begin the process of procuring surveillance and attack drones. This is affordable and critical.
7. Sealing Nigeria’s Borders. The NewsRescue article of April 12th, fully detailed the insecurity issues of Nigeria’s borders. The current Nigerian government must immediately and aggressively secure its borders and plan long term maintenance of this measure.
8. Prisoners: Arrested Boko Haram fighters are war criminals. They must no longer be imprisoned in the vicinity. We recommend quick expedient trials and prosecutions. We also strongly recommend the transporting of all prisoners out side Nigeria to foreign prisons.
This is an impelling notice to the President, the national assembly and the Nigerian people to protect life of our citizens in the North east and our dedicated serving security men, while curbing the progressing catastrophe for the entire nation. The war against Boko Haram should be embraced not only by the the noble men and women of the armed forces who operate under the most arduous conditions but by every Nigerian. Enhanced information gathering and community policing action would go a long way to prevent hiding places for undesirable elements amongst us.
To the international community and friends of Nigeria; the time for complacency is over. Nigeria needs you. It is a clear unambiguous choice between sheer terror and freedom. Between a peaceful democracy on a path of prosperity and wanton banditry. The victims of Boko Haram’s activities are the Nigerian people. The choice is between the Nigerian people and a band of callous terrorists. Join this war on the right side of posterity. Every missed opportunity to assist us crush this evil is a victory for Boko Haram. Every new successful kidnapping, Arson, Assassination or collection of ransom money fuels and enables this senseless terror.
Boko Haram represents an existential clear and present danger to the the Nigerian state. There is a rapidly vanishing window of opportunity to act in the best interest of the Nigerian people to halt these dark forces. It is time for war.
Update, May 15, 2013, BBC: Nigeria: Goodluck Jonathan declares emergency in states
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in three states after a series of deadly attacks by Islamist militant groups.
The military will take “all necessary action” to “put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists” in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, he said.
Mr Jonathan also ordered more troops to be sent to the north-eastern states.
Update, May 17, 2013; UN.org: Nigerian rebels could face war crimes charges for ‘population cleansing’ – UN rights office
Members of Boko Haram and other extremist groups in Nigeria could face war crimes charges for deliberate acts leading to ethnic and religious cleansing, the top United Nations human rights official said today.