In an effort to find a permanent solution to the menace of the Boko Haram insurgents wrecking havoc in the north-eastern part of Nigeria, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, has led a delegation of some senior Army officers to Colombia in order to inspect major military formations and institutions of the Armed Forces of the country. This is according to the information contained in a statement made known by the Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Colonel Sani Kukasheka Usman, on February 4th.
Lieutenant Buratai, whose first visit it was to Columbia since he assumed office said the reason for the visit was to give the delegation a chance to inter-face with the Columbian Armed Forces on their efforts thus far in solving the problem of insurgency and the likely things that could be learnt by the Nigerian Army.
As written in the statement, Buratai and his company were received by General Albert Jose Mejia, the Colombian Chief of Army Staff, when they arrived at the Colombian Army Headquarters.
General Mejia thoroughly informed the COAS and his team on different categories of operations by his country’s Army and also made a comparison between the current experiences of his country and that of Nigeria, thereby justifying the visit of the Nigerian Chief of Army Staff.
The Colombian COAS brief were summarised as follows;
“50 year war against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and other insurgent groups that have culminated in the ongoing peace talks, the deliberate effort by the Colombian military to unravel the identity of the various insurgent groups which composed of support groups, political groups, core fighting groups, leading to the decapitation of key leaders of the insurgents, the establishment of joint operations, emphasis on civil- military cooperation to win the hearts and minds of the local population in areas where government presence were non-existent, among others.”
The Army Spokesman noted that after the briefing, General Mejia took the Nigerian COAS and his entourage on a tour of his country’s formations, military institutions, aviation unit and the Engineer Corps of the Colombian Armed Forces. As he said,
“It is pertinent to note that Colombia has been battling insurgency in the last 50 years”.
Colonel Usman pointed out that it is important to mentioned that the visit of Buratai to Colombia was basically aimed at rubbing minds together with his Colombian counterpart so as to discover the most strategies for fighting terrorism in Nigeria.
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It is said that the Colombian army is highly astute in fighting terrorism, being a country that has been battling insurgency over the past 50 years hence, the need to draw from their wealth of knowledge.
Soldiers of the Nigerian Army have been on the trail of Boko Haram members since they began their operations in the country, killing thousands of them and also chasing them out of their supposed captured enclaves in the north-eastern part of the country.
According to Brigadier General Musa Aliyu, the General officer (GOC) commanding Division 3 of the Nigerian Army, the issue of Boko Haram would have been history in Nigeria if not that members of the terrorist group who no longer have a defined territory were hiding among innocent citizens thereby delaying the soldiers from taking full action.