The Nigerian Army through the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Lagos, Maj. Gen. Isidore Edet, on Monday has disclosed to returnee soldiers from Darfur to be prepared for operations in the North-East region of the country to combat Boko Haram terrorists after their disembarkation leave.
Isidore made this assertion while addressing the soldiers who returned from a peacekeeping mission in Darfur, Sudan, under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) after a year in Dafur. The 800 soldiers who were deployed to the mission on December 28, 2014, recorded no loss of life during the 12-month operation according to NAN.
“You are back to your country and you are back to your duties. The Federal Government of Nigeria is currently implementing the change agenda and the core values of the Nigerian Army, which are courage, discipline and loyalty.
“Selfless service, respect for others and integrity that have enabled you to perform successfully in your duties in Darfur will also be the underpinnings of your success when you undertake counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency specific training.
“After your disembarkation leave, the training will prepare you for the operations in the North East. You are aware that the operational capability of Boko Haram terrorist has been seriously degraded to the extent that they can no longer have the freedom of action in carrying out attacks on troop locations and mini villages.
“But Boko Haram has to be defeated comprehensively to set the conditions for the first phase of the counter insurgency campaign. As you know, there are three major frameworks of counter insurgency operations which is you clear the insurgents, you hold the ground, and you build. So we are gradually transitioning from the clear and hold phases to the building phase where the federal government, non and international governmental organisations will be engaged in rebuilding and reconstruction efforts in the north-east of Nigeria.
“And your expertise will be required in that phase also because you will be required as experts in the delivery of security entitlements to your country men and women in the North-east. I commend the soldiers for credible, gallant performance in the peacekeeping mission in Dafur and congratulate them for successfully repelling an attack while in Dafur, killing five of the attackers and capturing their weapons”.
“On behalf of the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, I am delighted to warmly welcome you back from your tour of duty on the United Nations mission in Dafur to Nigeria. You gave a good account of yourself in the mission and made Nigeria proud so I want to warmly welcome you back to the able hands of your family who have been praying for your safe return.
“Your significant contribution to international peacekeeping and security under the auspices of the United Nations underscores the fact that the Nigerian Army is a force for good in the world. You have done your country proud and you should be proud of yourselves and achievement. But you will not be proud if after your disembarkation leave and retraining, you go back as a unit to any of the locations in the North-East and you don’t give a good account of yourselves,” the GOC admonished the soldiers.