NIGERIAN military commanders are confident they are winning the ongoing war against terrorism raging in the northeast of the country as up to 17,000 insurgents have laid down their weapons and surrendered lately.
Since 2009, Boko Haram and its offshoot the Islamic State of West Africa Province (Iswap) have been waging a war against Nigeria, seeking to establish an Islamic theocracy in the northeast of the country. Of late, Iswap appears to have gained the upper hand in the struggle for supremacy between the two groups, taking over hitherto Boko Haram territory.
However, according to Major General Christopher Musa, the theatre commander of the Nigerian military joint task force codenamed Operations Hadin Kai, the number of insurgents who have surrendered lately total about 17,000. He said those that surrendered comprised combatants, non-combatants, those conscripted against their wish and family members.
According to Major General Musa, the growing number of those surrendering as the military continued to profile them needed the intervention of the North East Development Commission (NEDC) in the area of maintenance. He said the development was a positive one and remained a source of concern to Iswap who he said started panicking as their hope of inheriting Boko Haram fighters dimmed.
Furthermore, Major General Musa stated that the troubled Iswap group had established a task force to stop the trend of surrendering, expressing optimism that more terrorists would surrender. He lauded the intervention of the NEDC in areas of humanitarian and infrastructural support in the region, urging the commission to extend its intervention to the military, particularly, in the rehabilitation of structures and roads to facilitate movement.
Major General Musa said: “From the presidency, minister of defence, chief of defence staff and service chiefs, all hands are on deck to see that the menace is ended and we have peace in the northeast. We know that if we have peace in the northeast, it will transcend to other regions.”
NEDC managing director Mohammed Alkali, lauded the role of the military in restoring peace to the region, noting that the improvement in security in the northeast had enabled the commission to embark on various projects. Me Alkali, who assured the military of continuous support, urged them to sustain the tempo at this critical time of camp closure in Maiduguri and resettlement of displaced persons in their ancestral homes.