Military Alarm and Moles Within Security Circles
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
Security threats in the country have been aggravated, lately. But it is not the handiwork of armed bandits. Kidnappers. Ritualists. Boko Haram terrorists. The Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, fighters. And other criminal elements, alone.
It is also by some treacherous men and officers wearing the green military camouflage. Atrociously, soldiers (and in some cases even senior military officers) now work in concert with criminals and their daredevil gangs.
In cahoot with bandits, and terrorists, most especially, compromised soldiers as collaborators of criminal elements, are undermining the Nigerian Armed Forces’ efforts to tackle the North East insurgency; banditry in the North West and Central, together with violent secessionist agitations and other life-snuffing crimes in other parts of the country.
Just few weeks ago, no fewer than three soldiers were arrested for collaborating with terrorists in Zamfara State. While one was arrested for selling ammunition at 100,000 each, two others were nabbed for collaborating with terrorists.
It was gathered that ammunition had gone missing at a military base in Shinkafi Local Government Area, prompting authorities to investigate the disappearance.
But according to a military source, a soldier selling ammunition confessed to the offence after being arrested. The source added that the soldier also planned to sell another round of ammunition for N1 million before he was arrested.
The source said, “The soldier confessed to selling about 100 rounds of 7.62mm SP each at the rate of N100,000 and promised to sell another quantity of about 1,000 rounds of the same ammunition to bandits at the rate of N1 million”.
In a notorious case, Abdullahi Jibrin, a weapons instructor and Lance Corporal in the Nigerian Army Battalion in Geidam, Yobe State, reportedly committed suicide after he was nabbed for allegedly working with Boko Haram terrorists and taking part in their recent attacks on his fellow soldiers and civilians.
Without gainsaying, the actions of traitors have led to the death of many gallant soldiers and officers betrayed by their colleagues, going by the innumerable ambushes of troops.
Examples abound; a soldier was arrested by a covert intelligence team for conniving with a confirmed terrorist informant, Babagana Kura, in Borno State. Another soldier was nabbed with 162 rounds of 7.62 mm of ammunition, 60 rounds of 7.62 mm NATO regulation ammo, and Improvised Explosive Devices material concealed in a travelling bag.
It is pointless to argue that insider betrayal is, and has been taking a heavy tool on troops fighting Boko Haram and ISWAP extremists. It is also one thing that batters troops’ morale and their willingness to fight, especially if the commanders and intelligence units cannot identify and deal with the fifth columnists.
Insider collaboration, coupled with other enablers, it were that aided the overthrowing of the Afghan government by Taliban forces, last year.
According to a recent editorial of The PUNCH, the admission by the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Gen. Lucky Irabor, that fifth columnists are active in the Nigerian Armed Forces lays bare a major factor that has contributed to the prolonged war against insurgency in Nigeria.
“This followed the recent arrests of military personnel found variously to be informants, collaborators and arms suppliers to terrorists and kidnappers operating in various parts of the country.
“To win the war against terrorism and bring the 13-year-old Islamist insurgency and banditry to a close, uprooting traitors and cleansing the security agencies of betrayers should be a major plank of the strategy.
“In his memo to Field and Operational Commanders, Irabor, an Army general, deplored the treachery of several military personnel arrested within a short period of time for collaborating with the enemy.
“Undoubtedly, he said, this was indicative of “inside action that has continued to aid the adversary, pertinently with immediate or potential impact on operations.”
“Citing some of the recent cases, the CDS told commanders to “sensitise personnel on the implication of collaborating with the enemy while taking appropriate actions that would forestall such incidents.
“Sadly, the military is acting late. Reports and accusations of collusion by insiders have been made public by diverse sources over the years without evidence of the authorities taking them seriously. The country is bleeding and paying dearly for this laxity and intelligence failure.
“Apart from the thousands of civilians that died, or got injured and the millions displaced by the Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency in the North-East and their terrorist/bandit/Fulani herdsmen allies in the North-West and North-Central, soldiers, police officers and other security personnel are being killed,” part of the editorial reads.
It is trite to assert that one cannot fight internal insurgency successfully if there are collaborators from within. It behooves on the Nigerian military to uproot the traitors in its fold.
Now is the time for our military to overhaul its current intelligence system, and introduce new strategies to identify moles and infiltrators. Afterwards, the so-called fifth columnists giving our military a bad name should be made to face the music of their senseless and callous actions.
Mahmud, the Deputy Editor of PRNigeria, wrote in via: [email protected]
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