Why Boko Haram appears strong – Buratai
By Lawan Danjuma Adamu
Boko Haram terrorist group is appearing to be very strong because it has instilled fear in Nigerians, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Yusuf Tukur Buratai, has said.
He said the group had long been degraded but that the effectiveness of its psychological warfare on the psyche of Nigerians was still powerful.
He attributed recent attacks on troops by Boko Haram in the North-East to their perceived invincibility.
The army chief stated this during a dinner and interactive session with editors and executive members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors in Maiduguri, Borno State capital, weekend.
Buratai said sustained military operations against the sect had achieved a lot in clipping its wings, reducing it to committing criminal activities as against the insurgency it was known for.
With its new status, he said, the group metamorphosed into Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA) but maintained the name Boko Haram because of its psychological effect on Nigerians.
Their ability to transform and adopt new tactics was the reason why security forces could not give a timeline within which to “comprehensively” deal with them, he said.
According to Buratai, “Even if you say you give deadline to clear ISWA, it will go and those pulling the string will create another body. The original Boko Haram has long been degraded. We are dealing with another phase of terrorism”.
He appealed to the media not to give the group space that would help it to sustain its psychological warfare on Nigerians.
The army chief, while reacting to a recent report by the Amnesty International (AI), described the group as consistently undermining the reputation of the military and demoralizing its troops “through consistent and unfounded allegation of human rights abuses.”
“No doubt the organization cannot do what it is doing in Nigeria in many countries. There are several instances of unprofessional and negative conduct of the Amnesty International members of staff in Nigeria, such as collaboration with the ISWA,” he said.
He also appealed to journalists to be more understanding and professional in the discharge of their duties, saying unsubstantiated accusation against the military could affect morale.
“It does not augur well for national security and morale when the military is portrayed as weak and corrupt, not to be trusted or respected as with the case of a recent attack on our location and the lopsided reports on them,” he said.
He said all proven cases of deviation in handling soldiers’ allowances and pay were being dealt with in accordance with military law, adding that he had ordered for a General Court Martial to try various cases of indiscipline and offences across various formations of the Nigerian Army.
Culled from New Telegraph