A former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Abdulrahaman Dambazau, has said the Nigerian Army is yet to win the war against terrorism and the Boko Haram sect because insurgency is a new phenomenon in warfare not only in Nigeria but across the globe, and not because the soldiers are not capable and gallant.
In an in an interview with journalist during a programme organized by Arewa Research & Development Project (ARDP) held in Kaduna yesterday, the former army chief explained further that the Boko Haram insurgents are not like the conventional enemies that the soldiers are familiar with, adding that identifying insurgents, their base and mode of attacking them without causing more casualties among the civilian population, is the major challenge confronting the Nigerian military.
“In a conventional warfare, you know your enemy and a battle line is drawn, but with the insurgents, they live amongst us, eat with us and only become enemies when they want to attack us. That is why sometimes the casualty number is very high.
“It is not only in Nigeria — any country that has the problem of insurgency is experiencing similar problems. So, rather than condemning the military, we should encourage them and give them time to get it right”, he said.
As a way forward, the former army chief said the Nigerian military should intensify trainings of personnel in counter-insurgency warfare and commence a public enlightenment campaign to educate the civilians on the new tactics so that they will know what to do at any particular time.
According to Dambazau, the military will continue to lose support and receive condemnation in as much as civilian casualties are on the high side.
“I want to state here that Nigeria Army is gallant and has brave soldiers who are trained to locate and destroy enemies. No soldier joins the military because he wants to die but rather to conquer the enemy of his country and protect its territory. But sometimes they have to pay the supreme price to achieve this, and that is why we all must appreciate them and encourage them.
“The problem in the north and other parts of the nation is not only a Nigeria problem, but a sub-regional problem which is developing to African problem. Countries like Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic are all experiencing what we’re experiencing today. So, there must be information and intelligence exchange among these countries in order to free the region from the activities of insurgencies”, he said.