Last week, Chadian soldiers, angered by an offensive on their men by the terrorist Boko Haram group, launched an onslaught on the insurgents and almost totally annihilated the remnants of the Boko Haram from their territory.
This is good given the bestiality of the insurgents, their recidivism and enormity of terror on innocent citizens.
Since the Chadian expedition, the Nigerian social media space urged on by a particular online publication that had made it a duty not to see anything good about the Nigerian armed forces, began to sing the praises of the Chadian troops to the extent of giving the impression that the Chadians have done what Nigerians have not done in the fight against insurgency.
This was also worsened by comments credited to the Chadian president, Idris Derby, that gave the impression that Nigerian troops are not playing their part on the war effectively. But a pertinent question to ask is, how did neighbouring Chad come to have such a high population of the insurgents in the first place when it started in Nigeria?
For anybody that has followed reports of the war against insurgency in Nigeria, they are two simple reasons Chad surged with the influx of the insurgents –
– One, the insurgents are renegades of the terrorists who fled Nigerian territories and crossed over to the Chadian side after been mauled by Nigerian troops in the renewed wave of operations since Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai took over the command of the Nigerian army.
Since 2015, the insurgents have been wiped out and their bases destroyed and it became difficult for them to operate in Nigeria and many of them ran to countries that share borders with Nigeria including Chad.
– The second reason in that due to the proximity of Chad to Nigeria and shared affinity with many communities in Nigeria, many Chadian citizens and rebels who had nothing to do had joined the ranks of the Boko Haram and found a safe haven to operate during the previous administration.
But with the renewed onslaught on the terrorists after the appointment of the current Chief of Army Staff, many of them decided to relocate to their country as they could no longer continue with the acts of banditry and for fear of being killed by Nigerian soldiers.
Nigerian troops in the last four years have done much more than the social media space is willing to admit in terms of defeating insurgency in the landscape. For more than four years since the coming of the current administration, the terrorists have not found it easy operating on the Nigerian side the way they were used to.
Boko Haram terrorists under fire from Nigerian troops, run to take shelter in neighbouring African countries like Niger, Chad and Cameroun which they found less dangerous. This has at several times frustrated the efforts of the Nigerian troops due to the diplomatic issues involved.
There was a time the insurgents came under intense fire from the Nigerian side that they had to blow up the bridge linking the communities on the border to make it impossible for Nigerian troops to cross over and continue the onslaught.
It would also interest people to know that the Nigerian government had in the past, tried to work out a various arrangement for military cooperation with other African countries but these have collapsed due to lack of trust and inadequate synergy for the joint effort.
At a point, the other countries quietly withdrew from the joint exercise leaving Nigerian troops to prosecute the war. But Nigeria was able to up the game and degraded the terrorists to the point where they could no longer launch attacks on Nigerian communities at will.
The fight became so successful that Nigeria no longer needed to wait for inspiration from other countries but trudged on till it began to win the respect of other nations. In no time, Nigeria took back its leadership position in the fight and other nations began to watch keenly and copy from its strategy.
The success Nigeria recorded within the period, encouraged the other countries to begin to reconsider their positions on the war and began to once again mobilise troops for the fight.
It is within this period that Nigerian troops took the fight to the theatres of war and were able to penetrate the base of the insurgents at Sambisa Forest, took out a great number of them and destroyed their armoury and established a base at Camp Zero.
Nigerian soldiers also went after the insurgents and retook military bases they had seized in towns like Bama, Monguno and Gwoza. Troops were also able to recapture territories captured by the terrorists which they severed from other parts of Nigeria and hoisted their flags.
The 14 local government that came under the authority of the insurgents were recaptured and liberated.
Internal security improved as many roads that were declared impassable due to the activities of insurgents were liberated and open for use.
The barricading of major roads by organizations and in worship centers in state capitals and other places was also reduced as people no longer fear conducting business within their premises.
Nigerian troops also put a stop to the penetration of the hinterlands by terrorists who were going as far as Adamawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Kano, Kaduna and even to the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, with their bloody campaigns.
Currently, Nigerian troops have put the terrorists in disarray. They have made it impossible for them to launch an attack on communities as they constantly repel them whenever they attempt to do so by destroying their bases and sending them fleeing in all directions.
This was the case in Biu, Michika, Maiduguri Garkida and other places where the insurgents had attempted to launch attacks in recent times.
So while we should commend the Chadian troops for how well it has performed in its latest effort to rid the sub region of terrorists, the Nigerian troops should be commended for setting the pace.
It takes more than one onslaught for the war on terrorism to be brought to an end hence the recent attack by the Chadian troops only comes as complementary to the efforts of Nigerian soldiers.
Many of our soldiers have died in this fight. Many are in various hospitals with various degrees of injury. The least we could do to appreciate them is to commend them.
We should not extend the kind of cynicism Nigerians display whenever their national team is playing another country and seems to be losing to issues of security. We should learn to stand by our own to the very end.
Evang. Sunday Attah, wrote from Abuja.