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Gen Dzarma Zirkushu: More questions about Northeast conflict as Nigerian Army continues to lose officers – Daily Post Nigeria

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The death of the Commander 28 Task Force Battalion in Chibok town of Borno State, Brigadier General Dzarma Zirkushu and other officers has raised more questions than answers among the military and civilians on the facts regarding the ongoing war against insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
DAILY POST in this report observes that the late General Dzarma Zirkushu was perhaps the highest ranking military officer killed in a battle since the insurgency began in 2009. It was also learnt that for a long while, people around Chibok area have been complaining about the road between Chibok and Askira town. They had raised the alarm over the danger they see on daily basis. The late commander was said to have been informed by the locals following attacks in the past.
According to many informed residents, there are villages around Chibok and Damboa Local Government Areas housing Insurgents operating and terrorising the area. Some of these villages mentioned include: Kwaranglum and Yimirshika in Damboa Local Government Area, Bambula and Yantsira in Chibok Local Government Area.
“These villages in our area are dangerous. Our people have said they have been involved in attacking other villages surrounding Chibok, Askira and Damboa in southern Borno. Others have claimed that some abducted people who escaped from the Insurgents dens alleged that they were kept in custody in some of these villages. Our people have complained but nothing was done. Attacks were being carried out almost on a daily basis but it was under reported because no big person was involved. Soldiers have been killed around that location several times. This one was heard because it involved a Brigadier General,” A source who identified himself as Malum Bana Ndirmpaya told DAILY POST while chatting on the security situation in the area.
The war on Boko Haram particularly in the Northeast Nigeria has taken numerous dimensions. Several commentators have spoken on the ongoing conflicts and try to find solutions to the blood being spilled in the northeast. A former governor of Borno State in an interview with one of the TV station gave three areas to look at as solution to the ongoing crisis in the northeast; looking at the economic, social and military angles. But some critics tried to pitch him against the authorities while his statements were of facts. While these are critical and strategic areas of examination, the continued deception as a means of propaganda by handlers of information among security operatives have misled the government into believing the propaganda as against the reality.
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“Many journalists are afraid to write on what they are hearing or seeing happening in the northeast, especially those who are reporting from Borno State particularly. They cannot match the weight of the political class or the military that want them to write only on the official side of the story. But things are happening since the first gun was fired in 2009 to date. Politicians want it downplayed and so also the military. If reporters dare to bring facts about it, they are tagged “Anti- Nationals”. So, in the national interest, they mostly tailor their reports to official statements that always emanate from Abuja some 900km from Maiduguri, where the incidents are taking place.
“Also some media houses and commentators in Lagos, Abuja and elsewhere (hundreds of kilometers from Maiduguri) the epic centre of the Boko Haram crisis would sit in the comfort of an air-conditioned studio to give analysis of the situation in Borno based on the tailored reportage or hearsays as most of them have not even visited the state. For political reasons and sentiments, people claim the crisis has ended and describing it as 12 years of insurgency and not the ongoing insurgency in the last 12 years,” An analyst on the ongoing conflicts in the northeast observed.
“A Comptroller of the Nigerian Immigration Services in Borno State once said that Borno has over 1000 porous borders. While this is true for those who know Borno State well, words like ‘degraded’ or otherwise as used by the military to give the picture of the ongoing conflicts may not fall on a fertile soil because there is nothing of such with the happenings on ground.
“The Maiduguri, Damaturu road has remained the most dangerous to take for travelers. Despite claims of securing the road, incidents of abductions have continued. Other roads are closed till this day. The roads that were opened for travelers especially the Maiduguri-Bama and Bama-Banki roads leading to Gwoza, the former Boko Haram caliphate still requires military escorts to assure the safety of lives and property.
“A whole community in the shores of the Lake Chad have submitted to the Islamic State for West African Province, ISWAP not because they are impressed by their act of terrorism but because they are victims that lack protection from the government. The international organisation operating in Maiduguri called those areas ‘hard to reach’,” he disclosed.
Also Ahamad Lange, a resident of Maiduguri told DAILY POST during a chat on the reported incident that led to the killing of a Senior Officer of the Nigerian Army, that “Borno state is bordered by three francophone countries, which house terrorists organization equally dangerous or more than Boko Haram or ISWAP. Along the Niger-Nigerian border, reports have claimed that more than 15 terrorists organizations live and operate in the lake chad region. They fight when they want to and keep calm while counting stocks or resting and to resume fight again.”
According to him, “Many soldiers and terrorists have died. Records from the hospitals have shown that almost on a daily basis, a soldier is killed somewhere around Borno State. This is aside other security operatives. But the military have always claimed that the insurgents have been ‘decimated.’
“The killing of a Brigadier General and Commander of the 28 Task Force, Dzarma Zirkushu was a blow to the Nigerian Army but rather than looking at the situation and call it by its name, the reports coming out were portraying an unavoidable situation in war time. But the movement of troops heading for reinforcement should be subjected to strategic planning even if it is an emergency. Tactical arrangements must have been put on the blueprint in the event of such emergencies. But that will always be remembered only when the unfortunate occurs.
“This is not about some moles in the military giving information to the terrorists. It is rather a case of laxity on the side of the command and control centre of the military operating in the northeast and the political fertilizer sustaining the war. I have the confidence that the Nigerian military are able to prosecute any form of war, but politics is a virus consuming the effort of officers and soldiers who want the war to end,” he added.
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