July 10, 2014
by Samuel Freeborn
The Nigerian Air Force is either Boko Haram, or they do not want the insurgency stopped or are being used by those in high places to ensure Boko Haram continues its unlimited reign of terror and death. Numerous occasions can be cited where the Air force abandoned joint operations with ground troops without advance warnings on flimsy excuses which resulted to large number of troops death.
Examples are: Gubio Attack where they abandoned 81 Battalion soldiers midway in an offensive against Boko Haram last year. Close to 70 soldiers were either KIA, WIA and MIA! 103 battalion soldiers earlier this year on the same circumstance. About 50 soldiers were KIA! In fact this resulted to the first underreported mutiny. This last one in Damboa, it was the Air force jet who killed our soldiers and enabled the terrorists to overrun the camp, in fact, the Air force were called in to blow up the armoury (when it was clear that they were bent on taking over the camp because of the availability of a yet to be deployed sophisticated weapon system in the camp, which their highly placed moles may have told them) so as to deny the terrorists from looting it, instead the jet provided cover for the terrorists to continue the looting while the jet kept firing at own troops. It is even suspected that it was fragment from a bomb the jet fired that killed the Battalion CO, Lt Col A K Shonva!
Gentlemen, it might also interest you to know that the Air force has never followed and neutralized insurgents fleeing from any place they have attacked even when it is daylight! As always, they keep giving excuses upon excuses. Insurgents roam the nights freely, going to different communities and destroying same yet there’s always an Air force surveillance aircraft hovering the skyline at night supposedly covering the entire Borno and Yobe States yet they had never given an advance warnings of attacks or terrorists advances to these targets.
All Boko Haram camps are known yet each time the Air force are called in to blow up such camps they keep missing the targets! The Nigerian Air Force has been complicit in this counterinsurgency so much so that even the President, last year in Yola, hinted that he made changes because of the unhealthy rivalry between the service chiefs! It seem to me as if the Air Force is unhappy that Gen Ihejirika, the then COAS, deliberately undermined the JTF that was succeeding, in which the Air Force and other security organs were given more prominent roles, by personalizing the operation for only the Army. However, even at that, the lives of troops should not be used to settle scores!
Nigerians should start holding the Air Force responsible because if the Air force actually wanted, Boko Haram will seize to operate as they now do within a matter of hours.