Nigeria’s chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai has disclosed why it’s been difficult to completely wipe out insurgency in the North-East region of the country.
In an interview with Daily Trust, the Army Chief stated that the war against Boko Haram has lingered because of propaganda and hardcore ideology which has lasted for many years.
Buratau who admitted that there has been a “minimal resurgence,” said the indoctrination which pushed some members of the terrorist group into taking up arms began over 40 years ago.
“Insurgency is not what you defeat and it would just fizzle out; they would revert to other tactics. That is terrorism.
“They will promote propaganda, to the effect that all the institutions of government would be seen to be ineffective. This is what they are doing. They are exploiting the fault lines in our economic and political endeavours to expand the gulf of so-called discord and acrimony amongst various ethnic and religious groups.
“Why are they doing this propaganda, blocking the road and capturing individuals because they are of a particular religion? Unfortunately, they murder those individuals and send it to the world. These are propaganda strategies of the terrorists.
“These individuals may be living with you and you would not know they are terrorists. They have a series of informants and logistics suppliers. They have a series of leadership strata that live in the communities and towns nearby. They pass information and organise those that are hidden along the borders in remote areas or communities who come, attack and go back. They also have a series of recruiters.
“Looking at it from this perspective, you would see that it is a complex operation you cannot wish to just go.
“At the national assembly, I said indoctrination of the citizens did not start in 2009, it started much earlier. And it grew until it reached that point where they took arms against the state.
“It is an indoctrination that has taken roots between 10 and 40 years back. And for you to de-radicalise an individual to bring him back to sanity, you think it would just take you three years, four or 10 years?
“These are people that were brain-washed to believe that when they die they would go straight to heaven. And you think they would believe in you to bring them back to mix with people they refer to as unbelievers? You have to look at this context.”
Buratai also stated that the Nigerian army will continue to target Boko Haram members individually and as a group until they narrow the overall leader.
“If you are targeting the head to decapitate, you must have been on their tracks; how close have we ever gotten close to eliminating Shekau? This is a military operation.
“Late last year, there was a report in which the Air Force bombarded their camps and many of their leaders were eliminated. Even the attack on Damaturu, about two of their commanders were eliminated. In Goneri also, one of their commanders was eliminated.
“We will continue to target them individually and as a group until we narrow the overall leader. It requires some intelligence. As I said, this insurgency did not start yesterday; it started over 40 years back.”