Political leaders, security chiefs and academics in Nigeria say they are worried over continuous terror attacks by Boko Haram in the country’s volatile northeast region.
Over 30,000 civilians and security personnel have been killed in a decade long violence displacing about 3 million people in the region, according to a 2018 report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Boko Haram has continued to attack remote communities and military locations although the counter-terrorism operation in the area turned its ninth year.
More than 10 communities and military bases have been attacked by terrorists in the last three months, fueling concern among civilians that the crisis may prolong.
“We may continue to live with this security problem for long due to the multiple dimensions of the violence,” said Haruna Dlakwa, a professor at the Centre for Peace and Development in Maiduguri.
Dlakwa said various research at the centre has shown that challenges of inefficiency of military operation, inter-agency rivalry among military forces and lack of cooperation with the locals could all prolong Boko Haram terror activities.
“Research has shown lack of trust between the military and the people.
“Also, the rivalry among security agencies was a big challenge affecting efforts to deal with the terrorists activities in the northeast,” he told Anadolu Agency.
On Tuesday, the Nigerian Police Force held a security summit in Maiduguri, epicenter of the violence. Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu said the summit was organized to develop strategies for tackling the challenges of Boko Haram and other security threats.
Adamu said the police have been fighting along military troops in the region but the terrorists still pose security threats.
“The sustainability of any operation would largely depend on participation of people,” the police chief said.
Governors of the six northeastern states, senior government officials, security chiefs, academics, lawyers, traditional rulers, religious and community leaders who attended the summit agreed that defeating Boko Haram could take longer than anticipated.
Within a region with a population of around 20 million people, the total number of troops currently deployed for the counter-terrorism operation is less than 20,000, Ali Ndume, a senator and head of senate committee on army said. Just 370,000 police personnel are currently insufficient, he added.
“There is no way we will win the war against Boko Haram with this number of troops,” Ndume said.
He said the terrorists currently operate from three locations around the Lake Chad region and border areas to the republic of Cameroon, and added: “The military, police, department of state services and people know these locations. Let the military launch attacks on these locations”.
Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum also agreed with the senator. He expressed his frustration on the unending attacks in his state, insisting “the only solution is taking the fight to the corridors of Boko Haram”.
More than 100 towns and communities have been destroyed in the region since 2019 when Boko Haram launched its first terror activities. The terrorists have remained in the region despite military’s claim to have technically defeated it.
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