COVID-19 pandemic not slowing Nigerian Army’s plans to end insurgency

The rampaging Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is not slowing down the Nigerian Army’s plans to totally decimate and destroy the various insurgent groups operating in the region.

The Nigerian Army has taken several steps over the past few months to reconsider and reorganize it’s approach towards counter-terror operations.

As the Nigerian Army re-examines it’s operational strategy, the Senate and the Nigerian people clamours for a rapid end to the conflict. But, the army stresses that it’s new “Super Camp” strategy is all it needs for a true and lasting victory.

Late last year, the NA began implementing it’s Super Camp Concept, whereby troops from various formations will take refuge in highly protected and fortified camps or citadel’s, and from there launch lightning fast raids against the insurgents.

The shift to this new strategy is as a result of continuous reports of insurgents (Islamic State and Boko Haram) overrunning small troop locations in the Northeast, using numerical strength.

More recently, to further improve on this new war tactics, the NA took delivery of various tactical and strategic weaponry which will enhance it’s long range as well as close-quarter strike capacity.

Newly delivered vehicles includes Streit Armored Personnel Carriers, Typhoon Mine Resistant and Ambush Protected (MRAPs)Ezugwu MRAPs, Proforce Ara MRAP.

Just last week, the Nigerian Army procured and commissioned 55 utility vehicles to increase the mobility and combat efficiency of it’s troops. The vehicles includes Toyota Hilux, Buffaloes, Innoson Motor Vehicles, Peugeot among others.

Nigerian Army procures 55 combat and logistics vehicles
Some of the 55 new vehicles procured by the Nigerian Army

These recent acquisitions were made in parallel with other more strategic combat assets like the third generation VT4 MBT, ST1 light tanks and SH-5 self-propelled howitzers, in a $152 million deal signed in 2019.

A VT4 main Battle tank

The VT4 MBT is currently considered as one of Africa’s most powerful and modern armored combat vehicle.

Furthermore along the line, China’s North Industries Corporation (Norinco) announced that it has completed delivery of its Red Arrow 12E (‘Hongjian-12E’, or HJ-12E) man-portable anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW) system to Nigeria.

Norinco exports Red Arrow 12E (HJ-12E) man-portable ATGW system to Nigeria
Red Arrow 12E (‘Hongjian-12E’, or HJ-12E) man-portable anti-tank guided weapon (ATGW)

Norinco’s Red Arrow 12E ATGW system features a fire-and-forget capability, this capability will be particularly important when dealing with the heavily armed pickup trucks usually used by the terrorists in quick maneuvers against Nigerian troops.

With all these recent armament in place, Military Africa learnt that the Nigerian Army has began mobilizing and deploying crack troops and weapons to the northeast for the final assault against Boko Haram and ISWAP.

Nigerian troops enroute to the Northeast.

Even with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has affected more than 200 Nigerians, and with the whole country in total lockdown. The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, have since relocated to the North-east to coordinate the military operation from there.

Buratai even vowed to remain in the theatre until the terror group is defeated and their leader Abubakar Shekau is captured.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai during a tour of various formations in the northeast.

There are speculation that this renewed offensive is a part of a follow up of the recent successful Chadian assault against the terrorists.

Some moments earlier, the Chadian president Idris Derby reportedly led several daring raids against known terrorists enclaves around the Lake Chad axis.

These raids under Operation Bohoma Anger resulted in a spectacular defeat of the terrorists, Derby further claimed that his country has eliminated 80 per cent of the insurgents and called out Nigeria and Niger to occupy recovered territories in the two countries before an April 22 deadline.

Since the attacks by Chadian forces, neither Boko Haram nor ISWAP has conducted anymore attacks, suggesting that they have lost the initiative and have fallen back.

Ekene Lionel

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