ISWAP regrouping around Lake Chad, plotting fresh attacks over commanders’ killing – Ndume

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, raised the alarm on Sunday that terrorists of the Islamic State of West Africa, are regrouping in the Lake Chad area of Borno State to launch fresh attacks.

He, however, said the military authorities were aware of their plot and had started new strategies to neutralise the insurgents.

Ndume, who is representing Borno South Senatorial District, stated this at a press conference in Abuja.

This is coming less than 48 hours after the ISWAP terrorists launched one of the deadliest attacks on the Nigerian Army and the people of Askira Uba Local Government Area of Borno State.

Although many of the terrorists and a few of their commanders were killed during the fierce encounter, the Nigerian Army also lost the Commander of the 28 Task Force Brigade in Chibok, Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkusu, and three other soldiers.

Ndume told journalists that residents of Askira Ado LGA, have started fleeing their homes following the bombardments of the ISWAP terrorists.

The Senator said, “They (ISWAP terrorists) are also regrouping around Borno North, that’s Lake Chad axis, planning to launch a fresh attack. The military is aware and the Air Force is conducting surveillance in the area right now.

“It (Saturday’s attacks by ISWAP) was a revenge mission. The Army has been taking out key ISWAP fighters, in fact they lost about four of their commanders and they decided to revenge.

“I want to express my condolences to the Nigerian Army over the death of the General who died along Chibok Road. ISWAP terrorists attacked a town there.

“They know that the General was the major obstacle to their operation.

“They laid an ambush and rammed a bomb-laden car into his vehicle. He was a gallant soldier. He took the fight to the terrorists. His death has sent a panic to people in that area.

“I am aware that some people around that Chibok area have started thinking of relocating. Some want to go to Mubi and other places.

“We are trying to urge them to remain there because the insurgency is coming to an end.

“This is not the end, but the beginning of the end of the terrorists. I know that the Army has what it takes to take the fight to them.”

Ndume sought the cooperation’s of other security and paramilitary agencies for the military in order to win the war.

He said, “There is the need to urge other security agencies to give the Army the needed support. We also need to urge vigilante groups to assist them.

“For now, we will assume that it was an isolated case. But the intensity with which they came is worrisome. They came with more than 10 gun trucks.

“The intensity with which they bombarded the area is a source for concern.

“Last week for instance, they abducted relatives of the Emir of Askira.

“They also abducted some passengers along that road. They just want to show that they are still in the area. If the Army sustains the tempo, we will win this insurgency.”

Ndume confirmed the delay in the arrival of the multi-billion dollar military hardware paid for by the Nigerian government, blaming the development on the procedure involved in such transactions.

He explained, “The equipment are arriving gradually. The problem with the procurement of military hardware is that they are not bought off the shelf.

“It involves a lot of communication and a lot of clearance from the countries that are supplying the equipment.

“Countries where the ship conveying the hardware would pass through would have to issue clearance too.

“Also, most of the manufacturers do not have them on ground, they would start work as soon as they get the order. Some of them are coming in gradually.

 “We are monitoring. As a committee, we will go and see what have been brought into the country.”

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