Battling Boko Haram By Lekan Otufodurin

bokoThe string of successes recorded by the Nigerian military forces in clearing Boko Haram insurgents from towns they occupy in some states of the North East region of the country is heart-warming.

Last Friday, the Director of Defence Information, Major-General Chris Olukolade announced the capture of the Madagali, said to be the last major town held by the terrorists in Adamawa State.

The Nigerian troops had reportedly routed terrorists from different towns and communities in Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and Gombe.

The six-weeks operation launched by the military, which was the excuse for not being able to guarantee security during the earlier dates fixed for the general elections, seems to be yielding results and there is cause to be hopeful that terrorists days of unhindered takeover of communities are over.

Although the insurgents have continued their deadly attacks in some cities in the region, indications are that the Nigerian army may have finally found the strategies to dislodge them or at best curtail their activities.

The involvement of the African Union regional forces has undoubtedly aided the success of our soldiers, they deserve commendation for halting the worrisome advancement of the insurgents who are determined to possibly carve out their own Islamic state from the country.

Last weekend, Boko Haram’s pledge of alliance with the Islamic State of Syria and Iran (ISIS), which has been globally accepted as a terrorist group is a clear indication of how far the group intends to go in order to  achieve whatever cause it claims to be campaigning for.

The Nigerian forces have proved that they have the ability to combat the terrorists if they get the ammunitions required for such sophisticated desert battle against the terrorists.  It is unfortunate that it has taken this long to adequately equip our soldiers, many of whom have been killed and wounded along with thousands of other civilians.

Now that we seem to be having an upper hand, everything necessary should be done by the Federal Government  to sustain the momentum and once and for all, cut the insurgents to size. The regional efforts should be fortified and there should be no room for any disagreement that can hamper the joint efforts required to win the battle against the terrorists.

If the claim by the Chadian President – Idriss  Deby that he knows the whereabouts of Shekau, the Boko Haram leader is true, whatever is required to capture him dead or alive should be done. Whatever disagreement exists between the Nigerian and Chadian governments over how to prosecute the anti-terrorist battle should be resolved in the interest of fighting a common enemy group like Boko Haram.

More than ever before, there is need for regional cooperation particularly among countries directly affected by the crisis, and backed by the international community. National pride over territorial issues and credit for who is doing what in the battle should not becloud danger involved in allowing lack of unity of purpose on this matter.

Terrorism is a global problem that has to be tackled urgently before it consumes all of us.

NATION