Reviewing Military Operations as Panacea for Insecurity
By Abdulsalam Mahmud
In a bid to ensure that insecurity is addressed squarely, the Nigerian military, at several times in the past, launched military exercises and combat operations against Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, terrorists and armed bandits, among other criminals.
At the moment, operations Delta Safe, Hadarin Daji, Awatse, Whirl Punch, Hadin Kai, and Swift Response, are diligently and gallantly being prosecuted by troops of the Nigerian military, across the entire geo-political zones.
Though, troops of the Armed Forces have remained unwavering in decimating the ranks of terrorists, bandits, kidnappers and other violent non-state actors, in recent times, there were occasions they also suffered setbacks, resulting in them losing soldiers and even courageous military officers to adversaries of the Nigerian State.
For instance, on June 30 this year, terrorists attacked a mining firm located in Ajata-Aboki in Gurmana Ward of Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger State, killing 20 military personnel, seven mobile policemen and scores of civilians.
Many other security operatives and civilians were also said to have sustained injuries and were rushed to medical centres.
Earlier, in 18 soldiers were killed, while eight others were injured in a deadly attack on a patrol team by terrorists, alias bandits, in Kanya community of Danko Wasagu Local Government Area of Kebbi State.
The attack occurred while the Kebbi State’s deputy governor, Samaila Yombe, and the army commanding officer in Kebbi were visiting the community. Sources had said 13 soldiers were killed during the attack.
Those familiar with the incident said the soldiers involved in the Kebbi attack were from the 223 Army Battalion stationed in Zuru. The Niger and Kebbi incidents revealed the extent insecurity has further deteriorated in the North West and Central, owing to the marauding activities of terrorists.
Nevertheless, they were incidents that jolted the military hierarchy to go back to its drawing board, with a view to re-strategize in order to forestall a recurrence of the gruesome attacks.
Necessary measures that were taken thereafter have been yielding great success on the frontline for troops, with bandits and terrorists meeting their waterloo. Yet, the Nigerian military, under the leadership of Gen. Leo Irabor, is not contemplating resting on its laurel, anytime soon.
It recently unveiled the Defence Headquarter (DHQ) joint simulation exercise and the review of ongoing Operation Whirl Punch. For the benefit of hindsight, Operation Whirl Punch is a DHQ-led operation that deals with the menace of banditry and terrorism in Kaduna and Niger States.
While speaking at the event, Irabor, the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, said professionalism remained the thrust of the Armed Forces in addressing the prevailing security challenges in the country.
He said the simulation exercise was designed to reshape and review the operation in a bid to enhance operational effectiveness of the military,
The CDS added that joint training was needed to contend with the current issues and reposition personnel to effectively address future threats to the nation.
According to him, professionalism is a process and every organization will have to continue to review its structure and setting in a bid to get better.
“For us in the armed forces, a lot of mileage has been covered, but I will also indicate that we still have so much more to cover.
“Since we operate within a geographic environment which is within our geographical space, the contending issues are far beyond those within our space.
“They also involve those that are global in nature, some are made, others, of course, are natural. But as members of the armed forces, it is necessary for us to sieve these issues and have them properly contextualised and get ready to plan contingencies to be able to redress them.
“At any point in time when the armed forces are called upon, there would not be any reason for any excuse for failures. Currently, the armed forces, as you know, are engaged in various theatres across the country. Dealing with issues that are more internal in nature, which at some point have had to involve the resources and the capacities of the armed forces,” he said.
Irabor disclosed that the armed forces looked forward to assisting other agencies to increase their capacity to respond to internal security challenges.
This, according to him, is to enable the military to focus more on issues that were traditionally its responsibilities.
He said it was a long term goal that the armed forces would continue to escalate in the interim, to sufficiently bring respite to the security environment.
The Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, said the exercise was a follow up to one of the key decisions reached during the defence retreat at Asaba.
Yekini said the main objective was to find ways to further enhance jointness in military operations, working with other security agencies to overcome the contemporary security challenges facing the country.
This, according to him, is in line with the CDS’ leadership focus, which is to foster a professional armed forces. Yekini therefore said there was no better way of fostering professionalism other than through joint training involving personnel of the three services.
“This exercise is designed to upgrade one of our key operations, Operation Whirl Punch, which is involved in counter terrorism and counter insurgency operation in Kaduna and Niger states.
“It is instructive to mention that the operation was recently reviewed to bring together under a unified command, the different civil service and police operations in the area.
“This review was followed by the launching of Operation Forest Sanity, which has substantially degraded enemy forces in the two states, thereby improving security along the general axes,” he said.
Yekini said the participants were expected to articulate lessons and observations derived during the exercise. He urged them to be committed to the exercise and bridge the lapses already experienced by troops in the joint operations.
*Mahmud is the Deputy Editor of PRNigeria, and wrote in via: firstname.lastname@example.org.*
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