Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nigerian Military Deploys Drones to Battle Boko Haram
Yusuf Alli, Abuja and Duku Joel, Maiduguri
The Nation, Nigeria

Sect hoists flag in Monguno

Come drones and other sophisticated equipment have been deployed in the Northeast to curtail Boko Haram’s insurgency, The Nation learnt yesterday.

It was also learnt that the military intensified air strikes on Boko Haram bases in Monguno to reclaim the town, which fell to the sect’s fighters last weekend.

The acquisition of the drones is part of the  new massive military campaign to be launched soon against Boko Haram.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said most of the equipment were sourced from the Far East, including Russia and Ukraine, following lack of cooperation by some Western countries.

The source said the arrival of the hardware has boosted the morale of troops.

The source said: “The military has deployed some drones and sophisticated hardware in the North-East in line with its timeline to end Boko Haram insurgency.

“These drones will complement ongoing air and land strikes against some bases of the sect.

“The simultaneous attacks on Monguno, Konduga and Maiduguri  by Boko Haram insurgents were pre-emptive steps against the military by the sect.

“With effective equipment, the insurgents were aware that the game is up and in annoyance, they decided to attack military installations and troops.”

The military has intensified air strikes on the insurgents’ locations in Monguno.

Another source said: “Troops will soon reclaim Monguno because the insurgents in the town have been trapped. They cannot move away from the town since troops have laid siege to all entry and exit points.

“You see, the insurgents also struck in Monguno, Konduga and Maiduguri to divert attention of the military from the relocation of some of their commanders from one of their strategic camps to another.”

Fleeing residents yesterday disclosed that the insurgents are in full control of the town.
Abdullahi Jibril, who fled to Maiduguri through Gajiganna told our correspondent that there was no military presence in Monguno.

Jibril said residents of Gajiganna, a town on the Baga/ Monguno road, were also on the run for fear of an impending attack by the insurgents.

“As I am talking to you now, there is no single soldier in Monguno. Anybody that is saying that there are soldiers fighting in Monguno is lying. The Boko Haram have put their flag in the hospital, police station and the military barracks. They are preaching in the place right now.

“I was lucky to escape after I moved my father and my mother to Gajiganna. They killed the Imam Bachila of  Bakasi area.  They also caught the chief Imam of Monguno town, Liman Modu who is the most respected in the town,” Abdullahi Jibril informed.

Hundreds of soldiers from Monguno are stranded and loitering on the streets of Maiduguri after the Sunday attack on the military formation in the area.

The soldiers were denied access to Maimalari Barracks and some of them were rather camped at AIT on Damboa Road.

Our correspondent who was on Baga Road saw many stranded soldiers among other hundred displaced civilians from Monguno, Baga and Gajiganna sitting under tree, with nowhere to go.

Some of the soldiers had their guns on their shoulders, their shuttle bags on their back.

Some of the soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity expressed anger with the Federal Government for, according to him, not doing enough for them in the fight against Boko Haram.

“I can’t imagine that a Federal Government will abandon her soldiers to die in a fight that cannot take one hour to finish with serious commitment. We fight in the bush with Boko Haram and no one sends us any jet but when one man is coming for campaign, you see many Alpha Jets with helicopter gunships patrolling, flying in the air. Is this fair?” a soldier said.

Some of the soldiers were angry that they were denied access to the Maimalari Barracks in Maiduguri.

One said: “Can you imagine that as soldiers, we came into Maiduguri and the army authorities turned us down from entering the barracks. Where is the esprit de corps that we preach among us?”

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