Buratai’s poisonous arrows on insurgents
In the Art of War, famous Chinese war veteran, Sun Tzu said; “The General is the safeguard of the state. If the safeguard is complete, the state is surely strong. If the safeguard is flawed, the state is surely weak…He looks upon the troops as his children. Thus they can venture into deep river valleys with him. He looks upon the troops as his beloved sons. Thus they can die together with.”
Any Nigerian who recount the experiences of Nigeria with the Boko Haram insurgency sees images of yesterday in horror and wailings. That was when the insurgents were all powerful. They stylishly invaded communities, schools and even military formations so casually. They killed, maimed, abducted and silenced every shadow or hindrance on their path to accomplishing their demonic missions.
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The country was brought on its kneels by the commanding might of insurgents. Nigerians wailed infinitely. Traditional rulers in the Northeast were in perpetual mourning, as the scourge of terrorism raged. They saw their subjects massively killed and dehumanized by terrorists, without hindrance.
Both the young and the old had no peace. Communities, villages and even towns in the Northeast became deserted. They populations were devastated and communities completely ruined. Boko Haram insurgents’ freely recruited and initiated innocent youths into their satanic cult as foot soldiers.
Terrorists kingpins had the liberty to charm and train these initiated youths as agents of deaths and destruction. These were the dark days yesterday and the gory experiences of Nigerians in the hands of terrorists before the Buhari Presidency.
But the rhythm has changed. The times have also changed positively in favour of Nigerians. The first day, President Muhammadu Buhari stepped into Aso Rock, he vowed to crush Boko Haram insurgency.
And what appears to be Boko Haram insurgents nemesis was the appointment of a tough soldier and warmonger, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and leader of Nigeria’s counter-insurgency operations.
General Buratai is celebrated by his colleagues who know his military prowess as a man who sleeps and eats war. He is only at peace with his soul when he is in the trenches. But unknowingly, Boko Haram took him for granted and perceived him in the light of his predecessors. The insurgents have since realized they underestimated Buratai to their peril.
So, from the outset, Gen. Buratai covenanted with Nigerians. He told Nigerians that they would not weep anymore because of terrorists’ afflictions. He assured them of peace and security. He told them that their abducted daughters, wives, husbands and indeed, every Nigerian held hostage by Boko Haram will be liberated and reunited with the family.
Therefore, General Buratai ab initio assured Nigerians that “We must keep the promise to our nation! We must make a difference!”
And he has really made the difference. Nigerians patient enough to peruse the timeline of Boko Haram insurgency before May 2015, would be amazed at insurgents persistent and consistent atrocities on Nigeria. But the drums of war and songs of deaths have ceased, since Gen Buratai sauntered on stage as Chief Commander of the war against terrorists.
Insurgents have become sad and helpless. Their atrocious exploits have been brutally terminated by Gen Buratai and ou Patriotic troops. He is an effective leader, only likened to the likes of Chinese war veteran, Sun Tzu, who leaves nothing to chance. The Army Chief has dismantled terrorists antics as many times as they contrived new strategies.
What insurgents dread these days are shadows of Nigerian soldiers. The name they hate with a passion is Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai. Nigerian troops in Sambisa forest and everywhere in the Northeast are the nightmare of insurgents. They delight in tormenting terrorists.
Terrorists erroneously think today is like yesterday, when they regaled in atrocious acts. They thought there would still be room for them to unleash mindless violence on Nigerians. But these terrorists have incredibly realized it is delusional illusion.
Boko Haram terrorists’ are pained that Nigerian troops have guillotined their capacity to commit heinous crimes or freely abduct Nigerians. These were hapless people insurgents whisked away in thousands unchallenged as hostages to their secret hideouts or detention camps.
In the past three years, Gen. Buratai has not only kept his promise to Nigerians on termination of insurgency, but has strayed into ending other allied insurrectional acts in the country. Its pleasant news that Abuja and other big cities in the North have not experienced bomb blasts and deaths since Buratai was anointed the Chief Commander of the war against terrorists.
There is no territory or any part of Nigeria under the control of insurgents anymore currently. Before May 2015, no fewer than 24 local government areas in the Northeast were under the firm control of insurgents. But even disposed Emirs have been reinstated.
Some Nigerians may not be aware that nearly 20, 000 Nigerians held captive by Boko Haram insurgents have regained their freedom. The Chibok schoolgirls and the Dapchi girls are the most pronounced examples. And Buratai has vowed that every Nigerian held hostage by terrorists would eventually be freed.
Gen. Buratai has delivered on his mandate as evident is the Army occupation of the hitherto dreaded Sambisa forest. Soldiers no longer recoil in confronting terrorists at the battlefield because basic problems such as weapons and welfare which previously caused such dissentions have been tackled by Gen. Buratai.
The Army Chief has made the difference as manifest in the quantum of top Boko Haram commanders who have voluntarily surrendered to the Nigerian Army. This was impossible in the past because terrorists held the victorious end of the stick. They straddled the land in pride and might, inflicting pains on innocent populations.
Female suicide bombers are no longer on the prowl. Gen. Buratai’s novel initiative of the first Nigerian Army’s female corps has effectively checkmated the trend, which appeared to have been insurgent’s last straw.
Boko Haram factional leader, Abubakar Shekau has not only gone into hiding, but has been silent for months. Its possible he might have died in the Cameroonian forests an mountains in the course of nursing his wounds in one of the encounters with soldiers.
Signs of the tough war on insurgents by soldiers advertised itself when Shekau had to disguise as a woman to escape from Borno. It led to the formation of the Army female corps. Nigerians are no longer saddened with news of female bomb carriers detonating the lethal object at public places.
Several attempts by terrorists to recapture liberated communities in the Northeast have been resisted by Nigerian troops with ferocious vehemence. Each attempt leaves terrorists with astonishing casualties. The penchant of the Musab Al Barnawi’s faction of Boko Haram to attack military formations has been effectively curtailed. They no longer dare Nigerian soldiers, afraid of confronting a superior force.
Nigerian troops cleansing operations in the Northeast have made it difficult or almost impossible now for terrorists to even strike at soft or obscure targets. Internally Displaced Nigerians have returned back to deserted villages in droves. The IDPs camps in the Northeast are almost empty.
Therefore for Nigerians, Gen. Buratai has kept the promise and made the difference in the war against insurgency. Nigerian soldiers are ready to sacrifice their lives to give Nigerians respite from terrorism. Hopefully soon, the Nigerians would celebrate a year of total freedom from insurgency, as assured by Buratai and our ever gallant troops.
Ainoko, a public affairs commentator writes from Kaduna.