Whether President Muhammad Buhari will do anything different to defeat Boko Haram and eliminate it from the face of Nigeria, leaves to be seen. But the General has given the assurance that the terrorists will be wiped out, following a ghastly attack on the Nigerian army, a fortnight ago, in Borno State.
Boko Haram insurgents suddenly attacked three military bases in Metele, Borno, killing 39 soldiers and injuring 43, according to the army’s own report. Other accounts put the dead toll at 100.
President Buhari visited the place on Wednesday and was also guest speaker at the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Conference which was moved from Edo State to Borno, after the attacks.
President Buhari vowed to end Boko Haram insurgency by procuring modern weapons, improving the welfare of soldiers and enhancing military operations in the North East, epicentre of the insurgency. Reports on the Metele attack said the terrorists also stole weapons from the base.
“As President and by the powers conferred on me, I assure you that Government will procure modern fighting equipment to end the madness of Boko Haram and other acts of our enemies. I want to assure you that Government is doing everything to increase the welfare of Nigerian Army,” he told the mourning soldiers.
Buhari said one of the main objectives of his Government was to ensure adequate security of lives and property of the citizen.
He described the war against Boko Haram as a “must-win,” visited the injured in hospital and commiserated with the families of the deceased.
“I have been visiting some of our injured troops in the hospitals and I also spoke to others in their bases to assure them of our continued support. It is a must-win war. I want to encourage our troops not to be distracted but remain focused on the task of eliminating Boko Haram from the face of the earth,” he added.
President Buhari also used the opportunity to appeal to the army to remain non partisan especially as the 2019 elections draw near.
“I want to urge members of our security forces to remain non-partisan and live up to expectations on the rules of engagement, deepen our democratic structures by collaborating with other security agencies in ridding the nation of any violent act that could mar the electoral process,” the President said.
Meanwhile the army had it has recovered the bodies of all the soldiers killed during the incident, and would support the families of all affected soldiers.
Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR) Brig-Gen Sani Usman has disclosed, however, that the terrorists had increased their attacks on Nigerian targets.
“In the last two to three months, we have noticed daring moves by the terrorists, increased use of drones against our defensive positions and infusion of foreign fighters in their ranks. The potent threats require us to continually review our operations,” he said, adding that Nigeria was contributing troops to the Multi-national Joint Task Force (MNJF) whose headquarters is in N’djamena in Chad.
According to him, one of the Nigerian battalions (157 TF Bn) deployed under the auspices of the MNJTF was attacked at their base in Metele.