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Army Commander Removed, In A Move To Take Baga From Insurgents

The Oasis Reporters

December 31, 2018

The Boko Haram insurgency has not been defeated or degraded beyond ability to strike. There are fears of Drones deployment capabilities of the group in the future.

The military high command yesterday removed the Brigade Commander of the Army’s 7 Brigade, Brigadier General Hassan in the aftermath of the Boko Haram takeover of Baga town on the fringes of Lake Chad in northern Borno State.The Brigade is the Nigerian Component of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) which also has troops from Chad, Cameroon and Niger. This was even as Monguno town also in northern Borno was said to be witnessing heavy fighting between Nigerian troops and Boko Haram.

Sources said “hundreds” of Boko Haram fighters armed with RPGs stormed Monguno and engaged the troops manning the military facility in the town in heavy fight. Baga town where the MNJTF headquarters was situated was reportedly taken over by the Abu Mus’ab Al Barnawi faction of the Boko Haram on Wednesday, Dec.27 even though the Defence Headquarters in Abuja denied the claim, saying the town was not taken over by the assailants.It added that the Nigeria Air Force repelled the Boko Haram invaders of MNJTF headquarters.

But multiple credible military and intelligence sources told the Daily Trust last night that Baga and all the military facilities there were still under Boko Haram occupation. One of the sources added that “thousands of residents” including women and children are still trapped there.
“I can assure you that Boko Haram is in control of Baga but there is an ongoing plan to reclaim it,” one of the sources said.“A new commander would be appointed for 7 Brigade very soon to replace General Hassan ahead of massive onslaught by the combined forces of Army, Navy and Air Force to reclaim Baga and many other locations taken over by the Boko Haram,” he said.

Another source said, “The situation is not as the military/government are saying. I think the claim that Baga has been restored is to calm the populace and prevent panic movements from other areas. No troop/force has entered Baga since after the attack. However, the military are planning a counter attack soon. The report that it has been reclaimed is in anticipation of success. A new force is being assembled; they include the old ones and new ones being injected,” he said.

Why Baga was taken over

Several reasons have been given as to why Boko Haram took over Baga. These included the withdrawal of support by Chad, whose forces dealt a deadly blow to Boko Haram shortly before and after President Buhari took over before the “contract” was terminated.

“Another problem is overused equipment. These were the equipment bought by the last regime and have continuously been used since then without replacement,” a source said.“The troops have also overstayed. No soldier is less than 2 years in all the units. It’s not the fault of the Brigade Commander that was removed but the insincerity of the military/political leadership,” he said.

Other towns under Boko Haram occupation

Locals who made it to Maiduguri have said that apart from Baga, other towns and villages under Boko Haram control included Zari, Jilli, Gudumbali, Arege, Kukawa and Metele.
“Several towns and villages had been attacked and equipment carted away,” said Mala Modu, a fish merchant who is now in Maiduguri. Other places where the people are living in fear include Gashigar,Zari, Granda, Gudumbali, Kukawa, Arge, Metele, Alagarnon arewa, Kangarwa, Jilli, Birmari, Mairari, Mainari, Kuroskauwa, Mil4 and Mil90.

Col. Abu Ali, effective Tank Commander who fell to Boko Haram fire.

Baga was once occupied by the Boko Haram until few weeks to the 2015 general elections when it was recovered. Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan, who visited the place, promoted all the soldiers that fought in the battle, including late Col. Abu Ali who was later killed by Boko Haram. The present Chief of Operations at Army headquarters, Maj. Gen Lamidi Adeosun received Jonathan in Baga at the time.

Meanwhile, Nigeria Air Force (NAF) yesterday said its Air Task Force [ATF] of Operation Lafiya Dole has neutralized several Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters at their hideout near Baga in Northern Borno State. A statement by Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said the attack was conducted yesterday, 29 December 2018, after a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform spotted the terrorists assembled under some trees around the Fish Dam near Baga.

Source: Daily Trust

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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